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…?
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?
Firstly, may I say this has never been an issue for me, probably for obvious reasons. And equally, I must say that the only modern day cricketers I have come close to, are members of the Ireland Cricket team, and they have been gentlemen, in the extreme. So…Yes, we’re talking this awful Chris Gayle moment, arent we?
The thing is, as far as I can tell, this wasnt a first! Not in the sense of West Indies cricketers, but him! Though I gather at least one other…rolls eyes.
Fine, I’m not going to say much about the actual chat up, other than to comment that its clear that some supposedly famous people think they can get away with this sort of thing, even on TV. Not that he has, heavily fined, and seemingly he wont be invited back to said Cricket tournament again either. But what, apart from ego, ever made him think he could get away with this in the first place?
I may not be the best person to comment on the nature of West Indian men. Apart from 1 incident, all the fun I’ve had as a woman has emanated from West Indian (or people of that background) ancestry. So maybe I’m a bit jaded by them, but in this case, I dont think that really matters, this was awful.
But do you know what really concerns me? The fact that on Social Media, in several places, I’ve seen men (mainly Australian) saying that what he did was fine, and that she should ‘balls up’ about the whole thing. Seriously, guys? The Big Bash League has said its trying to attract women to the games, and maybe their reaction to this shows that they are. But at the same time, the TV commentators are very ‘boyish’ in their behaviour, so forgive me for not being convinced.
Not that its just cricketers, or sportsmen that seem to think they are above the law, actors seem to think the same at times too. Seriously folks, you might be (or at least think you are) famous, but it doesnt mean you can behave in such a misogynistic manner.
OK, rant over.
You could ask ‘what was he doing hanging around’, but of course, the TV channel were entitled to interview him, but not for him to behave like this! So the video is
So, lets get away from me, for one blog at least, and look at the change of the sporting seasons, both sides of the Atlantic.
Starting over here, the cricket season is nearly over, and though I dont like to brag too much, it looks like Yorkshire are going to win the County Championship again this season. They might also win the 50 over tournament, but as the semi finals for that only take place over the next couple of days, lets not tempt fate yet. Also, similarly (though less immediately) the Rugby League season is nearly done, which still amuses me, as I’m old enough to remember it being a winter sport! Personally, I think it works better as a summer event, but I’m sure there are some who prefer tradition.
That means the football (soccer, for my US readers) season is already under way, and all those overpaid, overhyped footballers who think they are so wonderful. International games this weekend, and it was a comment made by an ex workmate (we’ve both left Hills, him before me) about the team England are playing tonight, that probably led me to writing this. Yes, San Marino, that mighty footballing nation. But on a night, 22 years ago, after a mere 8 seconds, they scored against England. Fine, England won in the end, 7-1, but it was funny at the time, at least.
Rugby Union is also getting under way, and this year, very soon, is a World Cup event, being held over here, in England. It starts just before I get back from New England, and ends just after I get back from Hollywood, so I wont see a lot. I’m not a big follower of the sport domestically, but show a bit more interest in the international game, but not sure if I will see much, if any of it this time around. Being honest, I havent even checked which TV company has the rights! Fine, its ITV over here. Some coverage in the US of their games, and the last few matches, but thats it. Funny to say, given I will be 8 hours behind, they might be on at unsuitable times for me lol.
On the other side of ‘The Pond’, its also a changing of the guards. Technically, the baseball season is drawing to a close. Well, the first weekend in October is the end of the regular season, but some issues are beginning to get settled already. Mind, the play offs will stretch to the beginning of November! For me, Kansas City, and the LA Dodgers have performed well, Seattle (to the so called experts at least), and Boston have under performed. Personally, I think Seattle were over rated, so not as surprised as the experts are, by their demise.
At present, I plan to get to a Dodgers game, that last season of the weekend, with luck.
The sport starting up, is what the American’s call football, both in the NFL, and the college game. College season has already started, though the serious conference matches generally dont start for a few more weeks. The NFL starts next Thursday. The one thing that has pleasantly surprised me, is how fresh I found the CFL, the Canadian version, seemingly more action than the NFL provides, maybe the different rules work? And very soon, about a month or so, basketball, and ice hockey will start up over there too.
But in all honesty, apart from the American football, its the summer sports I prefer, so…
Right, video time. One thing about US Sports, especially Football, is the cheerleaders. This song is probably the most apt for them. Mind, this isnt the cheerleader loaded version, but what I assume is the original demo one, though the other isnt hard to find. Oh, its the extended version too.
I’m pretty sure that a lot of sport nowadays is purely about the money making potential, with providing the general public with value, and entertainment a mere side issue. At least at times it feels that way.
