Category Archives: Cricket Ireland

A cricketing dream

Well, when I first saw an Ireland cricket team play live on TV in 2007, I still wasnt expecting this to happen 11 years down the line. Thats not to say that it was the first time I’d ever followed cricket scores for Ireland, as I’d been doing that for a few decades, generally fairly meaningless matches, other than perhaps the rivalry games with Scotland, and the odd knock out game against an English county, but otherwise its fair to say some of the teams they played were of the less than quality standard. Then, in March 2007, having qualified for the World Cup in the West Indies, they conjured up a tie against Zimbabwe, but its fair to say thats not the match anyone really remembers. No, thats the next one, when against all the odds, they beat Pakistan, and history was made. Another win in the second stage (Bangladesh), and the Irish legend was born. Fine, a few of those players werent actually born in Ireland, but if you’d ever accused any of them of not being Irish, well, it wouldnt have been a wise move!

In recent years, its been fair to say that 2 non test playing nations stood above the rest, Ireland, and Afghanistan. Its also equally fair to say thats no longer the case, because they are now test playing nations! Yes, last year, in their ‘wisdom’ the ICC promoted those 2 nations to test playing status. And for Ireland, tomorrow marks the start of that first test, at Malahide, against, yes, you’ve guessed it, Pakistan!

No, sadly, I wont be there. Given I’d already booked to leave for Seattle a week on Saturday, before the date was known, I probably wouldnt have been able to go anyway. Now, with a damaged back, and only able to work a 4 day week, I have no chance of going, regardless. And of course, the first 2 days of the game, I’ll be working. Indeed, Day 4, same thing. I’m pretty certain that unless there are weather issues, it probably wont reach Day 5, but we will see. But hopefully, Sunday, on Day 3, I get to see some on TV.

Next year, I hope to be able to see the team play a test match (holiday plans are currently congested this year), though who against, no idea? Sadly a few of the ‘golden era’ players will be gone by then, some of whom were young players on that memorable day in 2007. Ironically, Ed Joyce was at that tournament, for England!

But yes, tomorrow will be a special day, and even if my first focus tomorrow needs to be on my job, I’ll be wondering how they’re getting on, in my breaks. Not that I’ll be able to look, being a member of the 1% club who dont own, or want to own a smart phone, with internet connection! And yes, my heart will be in Malahide, even if my old body wont be!

Go you boys in Green, though of course they will be in white for a test match!

OK, video time. Most will know, but for those who dont, the Ireland Cricket team is a united team, covering both the Republic, and Northern Ireland. Thing is, that causes anthem issues lol, 2 different countries (or part of). I think this was first created for the united rugby team as an anthem, but the cricket team quickly picked up on it as well. This is the full length version, not the one sung at sporting events. So tomorrow, 11 men cricketers will answer the call for the first time in a test match! Why do I say that? Well, the women played one years ago, but so far, just the one!

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Where do I go from here?

Very strictly, the answer to that question, is wherever life takes me, I guess? But strictly, for 2018, assuming I live out the year, some things will happen, some things may happen, and some things almost certainly wont happen, but it would be fun if they did!

Anyway, lets be boringly practical first, things that will happen, assuming the life quotient of course. The biggest, and most obvious one to mention, is that I hit the big 60 next March. I know, who would ever have believed it? But yes, the body is definitely now giving me more than hints that its not as strong as it used to be, so… Hard to believe, that 25 years ago, when a woman hit 60, she retired from work! Now, with a longer life expectancy for everyone, and things, its another 6 years to go! Still, gives me chance to build up my pension, I guess, body permitting. Lets face it, I’ve already had to cut back to 4 days a week, and the back isnt likely to get better, only worse, so…?

The only other definite things at this point, are the fact that I will be heading to Seattle in May for 8 days (yes, already decided the back will be up to that, fingers crossed it stays that way once booked), though that will be the only US trip this year. Yes, thats one cutback due to the financial situation. I thought I might be able to pull it off this year, for the last time, the double trip, but no, now know its not going to happen! I have got a few thoughts for a break in September, but will only be a few days, and will only be in Europe. Well, unless the work syndicate wins the lottery lol! So yes, I’ll be using an airport wheelchair (or 5) in May again on that trip. Hopefully, all will be a little smoother than last time!

