It was a good start to the football season. Things could have been better, but they could have been worse… I remember the opening day last year, Bath City lost 3-0 to a team called Concord Rangers; who play in an Essex hellhole called Canvey Island. On the same day, Leeds were being managed by David Hockaday – a man who Forest Green Rovers had recently sacked. Unsurprisingly, they lost to an awfully bad Millwall side.
Before anyone could really concentrate on the football, a far more important matter had to be dealt with – The Ashes. I’m one of these people who like cricket a bit, but become addicted to the sport during The Ashes series. A bit like those annoying football fans, who don’t support a team (or worse, Manchester United) but decorate their cars and houses with St. George flags during the World Cup. My limited cricket knowledge lead me to understand that Australia were diabolical. In fact, while at work and following the score on my mobile phone, I thought the application was broken, because Australia were just so bad.
The internet is great for jokes in the time of big news. Whether it be following the death of a celebrity or mocking a sporting team’s failure. Twitter did not let me down and there were endless jokes, mocking the Aussie’s failure. An advertisement for Australian cricket bats, with the description “hardly used” was the best – closely followed by a tweet “Rolf Harris is now officially embarrassed”.
Anyway, it was Saturday morning. Leeds were on the telly at midday. England needed 3 wickets to win the Ashes – this was something I really wanted to witness and I was very much hoping that England could finish the job in time to allow me to watch the football. They didn’t disappoint. The Australian batsmen, clearly aware of my wish, thoughtfully collapsed, handing England The Ashes urn and allowing me to watch Leeds.
Leeds looked good – much, much, much better than 12 months ago under Mr. Hockaday (although they couldn’t have been much worse). I loved the look of one of the new signings, Stuart Dalllas. No doubt this won’t last and he’ll turn out to be shite, get injured or be sold. I didn’t get to watch all the game, as we left early for Bath City. When the telly went off, the score line was 0-0. Five minutes later, while waiting at the traffic lights outside the hospital, the in-car radio announced that Leeds had scored. I tried to contain my excitement, as I didn’t want Claire to crash the car. A few minutes later, while driving across Windsor Bridge, I found out that Leeds had conceded. I tried to contain my anger, as I didn’t want Claire to crash the car.
My second football match of the day was at Bath City. The opponents – Wealdstone. Yes, that’s right, the team of The Raider. “You’ve got not fans” “What a shit hole” “You want some?” etc… I met him once, don’t you know? It was a game of two sets of defenders – or lack of them. Both teams attacked very well, but the defence was just awful. Our new goalkeeper, Steve Phillips (who had a very good game), is going to have a busy season. Luckily City did what Leeds could not and won the game, leaving all the home fans happy and the Raider to only dream of what might have been, before going home to kick the cat.
I returned to work on Thursday, after almost four weeks off. By lunchtime, it was like I hadn’t been away at all. Despite me saying that I had remembered all my passwords, I simply could not log onto my email. It wouldn’t take my logon details at all! Admittedly, I do think it was my fault – I stupidly checked my email while at home and changed my password at the time; therefore forgetting it on my return to the office. However, I prefer to blame the ‘single sign on’ software, which is supposed to store your details – instead it kept banging in an incorrect password into Outlook, and therefore locking me out.
When I haven’t been at work, I have been spending my time, sitting on my bum, watching England struggle against Australia at the cricket. England won the first test while Claire and I were away on honeymoon, but since our return, normal service has resumed and they have become rubbish. I’m watching it right now – it’s awful. I do hope the Aussies are wearing condoms, as the England players will need protection while they’re getting fucked by them.
I was torn away from the television and sofa last night, as my Mum was celebrating her 60th birthday and was hosting a party for her family friends. I brought my new wife and we both thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Claire especially enjoyed the homemade sangria – almost as much as she liked my reaction to trying the sharp, strong beverage for the very first time. She videoed my facial expression, so expect it to go viral on the internet, should it ever find its way onto YouTube.
I awoke this morning to the sad news that the Australian cricketer, Phillip Hughes, had died, following being struck on the head by a cricket ball, during a match earlier this week.
I don’t claim to be a massive cricket fan and have only been to one match, when Somerset played Middlesex in Bath a few years ago. During that match, Hughes opened the batting for Middlesex, so I find it even more harrowing that I have seen him play live.
It must be an awful time for his family and friends. Like everyone else who has heard this awful story, my thoughts are with them, along with Sean Abbott, who bowled the fatal delivery – it must be truly devastating for him and I hope that he one day recovers from the mental trauma.
It is a tragic coincidence that Hughes passed away on the anniversary of the death of retired-footballer, Gary Speed, who took his own life 3 years ago.
I’ve been following a lot of the Ashes series this past fortnight. When I say ‘a lot’, I spent the last two weekends watching non-stop cricket on my iPad. I did little else. I am not normally a huge cricket fan. I’ll watch the odd England international and have seen Somerset play during one of their annual visits to Bath. I’m no David Lloyd.
While my knowledge of cricket is similar to that of Gareth Southgate’s understanding of football (i.e. I know nothing), I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Australia suffer at the hands of Ian Bell and the rest of the England team.
I do like the difference between how football and cricket players conduct themselves in post-match interviews. Your typical professional footballer will scratch the bag of his ear nervously, using the words “you know” a thousand times before hastily leaving the interview to commit some form of adultery. Whereas your England cricket player will be polite, confident and gracious throughout. When his questions have all been answered, he’ll go to a local orphanage and read children a bedtime story.
Even off the field they’re different. I loved how Graeme Swann got arrested for drink driving in the most middle-class way possible. After a dinner party, where he drank a few glasses of wine, he arrived home (by taxi), to find his wife’s kitten trapped under the floorboards of their home. In a scene fit for a BBC sitcom, Swann is forced to drive to Asda in the middle of the night, to buy screwdrivers to get the cat out. A decent chap is Swann, who was found not guilty, and rightly so.
How does your typical footballer get charged with drink driving? No doubt in his Bentley, speeding down a motorway at 120 mph, after he has spent an evening at a nightclub drinking excessively. Probably with prostitutes. They too would be found not guilty, but that is because our legal system is fucked.
Top-flight footballers are generally twats, whereas crickets are role models.
Despite my love of football and interest in cricket, I’m not really the sporting type. However, during my school days, cricket was the only sport I chose to play – as opposed to other sporting activities, which were forced upon me during PE. I always thought I was pretty good. In reality, I was probably rubbish and the people I played with were just being nice to me, or equally poor.
Watching the cricket this weekend did make me wonder though. Maybe I was good at it. What would have happened if I had carried on with the sport, instead of retiring at the ripe old age of 9? I could have been Joe Root.
There is always a way I can resurrect my cricket career. I may not be as good now as I was during my school days, but if I can find a distant relative who is an Aussie convict, I think I could get myself into the Australian cricket team in time for the third Ashes test next month.
Staying up until the early hours of the morning was certainly worth it, as Simon and I witnessed a moment of cricket history as England beat Australia to secure a 3-1 series victory and retain The Ashes.
The last time England won Down Under, I was a very young child and probably did not know cricket existed. I was certainly unable to appreciate the feat.
After all the shit sandwiches the England football team have served up to their country in recent years, it is marvellous to have such a wonderful national team.
Well done England. The old rival has been destroyed. Now to become the best team in the world.
On this website, you’ll find me blogging (almost) daily about everyday life, living in Bath, working with computers, and the occasional bit of football stuff thrown in.
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