Sunday, April 30, 2006

More Cricket

Another Saturday, another game. Home to Potter Street, who are a good three divisions below us (the league starts next week), and in the end it showed. After a fast start, we collapsed somewhat at the end and were disappointed to finish with only 212. I'd scored five when their medium-pacer sent down a juicy long-hop - I rocked back to pull it, but the ball hardly got off the floor and I ended up stretching and gently looping it to extra-cover. Annoying - I always seem to get to balls that keep low, particularly when playing at home. We were playing league rules i.e. 45 overs a side, but they took an absolute age to get through theirs - by the time we had tea and went out to field, it was already well past 5:30. Good job we bowled them out for under a hundred, or we'd have been playing in the dark.

Three things I observed about the different standards of the sides. Most glaring and yet least decisive was the fast bowlers - we've got two genuine quickies, they only really had one seamer who got anything above gentle medium. The nature of the pitch meant that this gave them an advantage if anything - their openers used the pace to score well. The second difference was the depth of batting - we bat all the way down to about nine, they were into the youngsters and shufflers at six. The key difference was the fielding - now we're a very old side (at 35, I was the third youngest yesterday), but we're all competent fielders and we don't generally spill catches, and the only one we grassed yesterday was a sharp caught-and-bowled chance - in contrast, they put down several fairly regulation catches. Took one myself at deep mid-on.

Didn't bowl today, but after last week, I don't really care. For the first time in a long time, I'm actually enjoying the fielding now.

Resurrecting the Daleks

Watched last Saturday's Doctor Who episode with the kids on Wednesday - tried a little experiment afterwards. I put on the 1983 episode Resurrection of the Daleks from the Peter Davison era. Son number two lost interest and fell asleep, but the older lad was hooked. Strangely, he refers to the Ecclestone/Tennant era Daleks and TARDIS as 'old' and the archive stuff I'm showing to him as 'new' - which I suppose to him it is.

He got very agitated when the Doctor went back to the TARDIS halfway through episode two - "it can't be the end now, Turlough's on the ship". Think he's picked up on a pattern in the current series - the TARDIS generally only features at the start and end of each story. He got quite upset when I turned it off and sent him to bed before the end - but it's a four parter and three hours of Doctor Who is too much even for me these days.

Apart from this story, the only other episode I've got is Tom Baker's penultimate story, The Keeper of Traken. My brother has all the old videos - think I may have to borrow some.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Down and Up

Another disappointing defeat for the Villa last night, at home to a team who had lost their last six. A heavy defeat at Anfield on Saturday and we could still be heading into the final day with a real chance of relegation.

Despite my admiration for Arsene Wenger, it was the return of boring, boring Arsenal last night, as the Gooners ground out a 0-0 draw to see them through to their first Champions League final. Amazing to think that this is the first time a club from the biggest city on the continent has got to the final.

Splendid lunchtime drink with Mr IcedInk - see BlogRoll. First time I've met up with an e-aquaintance - felt a bit like meeting a mate you haven't seen for months.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

End of an Era

Grandstand finish as BBC blows the whistle

Sad, but to be brutally honest, I'm amazed it's taken this long. They've been scraping the bottom of the barrell for at least five years - apart from the Six Nations, the Beeb no longer have any competitions of note, apart from the odd FA Cup game, which they can't show during that slot anyway.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Soggy Snickers

Grey day at the Marathon yesterday - it's not quite the same when it rains, and that's twice in three years. Very disappointing. Only upside was we did actually manage to get served in the City Pride for a change.

Still aching today. Right shoulder is naturally most sore, but why are my stomach muscles complaining ?

I understand next weekend's Doctor Who sees the return of Sarah-Jane Smith and K9. Takes me back to when I was my sons' age - my earliest memories of the show are Liz Sladen partnering Jon Pertwee's doctor.

The England manager saga rolls on - thankfully Marlon Harewood hammered a sizeable nail into McClaren's chances yesterday. If they appoint any British candidate other than Martin O'Neill, I'll be very disappointed. Sadly, the fact that David Dein is on the selection panel probably rules out my preferred choice - they won't even be allowed to discuss Arsene Wenger, still less approach him.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Trials of Age

Oh my God, I ache this morning. Ten years ago, first cricket match of the season just meant a sore shoulder on Monday - by 10pm last night I could barely move or keep my eyes open. In the cold light of day - sore calves, hamstrings, sides, back, shoulders and even stomach muscles. Good job the Marathon means I get some early 'anaesthetic' this morning. Weather's disappointing, from a spectator's point of view at least - it's probably perfect for the runners.