The other is, of course, working on a group on LGBT issues at work within our section of the Civil Service. First actual meeting is planned for some point in New Year, but location and date, TBA at present. Quite an honor, quite a challenge!

The maybe’s look trip related. I might try to get to Ireland, for at least some cricket this summer, though sadly it wont be that first Test match, as its literally the week before I go to Seattle. But other games are planned, so time, and finances permitting, it will be nice to meet old friends again, and maybe make a few new ones.

Hey, another maybe, I might write another story or two lol! I really ought to, I have a few ideas, but getting around to it, but yes, I’ll risk putting it on the maybe list, rather than the unlikely one! The other maybe, is my first ever ‘senior citizen’ pass. Yes, the Railway senior discount pass still is permitted from 60, so if I travel on the Railways in September, as I might, I’ll get one then!

The unlikely ones, but not impossible? Well, the first one obviously relates to performing, in an acting sense. I suspect a presentation style performance might be more likely, probably on LGBT issues, but I suspect that will be it. Lets face it, who’s going to want an actress who hasnt done anything much in years, and now has back issues, which means standing for long periods for a role, is nigh out of the question! But maybe, out there is a director/producer who wants to do something crazy, and then, well…?

Then we come to the silly stuff, that ‘could’ happen, but you can be sure wont. Winning a lottery jackpot (I know, theoretically, but me, win anything, dont think so!), getting abducted by aliens, turned into a robot, or regenerating (well, if Doctor Who can do it?) as a young(ish) Clara Johnson might all be fun, but none are going to happen, I think we can safely say!

Lets finish with a dramatic, stat based thing. Look back through early film history, and you find a lot of famous actresses who passed on at 60. Clara Bow is one that immediately comes to mind! Now its fair to say that health matters have improved nowadays, and I have never been a famous actress, so I’m probably safe, but… Still, hopefully we will be doing this in a years time!

The video tonight, isnt a proper one, but it fits the title, and yes, its the Carpenters, so just rolling with it. Just a nice song, that hopefully you can enjoy.

So, one blog to go for 2017, as its back to work tomorrow. Any ideas for something you’d love to hear about, either from this year, next year, or Clara Johnson’s era, feel free to suggest in comments

And then there were 12!

No, not admirers of my non existent good looks, before you ask! 😛 I’d be lucky if that was as high as 1.2, lets face it. No, the answer to that comment is test playing cricket nations, after 2 more were added very recently, Afghanistan, and yes, you’ve guessed it, Ireland! So, even without going to a cricket match in the interim, I’ve now seen 3 test playing teams live, at the ground, all in Belfast. The others? Bangladesh, when they played Ireland in a 1 day series in Belfast, and it has to be said, their fans were amazing. Oh, and Afghanistan, obviously. I have actually seen a very strong Australia B team too, and actually met Steve Smith, now Aussie captain!

Its fair to say that 10 years, and 4 months ago, you’d told me that I’d be waiting for Ireland to announce their first official test match, I would have laughed at you! Yes, I knew that in March 2007, they were going to play in the Cricket World Cup, and that I planned to watch them play, but I wasnt really expecting anything amazing. The rest of course, is history. A tie with Zimbabwe, then that amazing win over Pakistan, and a legend was born. And of course, 4 years later, that incredible win over England in India just added to everything.

Of course, in the meanwhile, they were dominating the Associates (less cricket playing nations) in a very big way. And then one country climbed rapidly up the rankings, to a point where they challenged Ireland in the shorter versions of the game, Afghanistan. Lets be honest, if the history of Ireland in that build up to glory period was troubled, it had, and still has nothing on Afghanistan’s! Afghanistan are (I believe?) still to play an international game in their own country, though hopefully, in time, it will happen. But fine, it might be some time lol!

And now, after last week’s announcement, both countries can, in theory at least, arrange test matches against those famous cricketing nations of the world! Will it happen, who knows? England have said they will play Ireland, and I suspect one of Afghanistan’s neighbours in the area will do the same for them, I hope so at least.

But no, not in my wildest dreams did I ever foresee this happening, 10 years ago. Hopefully I can get to that first test match in Ireland next year, work, and holiday allowance permitting. Just to say that I was there!

