The Bracegirdle Blog:
All Eyes On The Championship

Featured News | 14th August 2012

So the Olympics are over and the footie has started again – sure signs that our season is drawing to a close.

It will certainly be remembered for the bad weather – with more matches disrupted than ever before, especially in club cricket, where covers and drainage facilities haven’t coped with the deluge.

What else will we remember the 2012 season for? It’s still difficult to say with any certain as the optimist in me still believes we will come up on the rails and pinch the Edgbaston-bound county championship from under the Bears’ noses.

Realistically, it’s looking less and less likely but you never know – stranger things have happened.

I’ve just come back from a few days away watching the lads in South Wales and Somerset.

The CB40 match at Swansea last Sunday was another example of Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis contriving to work against the Outlaws, who I’m sure would have won if the rain hadn’t intervened midway through our innings.

To add to the general feeling of ‘being hard done by’ I also felt that it was a day when we certainly didn’t get the rub of the green when it came to some of the decisions. That is cricket though, isn’t it?

I’d always wanted to visit the St Helen’s Ground, the scene, of course, of Sobers’ swashbuckling act in 1968. But for a variety of reasons, I’d never visited before, so enjoyed the new surroundings.

The ground had a certain charm, providing a view of the sea from one end, whilst also enabling some of the patrons to sit around the boundary edge in deckchairs.

Some others elected to watch from the many bars around the place and I’m afraid they were nicely ‘topped up’ by the end of the afternoon and rather let themselves down.

Personally I find nothing more invigorating than a Welsh choir and nothing more boorish than a foul-mouthed crowd of drunks, chanting obscenities. We had one but not the other at Swansea.

Another thing that I couldn’t quite get my head around was a collection bucket going around for Robert Croft.

I like Crofty, I must admit - and he has been a fantastic servant to the game over a very lengthy career. I have interviewed him a couple of times and found him very engaging.

The official match programme for Sunday’s game had details of a Benefit Dinner for him, with tables available at £2000 for ten people.

That is very much the going rate these days for our leading sportsfolk.

What I did find unusual was this Tupperware bucket going round the crowd with spectators lobbing in a few pence here and there (much more in some cases – and yes, I did contribute!).

It didn’t seem to completely correlate that a ground sweep of thirty or forty quid (my estimate) would make that much difference to a former international sportsman. Perhaps I’ve got it wrong though!

The rain accompanied me around the Bristol Channel from Swansea to Taunton ahead of our championship fixture.

I must say I was delighted to hear that Graeme Swann was available – and then the good news that James Taylor could play also. Many congratulations to our latest Test debutant – the first of a century of caps, I’ve no doubt.

Again, the match was ruined by the rain and we came out on the wrong end of an important toss – as well as picking up crucial injuries as well.

A further defeat in the CB40 match – effectively ending our qualification hopes – has left everyone down in the dumps but – and I’ll refer you back to an earlier paragraph – I still remain optimistic that we can end the season on a high.

Get behind the boys – they are desperate to regain the winning feeling – and you just never know what might happen.

Finally, after a couple of years of pooh-poohing social media, I’ve joined the twitterati and now seem to be even more closely attached to my laptop than ever before.

If you want to share your thoughts or get updates from the matches, I’m on @bracecricket

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