Ooooh, I say, how splendiferous, a dollop of custard to laughin’ Poms
Those who allege that to love cricket suggests you must possess a name like Lord Montague Oxley-Spiffy-Farmington, who earned his title and wealth by eating Tipperary men, should bow their heads in sporting shame
England’s Alastair Cook and team-mates wait for the third umpire’s decision which gave England victory in the first Ashes Test.
“I’m sweating like a pig here,” said Andrew Strauss in his Trent Bridge commentary box at lunchtime yesterday, and while the temperatures were, indeed, quite tropical, his overheating was due more to events on the cricket field below him where England were doing their level best to help Australia make a test of it.
As Stephen Fry put it: “Oh my very actual complete and entire God: what a cricket match.”
It was a belter too, leaving those who scoff at the notion that test cricket, as opposed to that limited overs bash-a-rama stuff, can be splendiferous, and who allege that to love it suggests you must possess a name like Lord Montague Oxley-Spiffy-Farmington, who earned his title and wealth by eating Tipperary men, bowing their heads in sporting shame.
And as Uncle Montague put it yesterday, when the infra-red imaging system detected a Hot Spot on Brad Haddin’s bat: “Ooooh, I say!”
Very marvelous, was the test, not least teenager Ashton Agar’s first-innings of 98, when, as 11th man, the art of batting should have been a complete stranger to him. But as David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd noted, when the young fella swept another English bowler’s effort to the boundary, “he played that with a stick of rhubarb!”
No clue, at all. But still, splendid. A dollop of custard and you’d have been laughin’.
So, come lunchtime yesterday, Australia needed 20 runs, England just the one wicket, and not long after digesting their sangwidges Jimmy Anderson hot-spotted Haddin, the infra-red replays like something out of CSI.
Ooooh heck, did we see/hear a nick? We did. Haddin’s innings in Ashes. Test one to England. “Andrew how are you feeling,” asked David Gower.
“Bubble, bubble,” replied the pool, a lathered Ian Botham beside him no less relieved, or moist, Bumble unable to comment while he was lodged in the recovery position.
What was said to the English cricketers at lunchtime to inspire them towards that Hot Spot-producing moment? Well, you’d swear Ger Loughnane was in their dressing room having a word. Just substitute ‘Clare’ for Poms, and mission accomplished.
“What you have to remind them of is all of the people in Clare down through the years who have given so much to try and win this Munster championship and had come up short. You show them the jersey they wore, down through 140 years or whatever it was, it’s been handed down from year to year, now it’s on your back and you have the chance to create history.”
And all Michael Lyster had asked was how would you stir Limerick from their hurling slumber ahead of the Munster final, when Cork, of all people, were the opponents.
By the time Ger was done, Michael and his fellow Galwegian Cyril Farrell nigh on had the Limerick green flag wrapped around them, like the county was the one true love they’d ever known. And by then you figured out how Clare had triumphed under Ger.
Still, pre-match, Cyril had feared for the Limerick rearguard against Cork’s forwards who “are lovely touch hurlers, like ballerinas bouncing about the place”, and come half-time, despite his stirring pre-match words, Ger noted that Limerick’s fullback Richie McCarthy was “like the little Dutch man with his finger in the dyke”. But in the second half, Limerick were unplugged, washing the Rebels away, down the drain, like.
Riot-alert? “They’ll all share a few sangwidges,” said Cyril, suggesting everyone should chill, not an easy task, mind, when the nation was collectively sweating like a pig.
As Stephen Fry might have put it if he was a Limerick man: “Oh my very actual complete and entire God: what a hurling match.” If Stephen Fry was a Cork man: “Where I sported and play’d, ‘neath each green leafy shade, see you Sunday week Cats, and watch out for the Hot Spots, like.”