I’m not even going into football, given the crazy sums that they charge people to go to a Premier League match nowadays, and even what some of the lower league sides charge, for an event that lasts about 90 minutes, crazy! But given I cant stand the sport, and have no wish to make it personal, lets leave it at that.
Not that (going up my scale of like) Horse Racing is an awful lot better now, what is charged for some of the major meetings (especially at weekends) sounds crazy to me, especially given that on top of the entry fee, you’re going to end up gambling more money, which may, or may not add to the cost of the day out. Fine, some days it might pay for it, but anyway…
And OK, I’m not going to defend what some of my beloved US sports charge for a seat, especially the better ones, because they can be pretty outrageous too. On top of which, you pay a good sum just to park your car, which given the prevalence of out of town stadiums seems a bit unjust too, if thats the only way you can get there?
But ironically, the sport getting my ire tonight is one of my favourites, cricket. Yesterday saw one game where not only was 126 a good score, it was a winning score, which for leading pro’s sounds crazy. Yes, I gather the wicket was to blame for that, which sounds daft, given that people pay to go and be entertained, not to see batsmen barely able to cope with conditions.
However, that wasnt as low as it got. Sky Sports were covering the game from Cardiff, due to the early end to the test match. It was a wicket that had previously been used, and sort of got back together for another match to be played on it. The commentators described it as an interesting wicket. Well, it was interesting if you want to see bowlers totally dominating, on a wicket where just about anything could happen. But for the people who’d paid a good sum, to see an entertaining cricket match, never mind!
The awful state of the wicket really showed up in the 2nd innings of the match, when both Hampshire batsmen got hit badly, by balls that leapt up from the pitch in a crazy fashion. Another ball in between, barely bounced! Anyway, after the second incident, the umpires declared the game abandoned, due to the unsafe state of the pitch. So not only did the paying public not get to be entertained, they got barely over half the match they’d paid to see.
Fair enough, if you want to pay large sums of money to go to sporting events, then go ahead and do it. I might add, that when on my own, I always go in the cheaper (though not the cheapest) seats at Baseball matches. But sporting teams, please at least provide conditions suitable for the contest, given how much you expect the public to pay to go and watch it.
The video, well its a question about yesterdays cricket, shall we say?
Oh, and fine, for the last time, given its now in its last 3 days, may I just ask that if anyone has a few spare pounds, dollars, euros, or whatever, and would like to help me change my name, the link is https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/e10ypc/ab/c2hJdb
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
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!
Yes, we’ve come to that time of year when summer sports come to an end. The last rites of the cricket season are being played out over here, and in the US, the last week of the regular baseball season is doing the same thing. And yes, this blog is more related to the latter, shall we say.
Tomorrow, for the last time in Yankees Stadium, Derek Jeter will play for the New York Yankees at home. Seriously, in these days of free agency, and transfers, he has played for the Yankees, his only team, since 1995, quite a record. Ironically, given the rivalry between the 2 teams, its ironic that his career will end with 3 games at Fenway Park, against the Boston Red Sox. Even more remarkably, given the history of the 2 teams, they are likely to be 3 meaningless games, unless the Yankees win both their last 2 games at home, and Kansas lose both of theirs!
Yes, to a degree myself (I follow Boston), and my friend Kate (passionate fan) hate the Yankees for all the obvious reasons. But one person, the thoroughly likeable Derek Jeter almost transcends all this.
My biggest Jeter memory, would be his 3,000th hit for the Yankees. I knew he’d been creeping up to the landmark, and by sheer luck, the magical moment occurred on a game being carried by ESPN over here. Within a few minutes of getting home from work, and switching on the TV, Jeter came to bat, and proceeded to hit the ball out of the park, and make a mark on history. Thats right, not just a hit, but a home run!
I’ve never seen him play live, only on TV, so I was denied that pleasure. But all in all, I’m delighted to have seen him play many times, and even more delighted when the Yankees lost, sorry, Derek. To say he’s a Hall of Fame certainty, is to put it mildly, the only talk seems to be whether he will get the highest percentage of votes ever, quite likely, I suspect. Lets just say that next season, it will be funny watching the Yankees play, and not seeing Jeter there, ever again.
Thanks for many memories, all the same
The video, a very late Monkees number
OK, so many around here know that one of those remaining sports that I still support as a woman, is cricket. And alright, I heard some really funny cricket news today!
An indoor cricket stadium.
So, maybe, with a retractable roof and all that, then maybe one of the major test playing nations might think this is a good move? Maybe, but this is not one of the top cricket nations we’re talking about. Hey, this isnt even one of the elite non test playing nations we’re talking about, this is Canada! And reputedly, it will cost $700 million to develop, and build it.