Good game yesterday, the opposition declared on 188 and we squeezed home with one ball and three wickets to spare. I was 12 not out at the end, having gone out at number seven with 40 needed from 10, and I did a fair job during the run chase - I kept my end up while the guy who was set scored runs, and when he got out I took on the senior partner duties when the new batsman was struggling to lay bat on ball. Runs were not easy to come by - the pitch was slow and the bowling fairly tight - so I pushed the field back with a couple of controlled lofts over the top and then ran quick singles to the withdrawn men. Having said that, I reckon I was extremely lucky to survive an LBW shout to my first ball - hit me on the foot and it seemed a fairly straight ball to me. Still, he was the oppo's umpire, so no foul play - I do take a one leg guard, and I didn't really move my feet, so perhaps it was just missing leg stump.

My fielding was good, made a couple of really good stops - no catches came my way. Bowling was weird - I came on first change and the first two overs were good, getting heavy in-swing, albeit straight from the hand rather than the more dangerous late movement. But then a really weird thing happened - I loosened up, and my shoulder was fine - no pain or resistance - in a way it hasn't been in the five years I've been playing here. As a result, I completely lost my timing - I was releasing the ball either too early or too late, which meant either rank full tosses or pitching the ball near my toes. Embarrassingly, I got their opener out when he top edged a ball that bounced twice straight to mid-on. Not my finest ever wicket, but I'm off the mark for the season. I need to get in the gym and tighten up my now overly loose shoulder muscles, and somehow I have to get some bowling practice - re-model my action AGAIN for the new state of my shoulder, or at least get the timing right. Unfortunately, after next weekend I then can't play in May - on successive weekends I have a stag do in Madrid, a day at the Test Match, a wedding, and a business trip to Singapore. Not going to do my rhythm any good at all...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Something for the Weekend

We're nearing the end of April, and in the Infoholic household, that always means two things.

First cricket match of the season on Saturday - Mrs Infoholic is not overly impressed at taking first turn to do the teas. Reckon I'll give it a couple of games, but if my bowling shoulder goes again (which brought last season to a premature end in July), I may just have to give it up for good and take up golf or something. My batting's improved out of all recognition in the five years I've been playing at my present club, but bowling's the thing that gets me going, and if I can't do that to the standard I want, I'm better off just packing it in altogether. On balance, I suspect the three serious shoulder injuries in 1996, 1999 and 2005 have finished my seam bowling days for good, but I'm willing to give it one last try.

London Marathon on Sunday, and I shall once again be bringing son number one to Docklands to literally watch the world go by. The fact that the pubs open at 9am has no bearing on this whatsoever. Would like to bring son number two as well, as I think he's now old enough to enjoy it, but two small boys + large crowds + alcohol = disaster.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Negative Campaigning

I see Labour have taken off the gloves and given David Cameron the full cartoon treatment.

Surely the response is obvious - fight fire with satire. Lots of soundbites of 'Honest Tone', followed by the footage / newspaper headlines when he gets caught with his pants down - let's face it, from WMD to loans for peerages, there are plenty of examples. All set to Charles and Eddie's "Would I lie to you"...

Tony Blair and his awful cronies have brought me very close to the brink of the unthinkable. After a long period of reflection, I have come to realise that I have no alternative. I may, and I will stress 'may' here, have to consider doing that which I always vowed I would never do. Hateful though it may seem, and much as it pains me to say it...I'm thinking about voting Conservative.

Oh the shame...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rock This Joint

Lovely comment from Simon Briggs in an article about the England captain in the Telegraph today.

Vaughan's right knee is fast becoming the most talked-about joint since the one Bill Clinton didn't inhale.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


If I've been a bit quiet in the last few days, and continue to be so for the coming weeks, then apologies, but I've been playing Oblivion.

I'm not a heavy gamer these days, but I've played most of the best over the years, however this is just another level entirely. The graphics are nothing short of breathtaking, the gameplay is near flawless, and the storyline well thought out (if understandably a little derivative).

Son number two nearly met with a sticky end on Sunday, when he decided to nick off with my manual (which was open next to my keyboard) and give it a good soak in the bath. Mrs Infoholic rescued the day by pulling out the staples and hanging the pages one by one on the clothes horse, but it's now about two inches thick where it was half a centimetre ! Looks a lot more 'authentic' now though :-)

Panic on the streets of Birmingham

The next two Sunday lunchtimes are make-or-break for the Villa, as neighbours West Brom and Birmingham take turns to visit Villa Park.

Two wins and Villa are safe as houses, the fans will go home happy, and O'Leary survives to fight another day, and may even be in place come August.

Two draws will probably be enough to guarantee Premiership football for another year. There will be murmurings against the manager from the terraces, but no outright rebellion. O'Leary will almost certainly be dismissed at the end of the season.

Two defeats and not only are we in the shit, but we'll have re-energised our rivals' hopes, and there will probably be defeaning calls for the head of both manager and chairman, not to mention pitched battles on the streets of Aston and Witton - midday kick-off notwithstanding. Doug will panic and sack O'Leary to divert attention away from himself and the chaos.

I hate to disappoint any Portsmouth-supporting readers, but having seen how badly we are playing at the moment, I suspect a draw with the Baggies will be followed by defeat at the hand of the Blues.