Oh, be grateful you got this, as my only other inspiration for tonight was political comment on another crazy Trump ruling, so…

Right, video time. This song is actually from 2005, it just doesnt look, or sound like it. It definitely has the feel of 70’s glam rock, and the lead singer, and her dress have an almost Harlowesque feel. So, for those who dont already know them (and should), this is Goldfrapp!

Stand by me?

For those of us who followed Irish Cricket before 17/03/07, the events of that day were less of a shock than they were to most. Indeed, you could say that a few days earlier, when they only tied with Zimbabwe, that we were a shade disappointed by the result, half expecting a win, against a very ordinary team in truth, who havent got better over the years. But yes, that St Patrick’s Day win against Pakistan was the day the world as a whole woke up to Irish cricket.

Some of us, as I say, though in my case from a distance, had followed Irish cricket for more than a few years by then. Ancestry thing for me, as it was for a few of those players back in 2007. Yes, more than a few of them spoke with Southern hemisphere accents! Gradually over the years things have changed, and it was only this week that Ireland played a team where all 11 players were actually born in Ireland!

The rise of cricket in Afghanistan has been even more recent, though very dramatic all the same. Hopefully, at some point in the future, they may be able to play an international cricket match in their own country, though the security situation means it wont be just yet.

Over the next few weeks, in India, a virtual ‘international tour’ starts for these 2 teams. 3 twenty over games, 5 one day internationals, followed by a 4 day ‘test match’ makes up the tour. Yes, its only an Intercontinental Cup match officially, but given the changing situation within the ICC, next time they meet, it probably will be a test match, as both countries are likely to be upgraded over the next couple of years. Which, if they keep their word, will mean Ireland playing a Test Match at the home of cricket, Lords. Wow!

Its funny to think that just 10 years ago, if someone had said this would happen, even the Irish fans would have laughed at you, but now… I had, in truth, hoped to get across to a game this summer, but though I’m back in work, and the money is coming in again, its still going to be one trip too far, I suspect. But next year, fingers are crossed.

In truth, Ireland and Afghanistan will never rival the Ashes, or India v Pakistan in cricket rivalries, but for two teams that have built themselves up together, I’m sure the games will always remain special.

The video, what these 2 teams have done over the years. Until now, in associate cricket, but in the future, test series? Maybe in a number of years, those games may even be in Kabul? Lets face it, 30 years ago, the idea of international cricket in Belfast would have been looked on nervously, so…?

As Cold As Ice

Yes, its one of those weekends of the year, when I’d rather be somewhere else. Not because of any personal issues, or anything, but simply because something special is happening, many thousands of miles from here. Hey, this weekend, seriously, you could offer me a choice of venues, but in the end, there’s only one I’ve wanted to visit for so long, and have to realistically face, I’m not really likely to get to. Yes, Alaska. Yes, its the start of the Iditarod. Indeed, the ceremonial start in Anchorage is going on as I type this. The race proper, starts tomorrow, a few miles away in Willow, of course.

Alright, fine, I am not designed for prolonged exposure to below freezing temperatures. Not sure I ever was, definitely not now, for sure! But all the same, would I love a look at the start of the most amazing long distance race there is, you bet I would! Oh, and fine, even more, I’d dearly love to be at Nome, for the finish, but that definitely is never going to happen, not in my wildest dreams!

So yes, yet again, I’ll be following it, via the internet, from the warmth of home, thanks to the Iditarod website. Do I mind who wins? Well, fine, yes, I’d love to see Lance Mackey do it again, but being realistic, its not so likely nowadays. So in truth, no, I dont!

Maybe one day, if, and when things are better financially, and I dont have any limitations on my time (due to the fact that practically, health wise, I’d have to take overnight breaks both ways to get there, and back, from here in the UK), I will get to Alaska, but I’m pretty sure it wont be at the beginning of March, even then. I doubt even then, that I will get to Nome (seriously, the fare from Anchorage alone is quite something!), but I might be able to walk in those paw prints, down 4th Avenue in Anchorage. Cant see it, but never say never…

Funnily enough, you’d also see some snow, and ice, from the other place I wouldnt mind being this weekend, even if its across the opposite side of the world.

