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Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
12 May, 2018 12:48
First day back supporting the Middle – always a time for staking stock. How did others winter? Did the Beast from the East really mean we had a hard time of it?

More to the point, had my arraignment at Nottingham assizes for (1) worrying the sheep and (2) trying to make off with the womenfolk, and then, at Mansfield for Verb (1) but Object (2) and Verb (2) and Object (1), then at Grimsby Magistrates for taking and driving away a vehicle, then being found insensate in charge of said vehicle, come to anyone’s notice?

Probably only the last, from contesting the charge – said vehicle was a pogo stick of no ostensible ownership, as lying by the side of the road, and so neither a vehicle nor “taken and driven away”. One for m’learned friends. The stewards didn’t seem to care.

Lady next to me in the big red clubhouse wearing shiny black wellingtons with a heel. Lively speculation from the septuagenarians behind me if they went higher than the knee.
A shawl. Anoraks worn, and one flat cap. Glaws blazers are a bit jazzy !!!!

Gubbo and Robbo opened up in about as untroubled circumstances as I can recall. Sam played his drive through midwicket, his cover drive, and his pull / push through midwicket, all silky shots that glide the ball to the boundary.

There is an energy, an intent and cheerful intensity to the way Nick Gubbins plays. He exudes this quality. This is a man who opens the innings because he wants to start scoring and attacking as soon as possible. Nick was soon propelling the ball through extra cover to the Tavern side, through midwicket, and down through gulley up the hill. He and Sam ran a four down to the Allen Stand.

There was only one extra in our first wicket stand, a bye that swerved wickedly after pitching, to york second slip. It was a surprise when Sam was doing his little hurried walk off towards short leg in disgust with himself, as he had nicked one low to the keeper.

Eski got off the mark with a typically minimalist push drive up the hill through extra cover, but my visit downstairs ended in confusion to us both. A strange piped voice was talking about cricket to me in the gents, which rather set me back. It turned out to be BBC Radio London, describing a very athletic catch, compared to the one that Ollie Rayner had described as pushing round the left hand corner at Hove last game, for someone to run round and catch, that had got rid of Eski, I eventually worked out. He had progressed rapidly to his 31, and I found myself contrasting the industriousness that he now usually shows, compared to the first time I saw him, when with runs needed to set a target for Yeeeeeawwwksheeeeya, it was not until the filth fed him runs that he could get going.

Dawid always appears to have more time than others. There’s a block shot that he plays to a ball on leg stump that that stuns the ball right in front of him, which is about as hurried as he gets. The glide through the non existent gulley, the languid Gower – like caress through the covers, but a much more brutal pull to the Grand Stand were all unfurled, as was the precise bisection of wide mid – on and midwicket.

The ball occasionally beat the bat, but I prefer to say that in some of those cases, the bat beat itself. There was one very extravagant launch into a drive from Dawid in the second category.

But here, a note to Bowlers. If you let Nick Gubbins stay at the crease for a couple of hours, he is going to hurt you. He will seek to attack you, he will seek to take the initiative, he will put you through square leg. And drive you through cover. You need to slip a good ball, at him early; not when he is on 99. A fairly hearty and well supported appeal saw the slow raising of the finger, and off Nick had to go to a very thin glove to the keeper.

So, out came Eion Morgan, to muted boos from those above and behind me in the top tier. I felt they had a point. This column has excorciated him for his previous needless and thoughtless dismissals when wearing the Middlesex shirt. The trademark slash with the arms away from the body early on in an innings to the fielder placed exactly there for that shot – how long, oh, lord, how long .................., getting caught at leg slip reverse sweeping – you try that !!!!! Numerous reasonably promising innings with three or four down than having to be rebuilt because Morgan had turned one wicket, prised from us by the opposition, into a gratuitous second. When Barber was reported earlier this year as having hurt a hand of his, I was not that sorry, if it prevented further damage to our innings building.

He had been publicly announced as not being considered by Middlesex for four day cricket. He was poison. He was there on sufferance. He was a marked man. He knew it too. I’d told the feller on door duty in the clubhouse.

He got off the mark with a drive that just cleared mid off for four. Here we go ...... can he even help himself? I primed my bile and brimstone. Was it this time that I was going to hunt him down and give him a piece of my mind ...................... Not in front of the children, please..........

But lo. With his captain’s eye on him from the other end, the Cap’n appeared to be playing deliberately straight. Balls on the stumps received an almost exaggerated forward defensive, and only really loose stuff got the treatment. A drive back over the bowler hummed over the ropes at the Nursery End, and balls were lashed to the ropes through cover. For his first 15 runs he played exclusively in the “V”. The only later extravagance was to step away with his front foot, with the weight transferred to the back foot, so as to drive a ball from the spinner through cover point up the hill for four. He did not give a chance, and those strokes that I have detailed were about as loose and undisciplined as he got.

The floodlights were on for approximately the last 19 overs of play. To my eye, both Dawid and The Cap’n got balls that kept low. Thus, I think the old maxim of never judging a pitch until both sides have batted on it may apply, but equally, until both sides have bowled on it. It was a surprise when Gloucester beat the bat, their left arm spinner appears to be no more than 5’ 8” in height, and just fires it in. I believe we may face more menacing attacks this year.

However, Eion Morgan played a deliberately disciplined innings, greatly in contrast to what he has previously managed. Rehabilitation is as long a process as whatever took place to make the rehab necessary. I hope he can repeat this for us on numerous occasions this Summer. One swallow maketh not,........ and all that, but Sam and Gubbo’s good start followed by all subsequent batsmen getting going have put us in a very good position.

You’d take that, wouldn’t you.

I think we will look to only bat once, so push on today for 450 plus.

Re: Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
13 May, 2018 22:39
A great read PH,and was good to meet up again.
Did the pogostick get back in one piece?

Re: Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
Patsy_Hendren (IP Logged)
15 May, 2018 11:41
Thank you for your in interesting report Primrose Hillbilly.

The early season criticism of the batting has appeared to have made an impact.

Re: Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
16 May, 2018 21:04
Returned to me after examination by the Pathology (? !!!!! )lab, Beefy.

It returns a solid 55 - 65 mpg by specific gravity, so I will hope to interest bidders later in the season.

Re: Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
Patsy_Hendren (IP Logged)
16 May, 2018 23:14
Hopefully Morgan will re-establish himself in the middle-order following the championship break.

Re: Crime and Punishment / Does Ritual Humiliation and the Naughty Step Work? / Is The Captain Now Playing It Straight ?
Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
17 May, 2018 09:42
One swallow maketh not ......... Elias, one swallow maketh not......

We have noted his performance to date, and still have our eye on him.

He needs to find someone prepared to give him a pay cheque after the ODI mob have finished with him. Best way of doing that is to make himself useful to his sometime employer.

At least he's made it quite hard for Gus etc to drop him.

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