Career in Tatters?

It’s been such a shame to see Jonny Tattersall struggling for game time at Headingley.

The 26-year-old experienced a poor start to the campaign and has been usurped by teenager Harry Duke. I wish Duke all the best but there’s still room for Tattersall in Yorkshire’s XI, particularly when Root, Malan and Bairstow are with England. Lyth, Brook and Kohler-Canmore are all likely to earn The Hundred contracts so Yorkshire shouldn’t dispose of Tattersall yet.

After scoring a duck in his only innings and being released after just two matches, Tattersall reinvented himself as a wicketkeeper and fought his way to back into the Yorkshire fold. He’s performed consistently well ever since. Well, until the start of this season. He made runs during a brief loan stint with Gloucestershire but despite a half-century in a recent List A game, hadn’t returned to Yorkshire’s County Championship XI.

For a player who had to fight back, averages north of thirty in both First Class and List A cricket are healthy. It’s to be hoped that further opportunities await on home turf. If not, other counties would be foolish to ignore his experience and determination.

Disclaimer: Since originally scripting this article, Jonny Tattersall has gone out on loan again, this time… to Surrey!

The Adventures of TinTin

About ten years old this film may be… but I finally got around to watching it!

Now I can’t claim to have read the books but like many of my generation, I watched a cartoon version as a kid. This film got some bad press when it was released… but I thought that it started off alright!

It’s sort of a life like cartoon. A little like The Polar Express I think (Though I’ve only ever caught glimpses of that film). I’m not sure how or why. Does it make action sequences easier? Like I say, the film started well. The backstory got a little too deep for me though and derailed the film. I thought that those scenes should’ve been tinted (No pun intended!) as Captain Haddock, his enemy and their ancestors looked exactly the same. The lines between past and present blurred.

The film suffers from the usual ‘Character talking out loud to them self to help explain things to the audience’ device but I thought the imagery was very good. The singer breaking the glass didn’t make any sense though. I mean surely that had happened before!

If you’re a Tintin traditionalist then you should probably stear clear (Which you probably have done for a decade!). If you just want to watch a film, there are far worse ones than this. Supposedly, a sequel remains in the pipeline…

FIFA 20: On a Roll!

North of the border, we outplayed Vancouver only to lose 1-0. We bounced back at home to Colorado courtesy of a late goal from midfielder Jackson Yueill. We then really turned it on with a 3-1 win when hosting Columbus. Top scorer Andres Rios bagged two goals and Magnus Eriksson sandwiched those strikes. The only blemish was a late consolation for the visitors after a poor clearance from goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. He’s continued to pull off great saves but not for the first time his distribution was at fault!

We then played Colorado (Again!). Reuven Neijmeijer celebrated his first start for the club with his first goal. His right-footed strike rounded off a patient team move… even if the ‘keeper shouldn’t have been beaten at his near post!

We then traveled to Kansas to play what would turn out to be our best and worst game of the season so far. After Andres Rios missed a sitter, we went a goal down following yet another distribution error from goalkeeper Marcinkowski. That man Niemeijer then struck the sweetest strike of the season from outside the box to make it two in two for him and level the score. We fell a goal behind again though and found ourselves 3-1 behind only minutes into the second half. Cue a triple substitution! $8m man Omar Kharbin struggled to make an impact, including missing a one in one with the Sporting ‘keeper following a horrendous throw-in. His last minute strike against LA seemed a long time ago! However, he kept his head and soon tapped in to make it 3-2 with seven minutes remaining. In the dying moments, he found himself with only the ‘keeper to beat. The Syrian striker exorcised his demons and levelled the score. The few fans who’d travelled from far (And myself!) were in rapture!

We then stormed to a sensational 3-0 victory against unbeaten LAFC in Los Angeles. Rios, who (Some felt controversially) started ahead of Kharbin, bagged a brace before Kharbin replaced him and duly made it 3-0 to continue his knack of scoring last minute goals. It was a truly dominant display. In our following game at home to Vancouver, we went behind but the character and strength of the squad is now supremely strong. Niemeijer made it three goals in as many starts for him. Kharbin bagged his fifth of the campaign before Siad Haji, unfortunate to have fallen down the pecking order, got on the pitch and grabbed his third goal of the season to seal a 3-1 success.

The positive string of recent results had lifted us to 6th place in the table with 46 points from 27 matches. Our win against Vancouver meant that we’d usurped the Canadian side. Andres Rios was our top scorer with a healthy 13 goals meanwhile Cristian Espinoza tallied eight assists.

Pateley Bridge Hike

Last weekend, it was good to get out on a hike for the first time in a while.