Hey, lets talk realism, even for the big boys, this would be a major outlay, for someone like Canada, its just plain crazy! Mind, having said all this, there are no design plans yet, no planning permission, and no sign of any of the money, so I suspect the chances of it ever being built are the same as me becoming US President (note, nowadays, only people born in the US can do that, so…)
The irony is, that just at the time that Canadian cricket seems to have gone into total freefall, its threatening to spend money like there’s no tomorrow! Maybe its a North American thing, because the other big joke in cricket at present, is the USACA, one of the 2 major boards squabbling for power in the US.
Dont get me wrong, it might be possible, there are (or have been) a good number of indoor baseball stadiums, more than capable of holding cricket matches, but they all have artificial turf, not grass! There is of course Seattle, which has grass, has a retractable roof, but its only shut when its raining (during, and just before matches), not much of the time as would need to be the case in Canada, where winter is a lot more brutal!
So, an interesting whim, but that is as far as I expect it to get.
This video title seems to sum up the chances of this happening
Somehow I doubt I have any Indian followers here, and if I do, and they are cricket fans, maybe they should leave now!
I’m old enough to remember that back in the dim, distant past, on a Saturday afternoon, on ITV, they would show wrestling, long before WWE and the like were ever dreamt about. Lets just leave it by saying that it was entertainment, not sport, I suspect even the commentator had a script to work to, in all honesty. But no one actually said there was a script, but…Yes, thats right, I mentioned it, WWE. Modern day wrestling, this time from the US, but at least to give them their due, they admit its scripted, and it can be treated by its fans as entertainment, not a sport.
Dont get me wrong, I’m not saying that supposedly clean sports arent fixed, only to a lesser degree, in different ways. Look at all the horse racing coups over the years, for starters. Fine, not every runner in those races was running according to a script, but the planning was there, and someone was picking up money ‘dishonestly’.
And its an issue that despite claims by the various boards that are getting worse, not better. Back when I first started in the betting industry, over 30 years ago, you couldnt do a single on a football match. Maybe, the cup final, and internationals, but otherwise the minimum was trebles, sometimes fivefolds for home teams, and betting on games outside the UK (apart from international matches), no chance.
Then in the early 90’s, rules were relaxed (so people could do singles on the live Sky matches, I suspect), but pretty much it was still win/draw/win, and that was it. Then we get to internet betting, and you get more markets on a match, and matches from further afield, pretty much anywhere in the world now, to be honest.
Thing is, certain folk in Eastern Europe and the like, might like to bet on football, but they dont like losing. So strange betting patterns start to creep in. And as for lower league football, last week of the season, most noticeably Italy, anything goes. I remember a game in that country where the draw price ended up at 4/11 (suited both sides), and unsurprisingly it was. Of course, some had got on at much bigger odds, but anyway.
No, this isnt just an attack on football, btw. Snooker’s record in betting fixes often makes football look innocent! Several players have had lengthy, or life bans, due to ‘interesting’ results.
Oh fine, the thing that got my ire today, cricket! Yes, in India. As several have proved over the years, match fixing is possible, but spot fixing on 1 over markets is just crazy, as a few Pakistani cricketers proved a few years back. 20 over cricket, with its wild price fluctuations simply opens itself up to opportunities like this, and the original Indian Cricket League was so in tow with the local bookmakers, you wouldnt believe. The funny thing is, the Indian Premier League (the official, and now only Indian version) took the high road about this, but…its as fixed as the ICL ever was.
Today, there was a game between Rajasthan, and Mumbai, for the final qualifying place in the semi finals. Not straight winner takes all, Mumbai actually had to win within 14.3 overs to qualify. Important factor here, there is a supposed cricketing god in India, called Sachin Tendulkar, and he played for, and now seemingly runs the Mumbai team. The other team, no cricketer worshipped in India.
So anyway, Rajasthan bat first, scoring what looked a very good score in the process, 189 in their 20 overs. So Mumbai have to score at over 13 runs an over to qualify. So Rajasthan bowl the biggest load of soft deliveries, and Mumbai are about to get there, and qualify. 2 needed to win off the last delivery that sees Mumbai through, a mix up, and a player gets run out. Then, its pointed out to everyone that if Mumbai score a boundary off the next ball, they still qualify. So the bowler bowls an inviting full toss down the leg side, the batsman hits it for 6, and Mumbai qualify. Fine, it might have been skill, but for the fact that not one Rajasthan player was showing disappointment in losing!
So, the next time anyone tells you the IPL is a genuine cricket competition, just laugh. Whether its more rigged than WWE, I dont know, that would be pretty hard. But a genuine contest, no chance, its controlled by the BCCI, and Indian bookmakers. And serious bookmakers take large bets on this, ah well…
Meaning there are too many chiefs involved, which leads me to this video, from my distant past.