Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “county cricket”

Cricket at Arundel Castle. Sussex v Leicestershire 2017. The Dogs enjoyed it.


Cricket is an unusual sport in that in the county games it takes four days to get a result (sometimes) and fans generally are less passionate about their own county than in other sports. a nice aspect is that many counties take a few games away from their main headquarters and take them to “out grounds” which are often cricket festivals and well supported. Sadly the crowd this year was smaller than in other years possibly due to the downturn in the success of Sussex cricket club over recent years.

A few photographs from a day in the hot sun. Some action photos including the wicket of Luke Wright, one of the most entertaining batsmen I have seen in 2017. A few folks hiding from the sun and a rather hot dog enjoying the sun. In fact cricket is one of the few sports where dogs are usually welcome and Arundel is am example of a ground with plenty of shade, walking space, and grass. A good place in fact to bring a dog, although this year with temperatures around 25c dogs were mostly seen in the shady areas.

Hot Dog

Hot dog.

No Sun

No Sun Allowed

Arundel Castle Cricket

Arundel Castle Cricket was not at full capacity in 2017

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Piccadilly Ice Creams

The Ice Cream sellers were amongst the most important folks in the ground

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Small wicket

Luke Wright the ex-england batsman is bowled

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Will Beer

A great name for a cricketer. Will Beer.

Luke Wright Celebrating Century Against Gloucestershire


Cricketers have traditionally been more subdued when celebrating , however it seems the tide is turning with more emotional overt celebrations. This was Luke Wright’s first century for two seasons and an excellent innings it was too. Measured at times and rapidly scoring at others.  Here are a few photos of that moment he went to his hundred. In the context of the innings this was an important and excellent innings.

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The Messed Up State Of English Cricket 


If a photo could sum up a pile of rubbish then this is such a photo. Cricket stumps and bails made from food. This is almost as credible as some of the sorry stories and sagas emanating from the world of cricket this week. In a few weeks we have had a finale to the county championship that was ruined by the stupidity of ECB in not allowing Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to play. A game that also contained total nonsense contrived bowling to get a result. Players going off for bad light in the middle of the day when neither side had any desire to go off. Important umpiring errors. And a county that won the annual title that contained not a single player that could represent England. 

This nonsense was then followed by the 18 counties voting to set up a new T20 tournament as a city franchise. Purely money making of course. Only three counties had the sense and arguably decency to vote against this. 

Then to complete this trilogy of nonsense ECB gave Durham a draconian and excessive punishment for financial failures that was part of the ECB making. The encouragement of test cricket in a less than ideal geographical location in Durham where it was always doomed to struggle. Admittedly it is likely that the county did manage their funds badly in addition but in order to survive they required around 5 million pounds from the ECB in total. Their punishment was a fourfold flogging. Relegation . A deduction of 48 points next season combined with deductions in all other competitions too. Return of prize money. And no more test cricket. Most ardent cricket fans agree as do the media that relegation by itself was the appropriate and ample penalty. Durham who have provided a steady stream of England players and still competed well including winning the championship in 2013 are now cast into the black depths of division 2. The only good news on the horizon is the possible return of Ian Botham as chairman at the club where he played his final two seasons. 

Maybe I write too critically about cricket but there is something seriously wrong with a sport that is only played a few days a year yet often to almost empty grounds. A true tale this year is that watching Derby versus Sussex on arrival at the ground no one knew how to sell me a day ticket. My argument ends there. The ECB have upset almost all cricket supporters by these ludicrous decisions made also mostly behind closed doors no doubt in oak panelled rooms and with pleasant lunches . They need to get into the 21st century. Although the quality of county cricket is poor many other aspects can be improved on immediately. 

Lastly with the relegation of Durham why were Kent not permitted to state their case to replace them via an extra and in fact normally granted promotion place? What exactly were the arguments considered in their dark rooms by ECB?  I can see it both ways and on balance Kent would get my support for promotion and Hampshire would be relegated. The financial travails of Durham did not just have influence in 2016 but most likely have had impact through overspending for many years. Cricket does risk a death sentence at county level for many counties and conceivably for most of the second division counties . 