I’m not a great fan of 20 over cricket, I prefer the 50 over, and multi day versions of the game, but fine, there are times… The 20 over World Cup actually starts on Tuesday morning, in India, which normally wouldnt be a Country on the top of my tourist list. But hey, given Ireland are playing their qualifying group matches in Dharamsala, literally set underneath the Himalayas, maybe I can make an exception? I first saw the ground when a match in that ghastly IPL was played there, and was taken by the setting, and the amazing buildings, and fell in love. Even then, I never imagined that 1 day, Ireland would be playing cricket there. Again, all I will be able to do is follow from home, but at least we get TV coverage of that.

Fine, money no object, and a special flight to get me there, where am I heading? Hmm? No, despite the fact that Dharamsala is a one off experience, and will be warmer than Alaska, still no contest, I’d see the start of the Iditarod tomorrow! Yes, I have no idea why, I have little, or no interest in mushing beyond this, but at 1000 miles or so, that race is just so special!

OK, the video. No shock, clue is in the blog title. I know, shocking, isnt it?

Test cricket, in Ireland, just maybe?

Well, yes, apart from an unmemorable (and wet) 18 overs or so against England, the Ireland cricket season starts on Tuesday, in a big way.

Why, because this time around, the winners of the Inter Continental Cup will get the opportunity to play Test Cricket…maybe! Why maybe, because the ICC change the goalposts, and the end results so often, that many are far from convinced that the rules now, and the rules in nearly 3 years time, when this series are over will be the same, hmm? But in theory, if Ireland win the cup again, we will be in a position to play test cricket. Fine? Lets leave it at that statement for now.

So, in Dublin, on Tuesday, Ireland begin their 4 day campaign against the UAE. I think the Irish weather may come as a shock to our visitors lol! Or hopefully it wont, just a decent, mild day, and nothing more. Its fair to say that no one would have imagined this, for Ireland, in cricket, 10 years ago! Indeed, who, back then, would have imagined that twice, in recent times, 10,000 people (or thereabouts) have been to an Ireland cricket match!

Later this summer, along with Scotland, they will host the qualifiers for the 20 over World Cup, to be held next year as well. And then, at the end of the summer, the World Cup champions, Australia are coming to Belfast for a 50 over match. And on past form, they will be a lot more friendly to media, and fans, than the English will ever seemingly be!

No, at this point, I have no idea if I will get across this summer, or not. Bit of a Catch 22 at present, without a job, I shouldnt be wasting money on jaunts like that, but equally, when I get one, it will be about a 6 week training period, which will kill off most of the international cricket season. So, ideally, my latest interview offers me a job tomorrow, starting on June 15, and I can look at flights to Dublin this week!

I know, I know, this is me, not going to happen, but…

Irish domestic cricket is still growing, for the better. Now, not only do we have an Inter region competition for the men, the ladies have a 3 team contest in its inaugural year. Due to current circumstances in ladies cricket, all 3 teams are based in the Dublin area, but its beginning to develop in other areas of the country, so in good time…

So yes, I hope that in a few years time, I will be at Ireland’s first test match, now wouldnt that be something?

The video, well, its one of the all time greats. And its what I seem to have in Irish cricket

A pair of lovely moments

Well, yes, one of these I did consider mentioning last night, but given I suspected I might be short of fresh material 2 days in a row, I sort of cheated, and left it until tonight. The other, a lovely touch that happened this afternoon, and just reminded me that there are some wonderful old fashioned gentlemen still about, in these modern times.

Strictly, there is a 3rd lovely thing thats happened in the last couple of days, but as thats something I might get to treasure in the future, I’ll hold back on that one for now, either until then, or when I need blog material, when I havent an idea in my head. Lets just say for now, I know a very sweet angel, and leave it at that! 😉 Be interesting to see if she spots this lol.

OK, the one I held back on. Any sports fan, especially cricket ones, will have noticed that the World Cup is being held at present, and yesterday (though strictly, it started Sunday evening, our time), Ireland played their first game, against the West Indies. Many years ago, the West Indies were the mighty force in cricket, and however good Ireland might be, we wouldnt have been expected to win. Though in fact, back in 1969, they underestimated us, and suffered a humiliating defeat, remembered to this day, by anyone Irish, or with Irish ancestry.

