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That’s a Century of continuous County Championship matches!  Phil has missed his first four day match since becoming a first team regular in 2005.  In these days of Player burnout and injuries, 99 matches on the trot is quite something!  Well done Colonel!

He is out of the Yorkshire match with an inflamed toe, so we hope Cap’n Mustard will be back for the next match.

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And finally the first match of the season!  Durham MCCU v Durham at the racecourse ground.

For Mark his first run out with the first team.   He picked up 2 wickets for 26 off his 13 overs.  So a nice start with some wickets, let’s hope that’s the first of many more.  He becomes the the 119th player to represent Durham CCC.

This blog with its appreciation for a spot of predatory bowling, is delighted to find out that yer actual Lion hunting bloke of the wide open African plains sees bowling as a natural progression from spear throwing.

So fearsome Masai fast bowlers opening for Kenya in the near future?  Let’s hope so.

And the Ladies aren’t to be outdone either, although they seem stuck with the kwik cricket gear.  Is that any way to treat a lady?

Durham won their first match of the season.  A one day friendly 40 against Sussex in Dubai.  Kyle bagged 2 wickets for 18 in 3 overs, and scored 38 with the bat.  Thorpy took 3 wickets.  Diva top scored with 76, and Breese getting 44 runs.

So sense prevailed.  No one saw any advantages in a reduced program of first class cricket, preferring the more obvious trimming back of limited overs matches, which have proliferated recently.

Championship division one stays as a 9 team concern and the Championship stays as the fantastic 16 match per season event that we know and love.

Would have been mad, having just produced an away Ashes winning England team, also presumably Counties would have risked a lower income from reduced memberships which include Championship matches but not T20.

The ECB have listened…. I’m nervous – this is a new thing, surely that can’t last can it?

But while they are at it….. Summer [and weekend] Championship cricket …..Please?????

He may be a sportsman with stacks of actual ‘personality’.  Who played a major part in winning the Ashes, and is playing his part to try and retain them, and a bowler of top international standing, Graeme Swan did not get BBC Sports Personality of the Year. No where near the top 3….

Only 13,767 people bothered to vote for him;  a mere 1.97% of the vote, he came 9th out of a field of 10. Swanny,  @swannyg66 has nearly 122,000 followers on twitter.  He fronts the ECB video reports from the Ashes tour too.  So social media, what is it good for?  Useless for fixing a top prize.

The winner, McCoy polled 293,152 votes.  15 times champion jockey and this years National winner.  So the investment of a lifetime at the top of his sport and the emotional pull of finally winning a ‘Crown Jewels’ sporting event for the first time in that career.

Despite Ashes heroics will another cricketer ever win it again?    Cricketers have relatively short careers in the limelight.  The ‘Crown Jewels’ event for cricket is increasingly obscured as less and less media deal with the sport, except to cover increasingly more personal events such as driving to get a screwdriver [after partying] to free your cat from under the floorboards of your house – silly Swanny!  The Sky viewership is limited even for the Ashes.  The series is loosing emotional stock value for the floating voter.

Flintoff, a big personality, won it on the back of a gripping series, set against a two decade drought of England success played out in full view of the TV watching public, over 8 million at times.  He could also drink for Britain, as well as scare the shit out of the Aussie bluster.  Botham was the last time we had anything similar, Swanny is a character but he is not quite of that type yet.

There are just not enough cricket fans in England – without cricket being on TV, do you think a cricketer will ever get it again….. what percentage of the watching BBC public will have seen Swann in action, indeed any cricketer this year…think about it.

And of course it is a BBC TV thing…. and cricket now is soooo not their sport.

Without a regular media position or question of sport slots or somesuch, it aint going to happen.   Perhaps if Broad with his legion of Broadettes, if he can keep up a trail of wickets and runs for the next decade, and does not attract a trail of red top floozies…. is that looking good to you?  Should we take a punt now?

Then again he is a bowler in rehab, right now….perhaps not.

I was one of those who would have liked to have seen Tremlett in our starting line up.  Despite being in division 2, he had a fantastic season with Surrey, and has always bowled well for England.   So along with his call-up I’m thrilled that he got a 5fer in the Perth match.  And 8 for the match, none of those wickets were tail enders.  A fine start.

Today was Ryan’s day he ended up with 6 for 47, and 9 wickets in total.

Mitch also took a total of 9 wickets in the match.

Hilf kept it tight.

So did Siddle.  And that is what you want from an attack.  I rather like this attack.

England did ok, we didn’t bowl too badly.  But on todays evidence – the Australian attack is better than ours.  Yes the pitch suited the seamers, and they were used well.  But our batters were on good form coming in from a triumphal win.  The Aus seamers all bowled peerlessly and with control, and that is what you need to win a match.  And win they did, by 267 runs, in competitive conditions.

Another venue, another pitch type, and we have Swann, but their seam attack works better than ours.  Well it certainly does when it played like it played during this match.

There are times when it does not matter who wins, as long as it has been a competitive exciting hard fought match.  A match were the balance between bat and ball is equal.  This does not happen as much as it should in Test cricket.

The Third Test at Perth, for a change the bowlers were on top, and I think that is as it should be.

He may have turned up earlier, except I made him captain of my fantasy cricket teams; Mitch, I know, unfair hobbling.  I apologise.

The majority of modern day fast bowlers are generally quite mercurial.  Something that gets glossed over as the post match stats stack up.  Speed and control are found regularly only in the form of the cartoon apparition – machine like, aggressive mean tall mega macho quick.  The real life version wangs it to 2nd slip and ends up in rehab faster than a rat up a drain pipe.  If not it just wasn’t ‘his’ day!  Harmisonesque, a descriptive that sums it up for most.

But we know this, we have been watching and waiting, and duly thrilled with the unplayable spell yielding 4 wickets for 20 runs.  And with 6 for 38 against a set of batsmen who up until now looked to be in fine form, a truly sublime performance.

Just a shame he had to do it to England!

In the midst of the current Ashes fever, for a series that is suddenly awake;  let us not forget the injustice that the women’s game is forced to endure.  A one Test series!!!!!  It is about time all areas of the sport were taken seriously.  You tell em Charlotte!