This wasn’t the greatest hike ever. It started from and touched upon some familiar territory but also covered new ground. We walked through the small village of Heyshaw (No unauthorised turning!) and found an extremely well placed bench for lunch.

We walked past Dacre Banks cricket pitch (Where I once scored a defiant 27) and within sight of Glasshouses cricket ground (Where my nephew had what would’ve been his first ever wicket… dropped!). Oh! Of course we were right next to Pateley Bridge cricket pitch too (Where I was adjudged LBW for 1 off the last ball of a T20 game!).

The hike covered about 10.5 miles and included bumping into a couple who weren’t dressed for hiking and were lost. Now this wasn’t exactly the wilds. We were on somebody’s property at the time and you could see the main road. Having binged on missing hiker channels on YouTube though… you have to be careful and prepared!

My friend and I survived and roll on the next one!

Cricket Captain 2021: World Cup Semi-final Woe… again!

Our T20 World Cup campaign commenced with a thrilling six-run win against West Indies. A rather strike starved Jos Buttler (66*) carried his bat meanwhile captain Liam Livingstone (45 off 22) and Ben Stokes (39 off 24) helped get us to 195. A seven ball 16 from Jofra Archer proved vital. Despite Shimron Hetmyer striking an unbeaten 103 from only 59 deliveries, we clung on! Absurdly, we then lost to Pakistan by… 6 runs! This was despite 92 not out off 51 balls from Ben Duckett. We then restricted South Africa to just 138-9 with Archer claiming 5-21! Opening batsmen Duckett (68) and Buttler (43) more than lay the foundations of a successful eight-wicket run chase. We then chased down 185 to beat Sri Lanka. A fifty wicket partnership of 80 between Livingstone (44) and Sam Curran (42* off 31) was crucial. Ollie Pope hit 16 from only eight balls to all but take us over the line. After that we restricted Bangladesh to 144 all out (Stokes 3-9, Payne 3-24) before Duckett (54) and Livingstone (27* off 12) led the wat to a five wicket win. Onto the semi-final…

David Payne (4-24) and Sam Curran (3-31) starred to limit India to just 136 all out. Benny Howell (4-0-20-0) and Mason Crane (2-0-10-0) backed them up by keeping things extremely tight. We never got going with the bat though and collapsed to just 91 all out. Joe Root’s 91 was the highest score of the innings and his highest of the tournament.

For Root, Stokes and Buttler, it was a sorry end to their international careers.

My tenure has, up to this point, been one where we’ve always been competitive. However our white-ball form has become inconsistent in recent times. We’ve also now narrowly failed to force last session victories in two Ashes series and lost a ODI and two T20I World Cup semi-finals. The emergence of players like batsman Henry Peters and pace bowler Oliver Taylor, fill me with confidence that the next generation will be even stronger and so, I’ll continue to lead the side.

We got back to winning ways with some thumping wins in Zimbabwe… though it wasn’t all plain sailing!

Henry Peters (235) struck a third Test double ton in as many series while Ollie Pope (186) and Zak Crawley (123) helped us post 795 all out, the highest total of my tenure. Match figures of 8-99 from Mason Crane spin is to victory in the first Test. We won the second match by ten wickets with Lewis Goldsworthy claiming 4-53 in the first dig on debut. He always made 66 in a last wicket stand of 80 with fellow debutante Saqib Mahmood (42*). Rob Yates (93), Ben Foakes (64) and Martin Andersson (55) were also in the runs. Ben Coad picked up a career best 4-73 in Zimbabwe’s second innings then Yates (50*) and Crawley (41*) took us to a series victory.

Ben Slater (85), Foakes (62) and a vital 44 not out from Dom Bess put a score on the board in the opening ODI. Bess then claimed 4-35 and Ed Barnard 3-14 to restrict the hosts to 190, 66 runs short of their target. Bess (3-16) and Barnard (3-27) did the damage again in the second match before Ollie Pope struck 89 not out to earn a seven wicket win. Sam Hain used up 67 deliveries for 25 to leave him still without a half-century in 18 ODIs (As well as 6 T20Is) despite a List A average above 50! Young pacer Mitchell Madden picked up 3-2 and part-time off-spinner Dan Lawrence 3-33 in the third ODI but despite and opening stand of 165, Ben Slater was as slow as ever, needing 132 balls to score 99. He’s scored 1075 runs in just 21 innings at an average of 51.19… but his strike-rate is just 76.60! Ben Duckett made 110 not out but we fell short by 13 runs. We bounced back with a stunning 16-run victory in the only T20I! We were 17-3 but Tony Skillbeck (Who’d previously had a rough introduction to international cricket) struck 29 batting at three before Ben Cox (24*) and the unlikely Tom Helm (29*) took us from 70-8 to 111-8. It still didn’t look enough but…Leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson (3-29) and the superb left-arm pacer Luke Wood (2-29) gave us hope before stand-in skipper Lewis Gregory promptly bowled three balls and claimed a hat-trick to win the game. The Somerset man had been unlucky to miss out on selection recently but his record with the ball in T20 International cricket is impressive.