Where from here for County Championship Cricket? September 2016


Over the last few days something strange has been happening. The media generally and Sky TV has been eulogising over the climax to the season that results in three counties entering the last of their 16 games with the possibility of being champions. At the bottom end of the table one of three counties will achieve relegation. Sky has also at the last minute decided to televise the key game Middlesex v Yorkshire.  All this is quite unusual. The norm is a few words in newspapers with the scores. Has there been a sea change? Sadly not. 


The reality is that county cricket is a 4 day game played often in front of only hundreds of spectators. Most of them termed members essentially but buy a season ticket. Most of the games are played midweek when younger folks work and the average age of spectators is realistically over 40 and sometimes over 60. The cost of county cricket is also growing. The memberships cost around £200-250 and cover the 8 home matches and seasonally a variable number of limited overs games but not the lucrative T20. This contrasts with a season ticket cost for Championship football of around £350. A days ticket costs around 15-20£ and at some venues parking adds to that. At Arundel for example which is almost inaccessible without a car, parking is 10£ for non-members. 


There are rafts of problems and reasons why grounds are invariably empty other than cost. The weather often does play havoc with games turning them into lotteries with many days play lost. Umpires take the players off for minimal bad light. This irritates spectators who have little other option than to sit there . Food options in many grounds are limited and expensive. 

The cricket quality is often poor and sometimes not reaching good club standard. Many games do not last anything like 4 days. Inept batting collapses are the norm in division two and seen too often in division one.  The best players do not play as ECB often dictates they cannot even when not playing for their counties. Cricket fans tuning into Sky would have noted that arguably Yorkshire’s best cricketers, Bairstow and Root , were not playing for ludicrous reasons. Many counties keep young players for up to 5-10 years before deeming them not good enough. This results in a slow and poor throughput of potentially the really good youngsters out there. Bad performances seem tolerated for too long again resulting in poor cricket. One needs only to look at the batting this season for Sussex for these points to be clear. Some players don’t seem to want or be able to put in strong county performances when having been on the fringe or discarded by England. 

Cricket by its very nature played over 4 days can sometimes be a boring and abrasive game. Watching 90 overs at 3 runs an over is rarely thrilling. But it is part of the game. 

What should we do ? These are my suggestions and based partly on my personal reasons for hardly watching Sussex even as a member. 

  1. Reduce the entrance costs. Free entry for everyone under 18 and all students of any age and unemployed. Aim to have much fuller grounds and hence create an atmosphere generating more excitement . Give tickets away selectively 
  2. Play games over weekends and bank holidays
  3. Remove points for a draw. It is astounding to see how few games are actually won even by the champions 
  4. Be more ruthless with players. County cricket should not be full of average and poor players. Some fitness levels as professional sportsmen give cause for concern as do some players BMI. This can give the erroneous impression of farce
  5. Have 5 days set aside for games even though the aim is 4 days. This will reduce the impact weather has on results which is often in a season around a third of games
  6. Increase the general interaction between the players , umpires and the spectators. For example have a short 30 minute session of Q/A after each days play.  For all spectators to ask questions 
  7. Ensure that the top players do play where possible 
  8. Ensure play when possible . Reduce the breaks for bad light or rain and when they happen speed up resumptions. Some of the delays are medieval. 

These things may not be enough to salvage countycricket but they will help. 

Let’s return to Middlesex v Yorkshire. What have we seen? The ECB refusing to sanction Root and Bairstow to play. Crazy. A Yorkshire spinner Rashid asking not to play for barely credible reasons as a professional sportsman. At the most exciting moment of the game in the afternoon time when Yorkshire required a single run to effectively maintain their chance of winning the title , the umpires took the players off for bad light. Goodness. Some fairly poor batting from both sides with a few exceptions. Some dreadful fielding with over 10 dropped catches in 2-3 days. A ground that was mostly empty devoid of hardly any atmosphere excepting the MCC members in the pavilion who did turn out in numbers.

 Cricket could have done far worse than give free admission to all for this game instead of viewing totally empty stands ( the best ones were not even open to the public. Why not? ) 


Let’s hope things change but frankly I might be copying and pasting most of my thoughts again in2017 and maybe in 2020. 

Cricket can be Black And White


Images sometime convey more power and meaning when in black and white. Whether this is a random thing or a feeling that one is being transported back to another century I am unsure. 00004828

Are Sussex County Cricket Club The New Aston Villa of Cricket?


