Andrew Dallimore stars as Marcellin goes 2-0

Marcellin’s 2009 carnival campaign has got off to a great start with good wins against Catholic College Canberra and Newman College (Perth) respectively. Old Boy player Andrew Dallimore was the star on the second day picking up three wickets in his 10 overs and then closing down what was until then a nervous run chase with a blistering 28 from 18 balls. Sending Newman into bat on a green North Bendigo Oval wicket, Marcellin bowled in the right areas, bowling them out for 105 in 42 overs. In reply, Marcellin applied the over cautious approach to the chase – giving Newman a look in. At 5-80, in the 32 over, with runs at a premium, Andrew Dallimore opened his shoulders – with two sixes and three fours to shut down the game. Marcellin plays Sacred Heart Auckland on Friday who are 1-1. More to follow

Bendigo Advertiser article - Marcellin streak rolls on

Newman College Perth's Michael Thacker is bowled by Marcellin's Nick Biscontin

Newman College Perth's Michael Thacker is bowled by Marcellin's Nick Biscontin

The Final Countdown

As I sit lazily by the pool, in my hotel in down-town London, soaking up the hot August northern Sun, (yesterday we cracked 23 degrees), I can’t help but laugh at those fools they call the English, as they crawl around town begging passers by for an answer as to how to win a series that they thought they had sewn up just two and a half weeks ago. The clowns had it made in the shade not so long ago with Freddie up and firing, their skipper making tons and Stuart Broad finishing his maths homework early so he could make the team bus with the big boys, rather than having his mother drop him off at the ground. However, much like the Germans of the 1940’s, it seems as though the Poms just can’t finish the job.

As we prepare for the last test, England has thrown up every name in the book to fill the gaping holes created by the Aussies in the fourth test. Names like Ramprakash, Key, Trott, Gower, Boycott, W.G Grace, the list goes on (even Stuart Law got a mention). Much like the Ashes series of ’74-75, Colin Cowdrey was the front runner to fill the vacant number three spot, only for the selectors to be devastated by the news he died nine years ago. Even after that development, they still only moved Cowdrey back to the ‘Possibles’ list.

Even more concerning was some of the bowling names that were thrown up. Pie chuckers like Sidebottom, Harmison and Onions are all fighting for one pace spot. Somehow, that dangerously tanned freak Swann is still sneaking his name onto the team sheet, and now they’ve brought Monty Panesar back into the squad. If they wanted a short, hairy bloke who doesn’t spin it much, John Dinneen was just a phone call away. And if they needed a scorer for the match he could have brought his lovely mother Joan. Bizarrely, one C. Cowdrey also made the short list of bowlers to bring into the squad, but with test figures of 119 balls bowled for no wickets at a cost of 104 runs, and the fact he’s lost a yard of pace due to his heart and lung injury, sanity eventually prevailed and he was omitted from the squad.

On a much more positive note the Aussie camp is as happy as it’s been all tour. People are smiling, laughing, playing well and everyone’s finally learnt Graham Manou’s name and what he’s doing here (don’t let anyone ever tell you name tags aren’t a great idea). Even Mitchell ‘Don’t mention my mother and girlfriend in the same sentence. Actually don’t mention either of them at all’ Johnson managed to pick up some wickets in the last test. Some past legends have also been welcomed in by the Australians to say hello, Allan Border, Merv Hughes, Mark Taylor, Scott Muller and Paul ‘Pistol’ Reifell have all stopped in for drink or a bite to eat. Unfortunately Steve Waugh was stopped at the door by Pete Siddle who spotted Tugga carrying a John Williamson album. Waugh was escorted quietly out of the team hotel.

With the team now playing well, despite the fact that the country’s leading all rounder has been reduced to mixing drinks for most of the day, it seems a certainty that the Aussies will walk away with a series win. The only dilemma is who will fill that eleventh spot in the team for the final test. The selectors have narrowed it to three, sadly they’re all New South Welshman, in Lee Clark and Hauritz. Frankly I reckon the Aussies would be better off playing with only ten. It will of course be a sad day when the test finishes also because it must surely be Mike Hussey’s final test. Seriously, how many failures can this Galah have, before someone mentions to him that he’s washed up and should depart gracefully, as he’s only embarrassing himself and his country by continuing on? In fact I left a note with words to that effect under his hotel door the other day, but the cleaner must have picked it up before Huss had a chance to read it as he keeps on turning up to training.