We then set off to play our old foes Pakistan… again!

What is it about us and great Test series? This one had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster! Crawley (187) and Yates (113) began the series with an opening stand of 270 before the recalled Dom Bess claimed 5-73. He went onto add 5-57 in the second innings as we ran out winners by 68 runs. Amazingly, Bess then claimed 5-35 to roll Pakistan out for just 171 after they’d elected to bat first in the second Test. Once we’d posted 453 (Yates 148), the series looked a forgone conclusion… but Pakistan got back with 464 before we collapsed to 114 all out (Naseem Shah 5-12) to lose by 67 runs. With the series level, Rob Yates (187) made it centuries in each match of the series. Having been reduced to 39-4, he put on 174 with Sam Curran (84). A Test ton still eludes Curran. Matthew Parkinson (3-39) finished off Pakistan’s first innings then Crawley hit 125 in our second. Michael Dyson (100*), brought into the side at the expense of off form Ollie Pope, registered a superb maiden Test hundred. We declared then our spinners, Parkinson (4-54), Bess (2-32) and Crane (2-11) sealed a whopping 304-run win an 2-1 series success. Yates totalled 521 runs at an average of 86.83 while Bess took 21 wickets at just 15.52 in the series. As a result, we were top of the Test rankings.

Our indifferent limited overs performances continued though as we went 2-0 in the ODIs. In-form claimed 6-59 in the second match but we couldn’t chase down 304 despite skipper Livingstone following a top score of 59 in the first match with a 45-ball 73. Bess (4-34) was at his best again in the dead rubber. The off-spinner finished off the hosts by taking four wicket wickets in as many balls! Henry Peters, no longer pigeon holed as a Test specialist struck 113 not out in an unbeaten combo of 175 with Dan Lawrence (80*). A maiden ODI ton for the former, an important knock for the latter and an eight-wicket win… but a series defeat. The result left us fourth in the rankings.

We then performed disgracefully in the T20 series. Score of 100 all out, 104-9 and a pathetic 79 all out were all that we could muster. Captain Liam Livingstone, promoted to opener and Ben Duckett made one double figure score between them at the top of the order. Tom Moores struggled to convert domestic performances into ones on the international stage. One positive was young Tony Skillbeck. He made 50 in the opening match and collected three wickets in the series. Clearly we need to revisit selection of of our XI in the shortest format. We sit seventh in the rankings.

Two Seasons in One Day

A few days ago, it was incredibly hot. Well, it was 28 degrees… so hot by English standards!

It was a belated brief blast of summer. However, leaves had also turned brown and were falling, so summer and autumn rolled into one day. Admittedly, had I taken the above photo before the last of the sunlight disappeared behind the hedge then it might look more convincing!

This isn’t about to turn into some climate change rallying cry, only a post to talk a little about nature and the small things that you sometimes notice… and sometimes don’t!

Spring and winter weren’t in sight but anyway, we don’t need much of an excuse to play a good tune…

Cricket 19: ODI Inception

In our first ever ODI, against Ireland in Ireland, we recovered from 67-5 and 103-7 to post 208 from 40.4 overs. Phillipe Fernandes (55) top scored and his eighth-wicket stand of 61 with Dirk Shaffer (34) was what helped us put a score of some sort on the board. Kasper Beck (25) and last man Ravi Ali (12*) added 31 for the final wicket. All our dismissals were caught but that was no slight on our batsmen. Ireland’s pacers swung the ball a lot, particularly in the early stages and it was the wicketkeeper who held six of those catches.

Having claimed our first T20I wicket, Ali accounted for our first ODI scalp. Ireland recovered from 17-1 to 111-1 however, before leg-spinner Beck (3-50) turned the tide. He was backed up by fellow twirlers, slow-left-armer Shaffer (2-39) and off-spinner Fernandes (1-14) to provide the hosts with a scare. We’d never quite posted enough runs though and Ireland reached 210-7 with 6.3 overs to spare. If we could just have batted a bit longer and added another twenty to thirty runs then we could’ve really been competitive. We’d shown Ireland that we wouldn’t be rolled over though. Onto game two in the series…

We sadly regressed! Despite a few partnerships adding around thirty or forty runs, we were dismissed for just 186 in only 34.4 overs. Max Schutt (35), Shaffer (33), Kingston Hall (28), Mo Castro (23*) and captain Louis Vincent (22) all got started but didn’t go onto produce scores of substance. Irish pacer T-J Miles (6-40) bowled superbly. He was actually on a hat-trick… twice! Both debutante Stephen Stollmeyer and gloveman Nico Keller fell first ball.

