The Bickerstaffe Record
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Cricketblog XI, 2009

09.17.09 | 7 Comments

In honour of an Ashes winning summer, we present the Cricketblog XI for the summer of 2009. 

It’s been a fine summer’s blogging as well as cricket, and the players selected have done themselves proud with a mixture of solid defence, incisive hitting when needed, stout keeping, athletic fielding and penetrative bowling.  All but three of the players are lefties, perhaps unsurprisingly.

 1) Bob Piper

A decent, solid opener, some people suggest Bob is past his best, but apart from when he’s out injured and resting up in Spain or Cuba or somewhere, he remains dependable, and one you can rely on to take the fight to the opposition early doors.  Great in the dressing room, especially with his detailed knowledge of how to get the drinks in, and still very popular with the fans.

 2) Matthew Cain

In many ways the chalk to Bob’s cheese as opening partner.  A youngster, and new to the team this year, Matthew’s been a quiet accumulator, just getting on with the business.  Quietly respected in the dressing room for his organisational abilities, and has played the odd hefty innings.  Generally something of a rightie and a tadge conservative in his approach to the game, he has been known to switch hit when the need has been there.

 3) Duncan Weldon

Great first season for the lad.   Some really solid innings. Nothing flash, but will always compile carefullly and can generally be expected to put the bad ball away – a very important feature in a summer dominated by an hostile but erratic opposition attack.

4) Though Cowards Flinch (capt.)

The undoubted star of the team, TCF has a really well-developed approach to the game, and such is the talent that it’s often felt recently as though you’ve got two players in one. 

With some brilliant, often unorthodox attacking strokes, TCF compiles scores quickly but can also bat for long periods.  Leads by example, but is also a great strategic thinker, flexible enough to get all the team round him, but keep them all heading in the same direction. 

Any weaknesses that are in the team are in no way as a result of TCF’s super leadership, but by a tendency in the team not to listen properly and be swayed by what the papers say about the need to appeal to an audience that’s not reflective of the real needs of the game. 

A great summer for the lad, and with many more fine seasons to come.  Could well be one of the all time greats.

 5) Tom Harris

Still, after all this time, a surprise inclusion in the team, and certainly controversial.  The only genuine out and out rightie in the side, this player’s technique is all over the place, with terrible defence and a particular tendency to fall over in his stance even further to the right when the crowd gets to him.  Tries the occasional spin, but is rubbish at that too.

 So why put him in the team at all?   Well,  the official psychology team line is that, despite consistently poor performances and the fact that he’s very bad for team morale in many ways, he at least makes the rest of the team look good, and that’s no bad thing.  In addition, he pulls in the punters and increases overall sponsorship.   The other more radical line fast gaining credence is that his inclusion is symptomatic of the systemic corruption within the game, and that he may well be rooted out through team management changes this winter.

 6) Hopi Sen (wicketkeeper)

Another rightie, though more orthodox and dependable than Harris, Hopi’s great strength is his dependability and loyalty.  A safe pair of hands, he can always be trusted to try and defend even a small total with vigour, often spending hours at the crease.  Can also turn his hand to spin when the chips are down.

 7) Penny Red

Unorthodox, often erratic as both batsman and bowler, though she clearly fancies herself as an all rounder.  A real crowd pleaser on her day, though she needs to work on getting technical substance into her game, behind the undoubted flair.  A real talent, though she needs to work at her game.

 8) Normblog

Or Mr Cricketblog, as many still call him.  Perhaps past his peak now, but his little dibbly dobblies have a subtle change of pace and can slide past the bat almost unnoticed.  Deceptively tricky. 

 Perhaps not the best team player nowadays, but in the team because his reputation alone can strike fear into the opposition. Needs to focus more on the opposition next season, and not get cantankerous with his own side.  

Needs to take on board comment from others – the game is advancing, and he has to move with it too or this season could be his last in the team.

 9) Chris Dillow

A mind bending, indeed mind expanding, spinner in the Shane Warne mould.  Not orthodox spin, but enough variation and hard-to-define substance to his deliveries to worry even the best batsman. 

Uses some unorthodox field positionings when bowling, and when batting has developed a useful ‘feint to the right, then move back left’ which fools the opposition time and again. 

A genuine talent revered by the purists but also appreciated by fans of the shorter version.

 10) Harpy Marx

 A genuine tearaway, no holds barred speed merchant.  Not that much subtlety but who needs that when she’s got in her armoury some of the vicious short pitched stuff he sent down at opposition star Purnell earlier this summer? 

 Every team needs an out and out attack bowler and ‘Louise’, as she’s affectionately known in the dressing room, is the one.  Never afraid to battle and take the fight to the opposition, even when the cause seems lost.

 11) Bickerstaffe Record

Clearly coming to the end of his career as a national team player, and will be focusing on club cricket and sponsorship opportunities from now on.  

Also interested in high paying public speaking engagements and off-the-cuff rambling article opportunities in the Polly Toynbee ‘money for old rope’ style , approaches with cash should be made to his agent, c/o Though Cowards Flinch. 

 Showed some decent glimpses of form in the early season, but tailed off badly, his mind apparently elsewhere.  Still rated amongst his peers, but a shadow of his former self despite the odd inswinger which takes the opposition off guard.

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