But in 2015, there was no danger of them underestimating us, we are a far stronger team now, and they a far weaker one, especially as they have left out a couple of their big names, seemingly in spite, for events unknown. So, despite the bookmakers making it look so (my firm were 1/6 for WI), this was always going to be a tight match.

At 87-5, it didnt look tight, and yes, thats the West Indies in all sorts of trouble, I might add! But somehow, they dug themselves out of a hole, scored just over 300, quite a challenging target for Ireland. Except…

…until near the end, where we decided to make hard work of getting across the winning line, it wasnt. In the end, the Irish victory margin was a comfortable one. And no, the celebrations werent that of a shock result, it was one that Ireland clearly expected to win, and did so. I would love to have seen it live, but the match was in New Zealand, so happened overnight here, so I only saw the Irish run chase the next morning, in a highlights show. I only saw much of the West Indies innings due to finishing at 10.00 Sunday night, then having it on while I caught up on here.

The other nice touch? I had a massage this afternoon, and afterwards, I went to catch the bus back towards town to come home. There were 2 men already stood at the bus stop when I arrived, so I took my place behind them. But, when the bus turned up, both insisted I get on first! I even tried to convince them otherwise, but they weren’t having it.

No, I dont know who either of them was, but if you read this, thank you so much, it was a lovely gesture in these modern times. Tomorrow morning, when getting on the train to work, no, I dont expect the same treatment.

So, lets dip back into the golden oldies pot tonight, for a song title they clearly attributed to me

A few vintage ladies there, but no Jean. Monroe is there though, and lets just say my angel looks a lot like her!

From the sublime, to the ridiculous.

You can say many things about cricket, but a crazy sport is rarely one of them. So fine, all the so called razzmatazz of T20 cricket is designed for show, but even so, generally the game happens, and life goes on.

On Friday, Ireland played Holland in such a match, one of the most staggering games I’ve seen. Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe had unsurprisingly beaten the UAE quite comfortably, and had overtaken Ireland in the table, on net run rate, the decider if teams were tied at the end of the group stage. So basically it came down to (so people thought) that if Ireland won, they went through. If Holland won, it was pretty certain that Zimbabwe would go through, but…

Holland won the toss, and put Ireland into bat, so they knew quite literally what they had to do to qualify. Ireland batted pretty well, amassing a very decent score of 189, in their 20 overs. So now, Holland knew what they had to do. If they won the game, within 14 overs, and 2 balls, then they would qualify. Fine, but that means they have to score at 13.25 runs per over to do it, seemingly not all that likely, if Ireland kept their heads, and bowled well. Any Holland win beyond that point, Zimbabwe went through, and any other result, Ireland would.

Holland went off like their tails were on fire, and in a sense they were. The thing is, it kept coming off, and the ball kept sailing over the boundary, many times without bouncing, for 6’s. I watched it, though it wasnt long before my hands were over my eyes, peering through, watching a road crash for Ireland.

Yes, as is known, Holland actually got there with 3 balls to spare, scoring at nearly 14 runs an over!

So fine, that was the sublime, then came the ridiculous. Having qualified in this amazing fashion, they lined up in the main stage against Sri Lanka, this time batting first. It didnt take long for the wickets to fall, 3 having gone in scoring just 1 run! Thankfully, the pain didnt last too long, they were all out for 39, by far the lowest score ever in a 20 over international. Sri Lanka knocked off the runs in about 5 overs!

I know, different class of bowling attack, and possibly a bit of ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ in that having beaten Ireland, they had nothing left! I have a horrible feeling, their next game on Thursday, against South Africa could be more of the same! Would Ireland have done much better? Who knows, but I feel we wouldnt have subsided quite as horribly as that. Snag is, it leaves those watching associate cricket teams for the first time with a big stick to beat us down with. Ah well…

The video, an almost moment for Holland, shall we say. Eurovision 1974, a lot of people remember the winners, yes, that was the year Abba won! This finished a very respectable 3rd

The luck of the Irish

Rather an apt title for St Patrick’s Day, don’t you think?