Anyway lads, hope your all enjoying pre-season training and the annual ‘Who can be the first to hit Veary in the head with a bouncer’ contest. Keep reading in the next few days for my in depth, no hold bars, no beg your pardons analysis of what will surely go down as a great series win for Australia.

Until then, Keep Swingin’ Lads.

Your Friend

The Ginger Assassin.

From the Ginger Assassin at Headingley

Hello again Eagles, this time from Headingley, as we all prepare for another five days of disappointment.

We’re three tests in with two to go and still no victories as yet for the Aussies in this Ashes series, or as it will forever be remembered , Umpire R. Koertzen Vs Australia.

Things aren’t going well over here, and if Ricky Ponting doesn’t get his act together, people are going to start calling Kim Hughes a successful captain. But seriously folks, back to Rudi, even he must acknowledge now after another string of horrible decisions that its time to slip out the back door and never be heard of again. There were at least three LBW decisions that even Crimmo would have given out. The whisper over here is that Rudi could soon find himself promoted to the elite panel that is ECA LOC 4 umpiring division where the main tasks are signalling Phil Spinella sixes and Jimmy Vear wides.

Australia has suffered due to horrible batting collapses in the first innings of the second and third tests, which doesn’t make a lick of sense when you examine the Poms bowling attack. Just look at these hacks we’re getting rolled by, Jimmy Anderson is a grown man who still calls himself Jimmy. Graeme Onions has a name that’ll bring you to tears and he looks the bloke from the Toyota footy moments ads. Stuart Broad has had to get a permission slip signed by his parents so he could leave school early to play in this series and Graeme Swann breaks my number one rule, ‘Never trust an Englishman with a tan!’ It just doesn’t make sense. Where would he be finding the necessary sunlight and heat to be able to develop that unhealthy glow? While playing for Tossershire or whatever cold  damp hole in the earth this show-pony plays for when not bowling gentle tweakers for his country? I think not. Get Phil Tufnell back. At least tuffers knew how awful he and his country were at cricket, and he was willing to have a laugh about it.

A bit closer to home and the Australian boys seem to have been struck by the injury bug, or as its better known in cricket circles “The Taits”. It seems like everyone’s got a case of “The Taits” at the moment, with Haddin and Manou both suffering hand injuries, Michael Clarke has a stomach strain and Brett Lee still covering up his impending forced retirement with a ‘side/chest/heart/lack of pace and penetration’ strain.

These alleged injuries are not the Australian way and scream “excuses!”, to cover a lack intestinal fortitude and courage in battle, the same lack of intestinal fortitude and courage shown by Australian selectors as they seem determined not to pick Australia’s number one red-headed all-rounder in what will surely turn out to be one of the greatest travesties in cricket, dare I say sporting history.

The greatest Australian captain of them all, Allan Border had no time for injuries and would be turning in his grave* if he was around to see the Aussies drop like the proverbial nine pin. Dean Jones almost died for his country in the famous Madras tied test of 1986. After batting for almost two days in 50 degree heat, Deano had reached about 180 not out when after constant vomiting and involuntary urinating while still fully padded up, he thought he’d mention to AB that he wasn’t feeling 100%. AB gently reminded him that he was here to represent his country and that he had better harden up or catch the next plane back to Tullamarine. Inspired by the great skipper’s words Deano went on to make 210 in one of the most inspiring innings known to man, then proceeded to pass out, almost die of dehydration and spend that night in one of Madras’ finest rat infested hospitals only to come back out the next day and take one of the all time great catches at cover. I can’t imagine Messrs Clarke or Haddin doing all that for their country. Then again, I can’t imagine Messrs Clarke or Haddin reaching 180.

Shane ‘What State should I play for this year’ Watson was a surprise selection for the third test narrowly beating out McDonald for the opening slot. Understandable though, when you’ve got a bloke who’s only fit 12 out of 365 days of the year you’ve gotta play him when you can provided it’s one of his 12 allotted fit days, and Venus is in a certain position in relation to El Nino, and whatever month it is happens to be has a ‘U’ in its title somewhere.

While we’re on the subject of blokes not pulling their weight, Mike Hussey is apparently operating on the Mark Taylor “We can’t drop him ‘cos he’s a really good bloke” rule. One century in the last 19 matches isn’t going to cut it in the MOCCC U14’s let alone the number one test team in the world (for the time being). If the Australian team needed a number four batsman who could often get starts then play a stupid shot to go out on, they would have called Nic Bortolotto up years ago.

