It is mid-season and I have watched a limited amount of NCU cricket and even less on TV, but my attention has been drawn, by several people, to the number of batters who excessively and compulsively  use the studs on their boots to plough a furrow on, behind and in front of the popping crease, to mark their guard.    

What a mess ensues after up to twenty two batters have all had a go at this ritual. As so  often in our game, it comes from the top down.    

I watched the start of 1st. Ashes Test, and gave up counting, after Oz opener David Warner`s persistent excavating on a virgin pitch reached double figures – and all before the first ball was bowled.    

And it does not end there. If a batter is in for a time he/she will check with the umpire and excavate further and deeper! One wonders what is the purpose of this?    

In the modern game, the lateral movement of the striker is quite marked as he/she takes up weird positions in order to attempt to play these modern strokes (if that is indeed the word).  

It begs the question, why is a guard required at all? Oh, for the old days when West Indian cricketers came in large numbers to play County cricket. They brought their islands` culture of asking the umpire for their chosen guard then took a bail from the stumps and hammered the long spigot into the spot with the top of their bat handle, leaving a neat round hole on the popping crease marking - Happy days!      

A campaign should be started to end this destructive desecration of our club pitches, before our local volunteer groundstaff vote with their feet and quit the job.


I have to say that I miss the old CricketEurope Readers` Forum.

Yes, there was some nonsense most of which could be filtered out, but also  there were lots of interesting discussions and debate.    

For example :- Johnny Bairstow`s self inflicted stumping.   

Or an Under 15 Interpro where a team was beaten by over 500 runs. Will the defeated youngsters resolve to get better at the game, or will they just give up playing? 

A challenging situation for the coaches.  

Was there really a 46-ball over in a local NCU fixture? One for the Guinness book of records or Wisden annual.

A cricket quiz question:- Why are the pitch markings called `creases`, and why is the line that delineates the batter`s ground called the popping crease?

The first all correct answer just might get a prize from our Editor.