For the second match in a row, we simply hadn’t put enough runs on the board to make a game of it. Once again, our spin bowlers (Shaffer 2-29, Beck 1-30) provided Ireland with a bit of a wobble. However we were unable to sustain the pressure as the home side eased to a six-wicket victory with an unbroken 59-run stand. There was at least a wicket for the struggling Stollmeyer (1-28) and hopefully he can take the confidence gained from that into his batting.

A dead rubber it may have been but the third match meant a lot to us. We upped our game, applied ourselves better with the bat and posted… 278-9! Captain Louis Vincent (60) top scored. He compiled an opening stand of 39 with debutante Dinesh da Silva (13), who was regrettably run out. Aggressive running was a feature of our innings. Stollmeyer (23) and Christoph Vance (17) dug deep to get important runs on the board for both themselves and the team. Phillipe Fernandes contributed 39 and at 204-5, we’d avoided losing wickets in clusters. However Max Schutt fell first ball and we’d soon slipped to 213-8. Cue the arrival of Kristoff Klein! The tall left-hander struck 51 from only 35 deliveries in a partnership of 65 with strike starved Marko Markovic. Markovic (35) was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings when playing for his team and not his average. Though Klein deserved his glory, Markovic had held the innings together when we could’ve blown all our hard work.

Ravi Ali knocked over Ireland’s top order with some full and sensational swing bowling. From 38-3 however, the hosts hauled themselves to 165-3 only for captain Louis Vincent to step up. He bowled just the one over but accounted for anchorman Barry (52). Ireland slipped to 195-7 with Max Schutt (2-35) on form. He claimed the key wicket of top scorer Ortiz (82) courtesy of a nerveless boundary catch by Klein. A partnership ensued though, before leg-spinner Simon Chung (1-44) bowled dangerman Rogers (32) with his final delivery. Ireland were 239-9 chasing a target of 280 when we missed an absurd opportunity to effect a run out and seal our country’s first ever ODI victory. Number eleven Porterfield (Who neither bowled nor kept wicket in any of the matches) slogged 30 not out from 16 balls in an undefeated last wicket stand of 41 with Craig (11*). Despite three dots in a row from Ravi Ali (4-71), Porterfield made contact with the final delivery of the innings to secure a one-wicket win for Ireland. Our players sank to their knees in despair! We’d been taught a harsh lesson about the realities of international cricket.


Reliable raspberries, thriving in the garden every year!

As somebody for whom eating healthily doesn’t come naturally, some tasty fruit growing hassle free in our own back garden, is most welcome.

Potatoes, onions, radishes, peas and carrots (Just!) have come good. As for tomatoes… we’ll wait until October for a very small soup!

What have you got growing in your garden? What provided a bumper crop… and what didn’t?

FIFA 20: $8m Man!

We returned to winning ways with a convincing win at home to Houston. We had no problem! Cristian Espinoza netted the opener after excellent work from recalled right-back Paul Marie. Fellow full-back Marcos Lopez later rounded off a superb move to double our lead and seal a 2-0 win against weak opposition.

We fell behind against second placed Los Angeles Galaxy but Andres Rios scored a sweetly struck strike to equalise after great work from Gilbert Fuentes on his first start of the season. We dominated the second-half against a rattled Galaxy only for an absolute howler from young goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski deep into injury time cost us dear. He’s been superb for us up to this point and the error will only make him stronger. On a more positive note, with the transfer window open, Omar Kharbin, Christoph Kropfl and Reuven Niemeijer joined the squad.

We bounced back from defeat against LA with a 1-0 win in Minnesota. I don’t need to tell you who scored… Rios netted his eighth of the campaign with $8m Kharbin watching from the bench! We repeated that result against Real Salt Lake with Rios again the goalscorer. He finished off a fine move by Kropfl and Thato Mokeke.

Having welcomed a few players into the club, a few headed the other ways. This included talented wideman Vako, just recovered from injury, who headed to Spain to join Levante after they paid his release clause of over $7m. Danny Hoesen, who banged in the goals in pre-season but had since fallen down the striker pecking order, also headed to Europe.

We then played LA Galaxy again (I don’t understand how this league works!). We dominated but fell behind before Gilbert Fuentes missed a couple of great opportunities. It was a shame because the teenager was once again displaying his star quality. Fortunately, $8m man Kharbin stepped off the bench to equalise and make it us who inflicted last minute heartbreak this time!