As a member of Sussex for many years I am becoming increasingly despondent over the quality of the cricket that has been served up while at the same time seemingly an ever increasing commercialisation.Sussex County Cricket Club is the oldest of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales and won its first ever official County Championship title in 2003 after a wait of 164 years. Subsequently Sussex became the dominant team of the decade, winning the title again in 2006 and 2007, and also winning limited over tournaments up until 2009.

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Since 2009 things have been getting steadily worse culminating in relegation from Division 1 in 2015 and currently sitting low in Division 2 with little hope of promotion this season.

Why is this happening? I cannot pretend to have the answers however it seems that many poorly performing players have been signed and then eventually released having shown none of their potential. There seems little rational into the signing of some players and those that continue to produce poor form seem to retain their place.

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My personal belief as of July 2016 is that Sussex are the second worst county side in the UK.    They have won 1 game in the county championship from the 8 played, have the lowest number of batting points in the division and only a single team has a lower number of bowling points. Yet I see little evidence of a spark to improve and change things. Players performing woefully continue to be selected. On occasions an individual player has had a good performance but these are never sustained with the single exception of Ed Joyce who has been consistent this season opening the batting. When watching the team play there seems little enthusiasm and fielding at times has been poor.  The costs of membership have been increasing almost unnoticed with membership costing £200-250 dependent on whether there is desire to watch T20. And these are not the only costs. Car parking for members at Arundel was £5 and the cost of food has got absurd approaching double the cost of the same food at a football game. Sausage , chips and tea at Arundel £11.

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This season we have seen the potential resurgence of Leicester as a county. They addressed the issues that led them to not win a game for 2 years and currently sit 20 points higher than sussex.

Something needs to be done. We need to see evidence of players taking accountability and tolerate less poor performances. Sussex cricket is in decline and I see no evidence of a reversal at present.

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Tim Bresnan. Retirement? Arundel


Doubt it. Still a decent county player. Was somewhat amused by the photograph below at Arundel this week.

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Adam Lyth


Yorkshire opening batsman touted for potentially an England cap in due course however already 26 years old.

Adam Lyth

Adam Lyth

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County Championship Cricket. What is it really like as a spectator? Sussex V Yorkshire. Arundel


As a cricket fan I enjoy live cricket and prefer the 4 day format. I have been a member at Sussex for very many years and might get to half a dozen days cricket in the summer. I have to report with some sadness that county championship cricket is in danger of death. Let me allow you to picture the scene. A sunny June day, cricket being played in the most beautiful grounds of Arundel Castle. A decent crowd mostly consisting of four types, the retired county members, the corporate folks on a corporate bash,  a few schools bringing both boys and girls and the eclectic selection of people who regularly watch country cricket without seemingly having a job. The second day of Sussex v Yorkshire. If I am being totally honest I would love to eulogise about county cricket and how the four day game needs to survive if at least to produce players both for England and the tedious limited overs competitions. But I cannot. In fact this was one of the most miserable days cricket i can ever recall.

There was little interest from the players to turn this into a spectacle at all. Yorkshire batted almost all day at a run rate of 2 runs per over. There were no pieces of excellent fielding nor catches, in fact there was nothing memorable. The food is grossly overpriced, paying £2 for a small cup of tea or coffee and the £7 charge for Burger and chips was compounded by having a small portion of cool/cold chips. Very average indeed Hog Roast. My immediate cricketing neighbours conducted bizarre conversations. For example a middle-aged man started a conversation after lunch with his business colleague/friend by saying ” I am expecting a lot of family funerals you know”, the elderly party on the other side discussed at length how great it was to get a free copy of the Financial times at their hotel and ” that it must have been printed in USA as all the stories are from there”.  Other gems of conversation included ” I know those banks, HSBC and Vodafone”.  And if that was not enough to generate unbridled joy then back to the other side to hear ” did you know someone collapsed and had to be resuscitated at a Jethro Tull concert. His heart stopped for 20 minutes”. The reply was ” does your brain not turn to jelly after 20 minutes”.

Having ranted however I will be back, I know I will.  On a more positive note I was able to see why neither Tim Bresnan nor Luke Wright are in the England squads. Both bowled in a meaningless manner and offered little to the game.

 

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Sussex V Surrey at Arundel. The last game of Chris Adams reign


Arundel is one of the most beautiful cricket grounds to watch cricket. IMG_2207 Solanki and Ponting3 Untitled2 wine best2 Best3 IMG_2224

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