Well only time will tell if the Aussies can square the series and then win it. If they can’t though, you can be guaranteed Brad Hodge will be sitting in a pub somewhere here in England with his Andrew Hilditch voodoo doll laughing and dribbling like the bitter and twisted old man that he has every right to one day become.

Keep Swingin Lads

Your Friend,

The Ginger Assassin

* At time of publication Allan Border’s death had neither been confirmed nor denied.

Punter’s selective backing, Watto learns from his mistakes

Okay, so we have an Australian team in transition. No problems. Good for the game and good for our collective souls. Beating England only feels good after you have lost to them once in a while. A bit like Collingwood or (insert hated opposition team name here) Flogging sides, even England, is just plain dull. Which brings me to this Ashes series. In a weird, masochistic sort of way, Lords was a great personal experience. Re-living my adolescent Ashes memories with my sons was more important to me than the result. Let me explain. In ’81, when I should have been studying my HSC, I opted for some late-night Ashes marathons instead. Willis and Botham destroying Australia at Headingly was perhaps the nadir of that experience. Can you believe that Lillee and Marsh won an outrageously small fortune by betting against Australia on that result – during the game? For our younger readers, it should be pointed out that Lillee and Marsh were also playing in the match. I am sure the Ashes cost me more than a few marks. History shows that England gained momentum from their famous win at Headingly and Australia could not stand it its way. For those whose memories of cricket stretch back as far as say Tubby Taylor, you are now experiencing the kind of disbelief I had way back in ’81 So last week, my son Peter (doing VCE) and I watched Mitch and co implode at Lords. Cocky Englishmen everywhere. Commentators, spectators, even neutral umpires all part of the conspiracy. It was a cathartic experience in a kind of way. Pete at least had the good sense to head to bed – which is probably just as well as he would have seen is old man throwing muffins (with Vegimite) at the tube.

So now, in between games, my attention turns to those other great sports, selection conspiracy theories, anti-Victorian bias and just for good measure, that old chestnut, the Art of Captaincy. Now I should say upfront (there is always a disclaimer) that I think that the Aussies should still prevail and that Lords was a once-off. (Come to think of it, I thought the same about Headingly too). Of course Punter will do enough to retain the treasured Urn. But in case we lose, I want to get this up now so as a statement of record. If we win, well it will not matter, and my opinion will be forgotten quicker than you can say Peter Roebuck.

Lets get back to some basics. Cricket is not about sport, winning or losing. Its about humility. One of the best qualities in any person. And cricket dishes it out lashings of it. Cocksure players get grounded as soon as they get ahead of themselves. That is why god invented Rudi Kurtzen for example. And speaking of god, like the West Indies before it, Australia has thumbed its nose at the cricketing gods for way too long. And those gods are not happy. They punished the West Indies big-time for their arrogance and I suspect they are about to do the same with Australia. But rather than cursing the Australian game with mediocre players like they did with the West Indies (strike anyone?), our pennance is going to be paid for through more discreet means, via Agents, and well placed media leaks – well you know what I mean. Lets look at the evidence.

Exhibit A: At a news conference last week Shane Watson declared he had the game to open the innings for Australia. Honestly Watto? At this stage, Phil Hughes had not been dropped (a check of his Twitter profile would have confirmed this), and so you had a bloke with little more than a few runs in a minor County game and no Shield cred, publicly undermining a young guy with bona fide credentials (two test tons in one game for starters) presumably with the blessing of the team management. Now I don’t have too many problems with the Watto selection as much as some people, but one thing is clear. Watto has learned from his mistakes. After toiling manfully in India, he willingly surrendered his spot to Symonds and had the good grace to let that sorry saga unfold minus any press conferences or grand statements, and simply bide his time. Unfortunately his generosity did not extend as far as Hughes. Probably the most ordinary moment in recent Australian cricket history. The fact that he got runs as an opener in the last test does NOT mitigate that effort.

Exhibit B: Prior to the coin toss before the first test, Stuey (I am fit and ready to go and expect to be on that Plane to the West Indies) McGill said that he had heard a ‘nasty’ rumor that Andrew McDonald might even be selected. Nasty? Wasn’t McDonald an integral member of a team that won three out of four games when he played? Two of which were live rubbers and defining games during this transition period! Ahhh,but what a difference a few months makes (especially for rehabilitating NSW fast bowlers) Fortunately Hoggy, in one of the great presence of mind moments in live Australian TV, put Stuey back in his place. When Watto bowled arguably three of the worst overs in change up bowling by an Australian, even Stuey’s mind may have been thinking about the merits of a medium pace ‘spot’ bowler holding up and end and working to English conditions. Now who for NSW can we pluck out of County cricket?

