Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Match of the Season

This weekend saw the first match of the new season for the Swinging Googlies Cricket Club and, as ever, I was looking forward to it. Breaking with Googlies tradition, I had been practicing through the week to try and improve my bowling. The type of bowling I attempt is wrist-spin and I tend to send them down with a fair bit of flight.

From a personal perspective, although not taking myself too seriously on the cricket field, I do want to better myself and so it was my ambition to actually be allowed to bowl this season.

It was around over 25 that Chris Judd, our captain, called on me to take over the bowling. I was naturally a tad nervous as one doesn't want to make an eejit out of one's self. I'll let Ron Googly's official match report take over from here:
And then, just for a short moment, time stopped still and a hush fell upon the park as Chris called up Tommo to send down a few.  Well, the words ‘revelation’ and ‘blimey guv’ come to mind as Tom transfixed all and sundry with his loopy spinners that he sent high into the sky and beguiled the poor batsmen who were distracted by having to wipe bits of volcanic ash out of their eyes.
Now, I know Tom was determined to find a bit of rough to pitch the ball into, but we did think he might be looking at something a little closer to home. One ball actually disappeared for a few minutes, which gave enough time for a quick drinks break before it came down again and apparently the local police received a record number of calls from people who thought they had spotted a UFO in the late afternoon Surbiton sky. But it was a devastating spell, which brought young Tom three wickets and tantalisingly leaves him on a hatrick ball. Marvellous. And so it was, finished off by Tommo’s deadly spell, the Wanderers were all out for a paltry 137.
I couldn't quite believe it myself. I didn't know whether to celebrate or just laugh myself to an early grave. Ron Googly sums up with:
Champagne moment was a toss up between three very good catches, but Chris gets the nod for his fine effort off Tommo’s Bowling. And of course a special mention to Tom for his virtuoso display of bowling that on another day might have netted him MOTM himself.
So, even though we lost the match - that top order and middle order and tail order collapse again - I can be glad of being the Googlies current leading wicket-taker and for getting an assist in the man of the match award. Nice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Election According to Ó Ceallaigh: Wish List

With the UK General Election date set for the 6th May, and all of the parties jostling for every last vote, the time is right for a bit of pre-Election dreaming. This dreaming takes the form of a list of demands directly addressed to the major political parties. Obviously, this is done on a ‘best fit’ principle and the party that best fits my demands wins my vote. Simple.
  1. The introduction of a Robin Hood tax. This would see the levying of a tax of around 0.05% on hedge funds, banks and other finance institutions that could be taken from profits et cetera, and redistributed to tackle poverty in the UK and abroad. Money could be spent on allowing many people from impoverished backgrounds in the UK receive free transportation or access to internet services.
  2. Government-sponsored scheme to allow teachers, medics and business/enterprise professionals to take a year’s sabbatical, with living costs subsidised, in order to assist in training programmes in the developing world. What many areas of the developing world needs is not aid or arms, but practical assistance that is often deprived of them by their governments.
  3. Extending the first time buyer and key worker benefits when buying houses in order to make the schemes more accessible. This could include schemes with houses being sold with 0% deposits and with the total cost of supposedly affordable housing capped to allow true affordability. It is only with a bold step that people can avoid their money evaporating through paying rent their whole lives.
  4. Encourage any foreign skilled workers to take up a position in the UK that makes the most of their training. It is an outrage that people that have trained as doctors, or who have a strong university education, are reduced to working as cleaners and traffic wardens. If there is a necessity for middle-skilled jobs to be filled, then the appropriate people should be prioritised by the Home Office.
  5. Too much of our food is being sourced from abroad at present. The UK should ensure that all British farmland is being used to the appropriate extent, regardless of EU quotas on such practices. Furthermore, trade with EU countries should not be prioritised over trade with non-EU countries. It is the responsibility of the UK to foster international links with Commonwealth countries to allow economic growth and to move away from EU protectionism.
It is worth noting that this is not necessarily what I think the future government of the UK should prioritise over any other issues, but rather is a representation of what I would personally like to see pushed forward.
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