TV View: Australian cricket in need of Granny Furlong’s divine intervention

Blatant ball-tampering leaves Aussies’ reputation as low as spirits of Oxford rowers

After the weekend that was in it you couldn’t but conclude that Australian cricket and Oxford rowing could do with some help from Granny Furlong, both now in a state of chassis after experiences they would very much like to forget.

It was when Tadhg Furlong and the big smiley head on him appeared on the Late Late Show that he told us about his Wexford Granny and the role she had played in the Grand Slam-winning effort.

“She always has the Lourdes candle lighting beside the telly and for every scrum she has the holy water out and she’s throwing it at the telly,” he said, his Granny evidently as big a ledge as himself.

So when Ball-tampering-gate exploded you figured that Australian cricket could do with Granny's divine intervention to restore its reputation, Cameron Bancroft confessing that he had used sticky tape to fiddle with the ball during the Test against South Africa, and then shoved it down the front of his trousers so the umpires wouldn't find it if they made him turn out his pockets.

"Because obviously nobody's going to have a look down there to see what's going on," as Sky's Charles Colvile explained to us.

(While more sober papers opted for the 'It's Just Not Cricket' headline, the NT News [Northern Territory] chose: 'Cricket's Darkest Day: Why I've Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky').

"This is a pretty pickle," Charles said to Bob Willis, and the latter didn't disagree. But he spoke for us all when he wondered out loud how on earth Cameron thought he'd get away with it.

“This is like a shoplifter going in to a supermarket where there are 36 CCTV cameras and pinching something off the shelf and putting it in his pocket – how did he possibly believe he wasn’t going to get caught?”

Over in Auckland, Mike Atherton and David 'Bumble' Lloyd, on Sky duty for England's Test against New Zealand, were aghast at the whole shady business, although Atherton was on a sticky enough wicket, having himself been caught ball tampering himself back when he was England captain. Or as he put it, "I was involved in an incident in 1994".

Bumble was mightily peeved about it all, but at least it took his mind off England’s Auckland efforts, notably their 58-all-out in the first innings, the only highlight the moment they brought on a reserve fielder. “Livingstone, I presume,” he said. It was too, Liam Livingstone.

Cricketing image

So if Australia have some work to do to repair their cricketing image, Oxford will have to dig a bit deep themselves to restore their Boat Race reputation after being beaten in all four races, by lengthy distances too. Although the BBC people tried to be kind, Jason Mohammad calling them "runners-up" rather than losers.

The women’s victory was way more emphatic, Cambridge’s performance en route to a seven-lengths triumph making you wonder if they were assisted by an outboard engine. Proud parents watched from the shore, although the ones whose daughter is 30 and is still doing a PhD in Plant Sciences would, you’d guess, like her to move on now and get a job.

No more than Oxford, the Irish football team has to do a little rebuilding too after that last campaign ended less than positively, and while they lost to Turkey on Friday there was general upbeatedness after the game thanks to the performance of Declan Rice. Or Damien Rice, as George Hamilton, Ronnie Whelan and Richard Dunne called him for much of the night.

"Give us an auld bar of The Blower's Daughter," Tony O'Donoghue mercifully didn't ask him when they chatted after the game.

A little later it was time for Tony to talk to Martin O’Neill, so the nation began throwing holy water at their tellies, before taking to their bomb shelters. But, well, it was all very civil.

“Thank you,” said TOD at its conclusion. “A pleasure,” said MON.

Cripes, maybe it is a new era in Irish football after all.