It's cricket, Jim, but not as we know it

I cycled back from work in time to catch the twenty-twenty semi-final between Ben Rhydding and Ilkley on a beautiful if rather cool evening. Roam, up north for the week, was playing and ended up being the pick of our bowlers, opening the attack and conceding just 14 runs off his three overs, and taking a wicket too. His figures would have been even more sensationally good if he hadn't been hit for six off his final ball. Unfortunately, we were about twenty runs short batting first and couldn't defend our score. It was a relatively easy win for Ilkley, so we miss out on the final this year.

Rpam hadn't bowled in well over a month before the club offered to pay his travel expenses to make the trip up from London to get in two weekends of cricket. Last Saturday he came on late with a tight spell of bowling and took the vital wicket of Green Lane's overseas player to play his part in an improbable one run victory. That win could be pivotal in turning the firsts' fortunes around this season, so it was money well spent by the club!

Meanwhile, the Ashes has started and this is test cricket as I've never known it before. The tempo and the aggression from England has been a revelation. When we were playing New Zealand I didn't really care too much about the result. I was just enjoying the cricket for the love of the game. When we're playing Australia, though, the feeling is altogether different. It's about winning. Pure and simple. I find it hard to fathom just how much I care that England do well. I look forward to the day when I can put my feet up and watch an uninterrupted day's play rather than catch the score and follow the odd bit of text commentary on the internet. In my very first job, very many years ago, I was cheeky enough to have a crackly transistor radio on my desk to follow Test Match Special on Radio 3. And when I went for cycle rides I used to strap that same transistor radio to the rack of the bike, turning the volume up very loud. I had to follow the score as best I could. I hated to miss anything. Nothing has really changed in all that time, just the manner of getting the information!

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