The Bracegirdle Blog:
Foot Loose & Fancy FreeĀ 

Comment and Analysis | 14th May 2011

Whenever I travel to far-flung exotic locations I like to immerse myself in the local culture – perhaps sample some dishes of the area, certainly have a go at the local brew and maybe even be brave enough to try my hand at mastering one or two simple phrases from wherever I happen to find myself.

Anyhow - enough of my trips to Derbyshire, this week it was down to Hove. Sadly the result and the sight of a couple more Notts players receiving injuries took much of the pleasure away.

Nevertheless a few days by the coast always blows the cobwebs away. I’ve travelled enough not to be surprised any more but I was a little taken aback after an evening stroll down the famous old pier.

Not only did virtually all of the shops and kiosks have signs saying ‘We take Euros’ but most of them also sold T-Shirts with the slogan ‘I Love London’ on the front. Excuse me, which part of the capital is Brighton now in?

"It seems a bit radical but there’s so much protective equipment in the game at the moment, maybe it should now be issued to the media!"

I’ve often referred to Robin Hood in my Nottinghamshire commentaries – well I can also reveal that his modern day ancestors now live down there. Parking costs should have been £23 per day – errrm, excuse me!

As it happened I was more than looked after by the splendid staff at the County Ground and readily handed over a couple of boxes of delicious French Fancies in appreciation for them allowing me to park my wheels there for the week. Thanks folks!

By sheer coincidence my reading material of choice over the last few days has been the brand new book out on a former Sussex captain.

Tony Greig by David Tossell is thoroughly recommended. The former England captain has received a bit of a poor wrap since he deserted the country that so readily accepted him, in favour of helping Kerry Packer set up World Series Cricket.

Totally engrossed in the content, it brought back memories of the gloriously hot summer of 1976 when Greig foolishly declared to the nation on the Sportsnight programme that he wanted to ‘make the West Indies grovel’.

The first Test that summer was at Trent Bridge and I was privileged to sit in front of the pavilion and watch every single ball of the gripping action.

I will never forget that match – Andy Roberts and Wayne Daniel’s hostile bowling – gritty defiance from David Steele and Brian Close – but above all else, the sheer majesty of Vivian Richards, who scored 232 – one of the best innings ever assembled at Trent Bridge. 

The scorecard of that match is worth re-visiting. 

Greig’s duck – following on from his pre-match comments – was greeted with utterly bewildering celebrations by the West Indies players and their noisy supporters.

A new film ‘Fire In Babylon’ has just been released at the cinema about that fearsome Windies side and I can’t wait to see it – but I’d also strongly advise you read Tossell’s book.

Talking of former West Indian captain’s, I love the story attributed to the late Jim Laker, who asked Everton Weeks how he came about his Christian name. “Because my father was a big fan of the football club,” came the reply.

Jim’s response was pure gold, “It’s a good job for you that he didn’t support West Bromwich Albion then!”

After I mentioned Edward Bevan’s near-miss last week, when he almost got wiped out when commentating on a match at Taunton, I was alerted to the fact that the story was being covered on ‘Have I Got News For You’. 

I must admit I thought for a second; “That could have been you kid!” 

No, I don’t mean having the mickey taken out of me by Ian Hislop and Paul Merton – I’m referring to the number of times that I’ve been a sitting target in a cricket ground and only a mighty swipe away from being hit. 

It seems a bit radical but there’s so much protective equipment in the game at the moment, maybe it should now be issued to the media!

Somehow I’ve strayed away from the subject (again) and my trip to Hove. One of the things I learnt about this week was the Sussex County Cricket Club’s crest. The six birds on it are ‘martlets’.

I’m told that the martlet was a mythical bird that had no feet. 

Surely with a line like that you’d excuse me for recycling one of the world’s oldest gags: “I used to go out with a girl with no feet - she was hopeless whenever we went dancing but she was handy in the kitchen because she could get nearer to the sink!”

I’ll get my coat.

Dave Bracegirdle provides ball-by-ball commentary on all of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship matches on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham.

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