Even more apt, after today’s cricket match in Bangladesh, I might add. The 20 over World Cup actually started yesterday, with 2 pretty comprehensive wins for Bangladesh, and Nepal. But cometh today, and cometh ‘Ireland’s Call’ as the men in green started their campaign, with what looked a tricky game, against Zimbabwe. Not guaranteed to be, per se, but likely to be the group decider, first match up!

Ireland win toss, put Zimbabwe in, and they proceed quickly to 56, after the 6 over power play. Not good, but wicket looks decent, so…spinners slow things down through the middle, but then Zimbabwe score quickly again at the end, and total 163 in their 20 overs. Certainly a good score, if not unbeatable, on a fairly small ground.

To say Stirling and Porterfield start off in style, would be putting it mildly, they scored 61 in that 6 over spell! Even when Porterfield goes, it should all be fine. Even when Stirling is out, Joyce and Poynter seem to be leading Ireland to a comfortable win, but…the collapse sets in! Even so, 12 to win off the last 17 balls, 7 off the last 2 overs, and even 4 off the last, shouldn’t be a problem. But it nearly was, only a scrambled bye, off the last ball won us the game.

Seriously guys, I’m 56, my heart isn’t up to tense finishes like that any more! But a win is a win, so…hopefully the next 2 matches are easier than that!

The video, well its not an Irish lass, its an Aussie, but it sums up the end result today

Oh, and the Harlow hairstyle, it will have to wait a week, sadly, as the hairdresser isn’t well, and has had to delay things. Still, staying with the flapper, bob look, hardly a pain, lets face it!

And so as one year ends

Hopefully a new one begins tomorrow! Yes, as of midnight officially, and about 2.30 in the afternoon literally, I will be a year older, reaching the grand old age of 56. Not so long ago, that would have left me 4 years away from a Senior Citizens bus pass, but given they are changing all the rules, due to everyone living longer, it would seem its going to be 9 years now before I get one! Phew?

Yes, 56 years ago tomorrow, in a hospital, a baby was born, who grew up to be me! One change of name later, one change of gender later (at least, but more on that shortly), and I’m still going strong…of sorts! Two crocked knees, one less than perfect wrist, but despite all that, I’m still standing, and no, that isnt the video! 😛 Something far more silly, from my formative years, for that tonight.

Why do I say at least one gender change? Well, its because, around the time I was born, there were several thousand (at least) hermaphrodite babies born, with both sets of genitals. Yes, the drugs given to pregnant women back then were a delight, as one of the ones that followed soon after was Thalidomide, and we all know the consequences of that! Allegedly, doctors, with or without the guidance of parents (though I would imagine the latter) selected which gender the baby should remain, with all the consequences attached.

Now, I have no evidence I was one of those babies, the hospital I was born at was demolished in the mid 1960’s, so even if there are any records, they could be anywhere, besides which, it was probably all covered up anyway, as it was less of an obvious physical issue than Thalidomide victims would be. But, it seems a fair chance, especially given the undeveloped womb I have. But hey, I’ve survived it all this far, and hopefully will a few more years yet.

From a different perspective, something else ended today, the international career of an Irish rugby player, Brian O’Driscoll. What’s more, it ended in the perfect way, with Ireland winning the 6 Nations championship, though they did their best to throw it away, thats for sure! And a new event starts tomorrow, the 20 over cricket World Cup, with Ireland’s first game on Monday, a most apt date. Hopefully events of the same day, 7 years ago can be repeated. Funny, that started a few days earlier, against Zimbabwe, with a tie, and thats the team we are playing on Monday.

Oh, and for the one of you that might be wondering, that Cheltenham competition at work? Guess what, there were 4 prizes, and I came 5th! Ah well…

My birthday treat to myself, a few days break from work, not back now until next Saturday. 3 days off, 2 days holiday, and the fact they give you a day off for your birthday, add up to a 6 day break, even if my birthday break is only on Wednesday, due to the complications of Cheltenham! If nothing else, I should have a new hairstyle by the time I go back to work! And no, no decision made on the dress for tomorrow night yet, either.

So, as a 55 year old, I leave you with a very silly video, care of those wonderful Muppets. This song (not their version) was a hit when I was a teenager, ah well…

I’ll see you again, at 56!