Monday, 18 June 2012

for Tom Maynard

Today I had an appointment with a lawyer to talk, among other things, about wills and sorting out the future. Something she said a couple of times was along the lines of, "Well, you're quite young but you never know when something might happen". And that was when I started crying again because those words have hit home so hard today.

Unless you've been hiding from the internet, you'll have seen the news. Surrey batsman Tom Maynard was killed early this morning in an accident on the Tube line. He was only 23. While there has been speculation about what went on, nobody will ever really know because nobody else was there. And, frankly, I don't care what happened. It won't make Tom's death any less of a tragedy. People who are willing to condemn a young man for a couple of acts of foolishness are beneath contempt. Tom was a bright young talent, a rising star for Surrey and - potentially - for England. He was also a really sweet guy, one of my Surrey boys who made going to the Oval such a thing of joy for me and MiniSurreyFan.

I spoke to Tom only last week, when MiniSurreyFan was the mascot for the t20. I saw him play yesterday against Kent. I wasn't even going to go to the game, but a good friend persuaded me to get out of the house and come. I'm so glad she did. Yesterday seems like a whole other world now.

I could write a tribute to Tom, look up all of his brilliant stats, find some quotes about him. But other people have done that already and far more coherently than I'll be able to manage through my tears. All I can say is that my heart goes out to his family - both his relatives and the Surrey squad.

And I'll miss you, Tom. I'll miss you. I want to say more, but I can't.

Fielding close up at Whitgift. LV v Essex 19th May 2011

Batting at Whitgift. LV v Essex 19th May 2011

Fielding on the boundary. t20 v Gloucs 2nd June 2011 

Batting at Whitgift. t20 v Sussex 4th July 2011
Quick snap with MiniSurreyFan after the game. Whitgift t20 v Sussex 4th July 2011
Warming up in the nets with the boys. t20 v Hants 8th July 2011
Surrey v Shahid Afrid t20 v Hants 8th July 2011. Maynard off strike...
...and on!

In the slips with Captain Rory Hamilton-Brown and Gareth Batty. LV v Kent 11th July 2011
Chatting with the team coming off the field. LV v Kent 11th July 2011

Batting in the freezing cold. LV v Sussex 5th April 2012. Sadly the only photo I have of him from this season. 

The Surrey flag at half mast above the Oval. Goodbye, Tom. xx

Tom Maynard: 25/3/1989 - 18/6/2012

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Your team sucks, so there!

As I write this, Surrey are staring down the barrel of "if we don't sort our batting out, we're looking at relegation". Out of 8 first-class matches this year, we have only won one - the first of the season, in fact, when it was so incredibly cold I'm surprised the fielders weren't wearing parkas and mittens. Of the remaining seven games, we have lost three, drawn three and had one abandoned due to the rain not even stopping long enough to have the toss. As Sod's Law would have it, we may well have been able to win that game, looking at how Durham have been struggling this season.

I touched on one of the losses a while back and I said then that Middlesex didn't win that game, Surrey lost it. My opinion on that hasn't changed. Surrey are suffering what England did during the winter. They have a lot of talented individuals and a huge amount of potential but they are not putting those things together into a working team unit. They still do not have a batting order which makes them happy - or which scores runs. They have failed to get a decent total in any first innings so far, so even when the batting does come together it's not gaining any points. And, though I hate to say it, we were lucky with a couple of the draws. There were times when winning them was in our grasp, but there were also times when a loss looked pretty possible too. I'd say we're about even in the "what could have been" stakes, to be honest.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Standing Tall in the Dark

This is not about cricket. 
This is about my demons. 

I'm aware that talking about such personal things on a public blog is potentially a very stupid thing to do. In some ways, it would be easier to let you lot into my house and hand out my bank details (I'm not going to do this). But you know what? I'm so fed up with being ashamed. I'm fed up with letting the demons get the upper hand. So maybe if I open the doors and shed some light on them, they will retreat into the shadows a little more. And even if my demons are hardier than that, maybe someone else will read this and it will help them to understand their demons - or those of someone they know - a little better.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The statistical relationship between cricket and pants

Warning: This blog entry is just a little bit Women's Magazine. There is cricket (obviously) but in relation to Other Girlie Stuff (not Icky Girlie Stuff, don't panic). Just so you know.

It may surprise people to hear this, but there is no direct correlation between the amount you know (or claim to know) about cricket and/or cricketers and the position of my underwear. No, really. The logical people reading this - and I do hope this means most, if not all, of my audience - will be saying, "Why on earth does she feel the need to mention this?" Some of you may feel slightly queasy at the thought of me sullying cricket with talk of my undergarments. I can only apologise. But being a single-and-attempting-to-date woman who openly loves cricket seems to have brought the idiots crawling out of the woodwork.

The main thing is this: women who are genuinely into cricket for the cricket are not going to be star-struck because a man claims his sister's doctor's uncle's dog once almost spilled Graeme Swann's pint in a beer garden.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Pitch Bitching

Reasons we did not win a cricket match:
  • It's the start of the season, we're out of practice.
  • The pitch was rubbish.
  • It's the end of the season, we're tired.
  • OMFG, left-arm spin!!!
  • The pitch was rubbish.
  • Sudden appearance of much-hyped Mystery Ball.
  • Star player is injured / resting / at IPL.
  • The pitch was rubbish.
  • Trott's fault (TM).
  • We lost the toss.
  • It was too hot / cold / windy / rainy.
  • The pitch was rubbish.

