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The Cricket Page

Cricket: taking a wicket

     You probably think this page owes its genesis to the Ashes series of 2005 and 2009, don't you? Well, you're right. But besides a celebration of these events in five Testing stanzas apiece of light verse I've had the temerity to call It's only a game and Ashes from Ashes, there are some cricketing cartoons, a rogues' gallery for both teams in the 2005 series, links to some varied cricket sites, and a chance to hear Brian Johnston famously getting his leg over in 1991. I have even added something (I can only bring myself to add pictures,sorry) for the 2006/7 series.

It's only a game

                                 The bowlers bowled like Lucifers in Lords,
                                 but our batsmen just had to go and fall on their swords
                                 when McGrath gave a warning and Warnie McGra'd
                                 and a brett name of Brat Lee bounced really quite hard.
                                 The in-laws from Oz stroked their keyboard and purred
                                 - gloated would be the more accurate word.
                                 We tried to explain it was only a game,
                                 but the men from Down Under were quite glad they came.

                                 Then it was off to the Midlands to play on that pitch
                                 where the Windies put the wind up and made England twitch.
                                 But that was the nineties, now with no trouble at all
                                 Freddie Flintoffed with both bat and and with ball.
                                 Now the airwaves from Perth were still as the grave
                                 although their tail-enders played full well and brave.
                                 They might say it was only a game:
                                 they would when the Oz star is fast on the wane.

                                 Third Test and KP dropped catches like he was on the wrong side,
                                 and Hoggie-Hoggie-Hoggie bowled wide-wide-wide.
                                 Tricky Ricky played his 'Get Out of Jail Free';
                                 the Army went barmy when Harmie struck he.
                                 It's one thing to be sledged by electronic mail
                                 but a rain-dance in Perth was beyond the pale.
                                 You might say that 'it's only a game',
                                 but surely they should do something to cancel that rain.

                                 No balls at Nottingham brought no joy for Oz
                                 and the boys followed on, and all just because
                                 for once the Fair Warnie didn't find enough spin.
                                 though even Hoggie-Hoggie got swing-swing-swing.
                                 The e-mails blamed Ricky; the newspapers too
                                 but there's only so much that a captain can do.
                                 It's got to be wrong to call it a game:
                                 a three-inch thick catheter wouldn't cause so much pain.

                                 Last Test at The Oval, the series two-one.
                                 KP swung his bat and The Ashes were won.
                                 The weather was the feather in the England caps:
                                 (it's no good wearing sunnies, you Australian chaps).
                                 That rain-dance in Perth must have worked late -
                                 not too much cricket but we thought it was great.
                                 How can they say that it's only a game?
                                 'The promised land' would be a more appropriate name.

Ashes from Ashes

                                 Cardiff hosted its very first test
                                 but you couldn't say England played at their best
                                 when the Physio ran on just for a laugh
                                 and Oz wickets were six to nineteen-and-a-half.
                                 But you have to get twenty to call it a win
                                 so Ricky could only bear it and grin.
                                 It drove the in-laws from Oz right round the bend
                                 when they woke to see bowlers bat to the end.

                                 First innings at Lords and the openers remembered their task
                                 was to score more than the bowlers - not much to ask.
                                 In the second the middles displayed no death-wish
                                 to serve up their wickets to Oz on a dish.
                                 But this time the bowlers were stars of the show;
                                 they swung and they skittled and Oz had to go.
                                 You'd swear they'd lost not a Test but the Earth
                                 when they broke off electronic contact from Perth.

                                 Not much to say about Brum except 'look at the rain':
                                 it fell on day one and day three once again.
                                 And the cricket was a little bit tit, a little bit tat;
                                 our bowlers swung the ball but Oz swung the bat.
                                 Strauss played another captain's innings
                                 for a time we even thought that we were winning.
                                 There wasn't anything worth an e-mail missive,
                                 sharp or pointed or else dismissive.

                                 Then at Leeds after Fred's knees and Prior's back spasm
                                 England found themselves gazing into a chasm.
                                 It seemed that the nineties had come back to haunt us:
                                 with not only batsmen but the bowlers to taunt us.
                                 Some twonks were calling for Ramprakash back
                                 but we were only desperate; our brains hadn't gone slack.
                                 Most of Oz found itself floating on wings
                                 but we agreed the opera ain't over till the Oval lady sings.

                                 Last test and in the first innings Oz batsmen
                                 played as if they were pinky-patsmen.
                                 But in the second they found some true steel
                                 'til our bowlers and keeper made them get real.
                                 So then it was over, the Ashes quite gone
                                 (spiritually and physically the urn had come home).
                                 And since then I've heard not a peep-o from Perth;
                                 they'll rule at Oz Rules and give Tests a wide berth.

Vintage Cricketing Cartoons

1903 Cartoon from The Cricketer
Peter Nicolson Cartoon from The Australian

The Cricketer, May 7, 1903
People and things we don't like:
The batsman who is never bowled without making an ass of himself.

Safety First. Cartoon y Tony Grogan in The Australian Newspaper, 8 January, 2003.
Drawn to my attention by Darryn van der Walt and Ivor Markman


I am grateful to Tony Grogan and Peter Nicholson for their permission to use these cartoons

Johnston Sees Botham Getting His Leg Over

Brian Johnson, not legless

Brian Johnson


For the famous commentary episode. Click HERE

It's not really exclusive. It's on the BBC SITE


Roll your cursor over the pictures of the players to see what they're saying or what is being said about them. Click HERE to be reminded.


The Winning Rogues

Simon Jones in 2005
Kevin Petersen in 2005
Michael Vaugan in 2005
Andrew Flintoff in 2005
Matthew Hoggard in 2005
WG Grace lookalike (sort of) in 2005

The Losing Rogues

Shane Warne in 2005
Adam Gilchrist in 2005?
Ricky Ponting in 2005
Brett Lee in 2005
Glen McGrath in 2005
Matthew Haydyn in 2005

The 2006/7 Ashes Series

     Now, you can hardly expect me to give equal weight to this series as to that of 2005. But, in the interest of maintaining some sort of pretence of balance I have recorded this by two pictures. Don't ask for more!
     Run your mouse over the pictures below to get a careful and in-depth analysis of what went wrong in 2006/7 and what to do about it.

The Ashes, 1882
WG Grace - future captain

Cricketing Links


ENGLAND: Simon Jones, Kevin Petersen, Michael Vaughan, Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff, Matthew Hoggard, Definitely not WG Grace.

AUSTRALIA: Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee, Glen McGrath, Matthew Haydn

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