I’ve made it. Or at least I had done for a few hours on Wednesday. Why? I had my own parody Twitter account. I reached the highest heights of local cricket by joining Jacob Mulder, Andrew Cowden, and Kyle McCallan in ‘ownership’ of a fake online presence.
What an honour. I’m not sure I’ll be able to deal with the celebrity that comes with being ‘a name’ in NCU cricket, and especially all those awkward questions at the supermarket: ‘Can I take a selfie with you? When is your next public appearance? Are you going to pay for that Twix?’
For what it’s worth, I should tell the creators of the account (and they are probably reading this) that I don’t know much Latin, that by all useful measurements Fergus probably is the smarter brother, and that I have no strong opinion either way on my captain’s beard. I admit, for those of you who did not see the account, this paragraph will be nonsense.
I also think these tweeters missed the point. Why create a parody account to take the piss out of someone who has spent the last six weeks using this blog (and the paragraphs above) to take the piss out of himself?
There was a match last Friday night that was supposed to take place. It was between Ballymena and Waringstown in the Twenty20 Cup but it did not happen. Many rumours/‘facts’ are circulating about why this was the case. The chief rumour – that Ballymena could not raise a team – is untrue.
I will not say much more, because the matter is being discussed by the NCU’s Competitions Directorate tonight, but the confusion seems to have arisen because of series of non- and mis-communications. Nobody, not least Ballymena, has come out of the situation smelling of roses, but the reality and consequence of things should become clear over the next few days.
From Sunday to Tuesday I was in Downpatrick, commentating on the three-day match between the Knights and the Warriors. These were three (actually, four) long and tiring days, as reflected in the unfortunately crude – but now carefully edited – typos that crept in towards the end of play. During this sojourn in the Mournes, I learned a few things.
First, Rafael Cabrera-Bello has not earned much money on the European Tour this year because his caddy – obviously in the region to prepare for this week’s Irish Open – was staying in the same B&B that I was.
Second, there is neither a lot to do nor many places to eat in Downpatrick on Sunday evenings, so this must be why God invented Netflix. (I joke – I enjoyed myself and the club and its array of ladders did an excellent job in hosting the match.)
Third, no matter how much criticism was directed at Phil Simmons and the selectors over the past few years, Ireland’s international selection policy has been more or less justified by the 2015 interprovincials. I’ve now seen six days of cricket and, as a general rule, the best players so far have been established internationals (McBrine, Young, Thompson), retired or former internationals (Jones, White, Eaglestone), or the overseas players (van der Dussen, Vardhan).
There are certainly a few others who have ‘put up their hand’ (Shannon, Kidd, Kane, Richardson, and Coghlan come to mind), but the senior players – perhaps understandably – have been the ones to produce the commanding performances.
Fourth, watching cricket remains an unpopular activity in Ireland. The Downpatrick match took place on a Sunday, a Bank Holiday Monday, and then a Tuesday, but the ‘crowd’ never crept over thirty. At one stage on Tuesday, there were more representatives of CricketEurope than spectators; and I think we knew all of the spectators by name.
Fifth, we’re still not ‘used’ to multi-day cricket. I thought the North-West could have teed off after tea on the second day, declared earlier, and given themselves forty-five minutes to bowl at the Knights before stumps. I thought there were surprisingly few singles into gaps in the field throughout the match, probably because the seamers were bowling too wide and therefore allowing the batsmen to leave the ball too often. I thought that Craig Young looked like the only bowler who could in theory be relied upon to take a wicket with an old ball on a flat pitch in a hypothetical Test match in Bangladesh. I also thought that the standard of catching and fielding behind the stumps was fairly poor, probably because we are not used to such extensive cordons.
This is not criticism targeted at anyone in particular. I appreciate that these cricketers are much better than I am. I also played a dozen multi-day matches in England and I know how tough they are. But I think that such general observations prove the necessity of these longer matches.
Niall Morrissey’s recent post to the form contained CricketEurope’s second reference to Proust within a few days. What has become of us? Mr Morrissey conceded that it was ‘enormously pretentious’ of him to do so. Of course, I did no such thing; with me, it goes without saying.