Is it a peculiarly English thing to blame the state of the pitch for the game not going your way? Or is it something that I notice more as coming from English sides because I tend to read more about cricket from my own country? Either way, it is something that I've noticed a lot.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The (Obvious) Way to My Heart

I've had the mickey taken out of me a few times on Test Match Sofa because I like Jade Dernbach. No, not in that way (although his car is rather lovely), but I do rate him as a player. A few people both on and off the Sofa think he's all hype and no substance, and doesn't deserve his England place. They're entitled to their opinions, obviously, and I'll accept that he's had a few off games... but who hasn't? Really, though, I think that the reason a lot of folk aren't keen on him is that he can come across as a bit arrogant on the pitch. The image is backed up rather by the blingy earrings and the tattoos. There seems to be a general opinion that Dernbach is a bit of a strutting tosser, in fact.

I met him on Thursday, and he really, really isn't.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Silly Lyrics Corner

County season is nearly upon us. Warm-up games have started. The weather is lulling us into a false sense of security and trying to convince us that maybe we won't be freezing our extremities off in the stands next week. The wiser among us are digging out our flasks and blankets just in case. And, with county season beginning, we can start our daily games of spot-the-Nando's-tweet. If you you follow any English county cricketers on Twitter, you'll know exactly what I mean.

So, in honour of the occasion, to the tune of Fernando by Abba...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

T*TS! Now that I've got your attention...

Hands up who watches a lot of women's cricket. Be honest. Now, lower your hand if you're somehow involved in the women's game; coach, player, statistician, whatever. Anyone left?

My hand isn't up, and that's not just because I'm typing at the moment. I watched a lot of cricket last year. It started with the England / Australia ODIs and the World Cup on TV. Then we had the county season where I took up residence in the stands at the Oval. I listened to the commentary on my computer at home. Sri Lanka series on the TV with a brief attempt to watch a day of the Test live (bloody rain). India tests on TV and a couple of glorious days at the Oval. More county stuff, more international stuff. Cricket all over the place.

Men's cricket, anyway.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Silly Lyrics Corner

One of my rather dubious talents is writing alternative lyrics to songs. It's not much use except for amusing people, hence me inflicting my works of genius* on the internet. This one has been posted before on a different blog, but it's my work so I thought I'd share it here.

Now, something that amuses me in cricket is the way that commentators (by necessity, unless you're listening to Test Match Sofa) hedge around saying exactly what's happened when a player gets a cricket ball to the groin area. "Upper inner thigh... if you know what I mean" appears to be a favourite. Being of the girlie persuasion, I can't really sympathise with the level of pain (and will resist my usual trump card of "Yeah? Well I've had a baby!") but I've seen how it quite literally brings batsmen to their knees. A special mention has to go to Kumar Sangakkara who, in the Test against England at Lord's last summer, executed a stunningly graceful collapse in the face of what must have been pure agony.

 * This is sarcasm, just in case you weren't sure.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stop putting grubby finger-marks on my cricket!

I do sometimes anthropomorphise cricket, as though the sport is a person with whom I'm still in the rose-tinted, grope-each-other-in-public phase of a relationship.* We have not yet reached the stage of "if you leave a wet towel on the bed ever ever again, I will stab you through the eye with a potato peeler" and I hope we never will. As such, I'm not keen on hearing the bad stuff about cricket and am tempted to put my fingers in my ears and sing if anyone says anything nasty. "Hey, you know that lovely bloke you just started seeing? Well, he slept with his ex-girlfriend's sister." La la la! I can't heaaaaaaar you! Actually, this analogy holds in two ways:

(1) I would be foolish to ignore that there are, potentially, signs that cricket is not as wonderful as I thought it was.
(2) I would be equally foolish to think that this meant cricket was rotten to the core and I should dump it immediately.

Friday, 9 March 2012

A woman? In the Pavilion?!

I'll tell you now that I didn't always love cricket. I describe myself as a recent passionate convert. Here's how it happened:

I was vaguely aware of Cricket hanging around at various points in my life, like that weird friend of your sibling who you'll say "hi" to but not actually meet his eye because then you'll inevitably have to have a Real Proper conversation with him. And that would be bad, because he's a bit odd, and you don't understand half of what he says, and Oh my god! What if that makes him think I like him? Eeeew!  So I ignored Cricket in quite a shifty way, despite other people assuring me that Cricket and I would get on really well if we got to know each other. I disagreed, claiming that Cricket was boring and insanely difficult to understand. Cricket continued to hang around in the background, unperturbed.

I tolerated Cricket over the years, went through phases of acceptance (Oh, Cricket's here again) and resentment (Is bloody Cricket here AGAIN??) and began to pick up bits and pieces about Cricket despite myself. Still, I maintained that we would never have a proper relationship because Cricket just Wasn't My Type.

Then, one day, it struck me that Cricket was, in fact, really lovely.