Exhibit C: Why does the Sheffield Shield exist? Not for the gate receipts (it costs more to count the money than the value of the currency itself), not for the live TV viewing audience (there isn’t one), not for friends and relatives (they don’t go either). It exists so that performing players can earn the right to play for their country. Sometimes that right is extended to potential (Warnie, Hughes, Healey -sorry Dimma, but it was stacked against you) which is okay. So the Vics dominate the entire Summer season in all three games. Fortunately they grab the only prize that matters. They do this without conceding a point. Good positive cricket justly rewarded. If Siddle is dropped, that would mean the best domestic team has how many players in the test team? Zero. Now I know that it is not that simple. Team v Individual etc, but really. At least pretend to pick a balanced squad for the Ashes (a reserve batsmen is usually a good idea). Instead we went for unfit, ageing backups with little cricket to back them up – sorry Brett IPL doesn’t count. If Mike Whitney can be plucked from minor county cricket to play test cricket, Chris Rogers can too. Another win for the AFL. Talented cricketers in Vic either have to go to other States or more likely take the footy option.

Exhibit D: Let’s call a spade a spade. Mitch should have been dropped after Lords. It’s no disgrace that you cannot master English conditions (Doug Walters ring a bell to anyone?), his bowling was D-grade rubbish. In that game, Ben H and Siddle are the only two fast bowling options. Siddle has to over compensate, expected to be both the strike and containing bowler all at the same time. Punter backs Mitch, Mitch bowls a few decent overs in the next test, and now Punter (and the Press Corps) are gunning for Siddle! Punter is showing that his backing of Marcus North to bowl at the death in Cardiff was no once off. Punter, why the selective backing? Why do the bowlers pay – how about Mike Hussey? In the first test, Siddle ended the test career of Ravi Bopara (he just doesn’t know it yet) in about 15 minutes. He put Swan back where he belonged, and when Freddie was helping himself off Watto in the last test, Siddle was giving Freddie some of his own back at the other end. I want a bloke like that in my team. Leave him in the side.

Exhibit E: Captaincy. Warnie, you blew it. You should be Captaining your country now. And Punter should be enjoying the accolades of being one of the greatest batsmen in history. Instead the ‘generous and fair minded’ English crowds acknowledge his considerable achievements with booing! Improve the body language Rick. Match your deeds with some inspiring moves, and even enjoy it for goodness sake. I watched Cameron White’s body language during the Australian Twenty 20 Comp last summer. He didn’t look like he wanted to be there. Here was the Captain of the best T20 side in the Country just begging to help Punter with his field placings, bowling change ups and the lot. But he was helpless. I suspect Cameron is not alone.

Go Aussies

Mira

Psssst…. The Ashes blog from the Ginger Assassin

Good Day to you fellow Eagles,

As we near the halfway point of another Ashes series, I’ve been assigned to a cold English summer full of warm beer and barely edible food, while you‘ve been subject to an Ashes winter full of rain delays, occasional cricket, and having to put up with Damien Martyn, stumbling and stuttering through his “expert” comments, as he did his overrated international career. All this aside, the one burning question remains as yet unanswered – Are Australia finally feeling the warm embrace of mediocrity, or are England the luckiest sons of guns this side of Mexico to be leading the series 1-0? Continue reading

Stephen Fry’s Lords Address

Thanks to former player Nick Bourke for sending us this gem. This is the address given by Stephen Fry in the Lord’s Long Room at the Official Match Dinner. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. It is an honour to stand before so many cricketing heroes from England and from Australia and at this, my favourite time of year. The time when that magical summer sound comes to our ears and gladdens our old hearts, the welcome sound of leather on Graham Swann.
Continue reading

Presentation night caps off great year

It was smiles all round as the club enjoyed its best attended presentation night in years.   No wonder given the outstanding achievements of the players – three grand final appearances and two flags. Club leaders Chubba, Julian & Phil enjoyed the spoils of a great season winning major awards, whilst Mick O’Brien received the President’s trophy for his outstanding contribution to the club. See the Pics