5 Lessons Learned

What’s the worst sound imaginable in a classroom? The sound of tumbleweed circulating through my students brains? A vibrating phone breaking the concentration? The whining shrill of that kid whose voice is yet to break? No, nope and nearly. It’s this (sound of long fingernails scratching on a blackboard). Got your attention? Good. Now if you concentrate we can whizz through this week’s lessons learned and some economics, gardening, sex education and more.

1) Sex Education

Scotland lost their virginity this week. Not with Sally in a back alley or Paul in a shopping mall. No. For the first time in their cricket history, they beat England. In a glorious, long lasting day to remember they finally popped the cherry. And didn’t they go at it hard. In banging 371-5, Scotland reached their highest ever ODI score, climaxing with Calum MacLeod’s glorious 140*.

This was an England side that had lost just once in ten series. A team on the back of screwing over the Aussies and the Kiwi’s; consequently they are top of the pile in ICC rankings. (Don’t say that with a lisp!) They’ll be rammed in the ass though if they continue bowling like this. Wood, Plunkett, Rashid and Willey were all spanked for over 70 from their ten overs. Kyle Coetzer made the first move, scoring heavily in the powerplay, before MacLeod came in and swept the crowd off their feet. Considering he plies his trade all the way down in the Kent leagues, this was a coming of age performance for Calum. Yes, England bowled slightly too wide but the way he commanded the crease was impressive, sweeping with efficiency, hammering balls into the pavilion and gently glancing off his hips.

If they’d chased 371 it would’ve been England who were breathless with ecstasy. Despite Bairstow’s best attempts though, they came up short. By just 6 runs. Losing 5-56 it was the middle order who suffered from collapstile dysfunction. Hence the scenes when England lost their final wicket were akin to orgies in ancient times. Players and crowd alike could not contain their excitement at this joyous occasion. Especially as it’s the first time a side ranked one in the world has lost to an Associate team.

England flopped like a Willey; Scotland climaxed screaming, ‘They may take our lives, but they’ll never take OUR FREEDOM!’

2) Economics

Okay enough sexy chat. It’s time to get back to business; proper business not the business which ‘The Flying Conchords’ sing about. This business makes the world go round, it’s always funny according to Abba and it NEVER buys you happiness. It’s money, money, money.

This week it was announced that the England Women’s national team are set to have their salary doubled by 2021. In a move which has shocked all, not least because the ECB is full of middle aged men who have never done a day’s ironing in their lives, England’s elite players will be paid twice as much. Already since February, 10 of the contracted 22 have had their wages increased by 50%. With a bonus pot introduced for series wins and the new ‘100 Tournament’ set to increase expenditure, players such as Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole suddenly have the chance to purchase that new car they’ve always desired. And they especially deserve it.

Let’s not forget this side won the World Cup last year. Can you imagine how many boxing lessons Ben Stokes could pay for, were the blokes to lift the 2019 trophy? Enough to win a few fights in Bristol that’s for sure. The England ladies are in the midst of inspiring a new generation to watch, play and commentate on the game. Most of all it is particularly apt on the 100th anniversary of women first achieving the vote they are finally being taken seriously. Now we’ve got to hope they can kick on, starting with overcoming a 1-0 series loss against South Africa.

Who runs the cricket world? Boys.

But I’ll tell you what, wouldn’t it be great if in ten years’ time it’s girls too?

3) Gardening

Proper cricket was back this week with the return of the County Championship. Under clear blue skies spectators had the opportunity to enjoy the traditional format. Unless of course you’re a Lancashire member. In which case you pray for rain. After an appalling one day campaign, the Red Rose were back in action against champions Essex.

Of course when we say back in action, we mean back in the hutch because just an hour into the first days play Lancs were 40-5. At the start of the season I wrote an eloquent piece extolling the virtues of the Lancashire top order. Just as well I put a caveat in about them being prone to collapsing because that is literally what happens every week. Otherwise nobody would take my opinions seriously would they? (Editor – you want people to take you seriously? You ‘seriously’ need to write sensible articles then mate.)

Poor old Haseeb Hameed. After being dropped, Has was restored due to a couple of decent knocks in the second eleven. Like a sunflower arching tall, it was hoped Hameed was about to find that freshly cut lawn form of 2016. Optimistic at best. Scores of 5 and 4, mean his season average is 5.68; so Hameed had no chance.

In fact none of the Lancashire batsman did. As a result in their second innings they collapsed to 29-6. Jamie Porter in blooming form; accurate bowling with 5-30. Since Essex were promoted Porter takes his wickets at a staggering 19.02, which surely puts him on the cusp of England.

The petals from the Red Rose are falling with all the doom of the Beast’s in Disney.  Lancashire must grow to love county cricket again, otherwise they’ll be relegated and trapped in division two forever.

4) Board Games

I hope you aren’t bored of me just yet. Ha. Get it? Just playing games with you class. Somebody who was playing games with Hampshire was Surrey’s debutant Morne Morkel. In securing his services over the next two years, Surrey may have found the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Morkel was devastating, helping bowl out Hampshire in two sessions.

Up against compatriot Dale Steyn, Morkel led the Surrey attack which humbled Hampshire to 137 and  175, meaning a win by an innings and 58 runs. All inside three days.  Which coincidentally is the longest every Ludo game. Maybe; or I might have made that up for artistic purposes. Rory Burns certainly painted with smooth bat work in the Surrey innings, colourfully reaching 151 and was top of the ladder. In comparison Mark Stoneman slid down the snake landing squarely on 0.

A side who rolled the dice, landing on 6 every time was Durham who have had a brilliant couple of county games. Before the One-Day Cup they won after following on and, in a startling comeback against Derbyshire they proved their mettle again. Making just 96 in their first innings, the northern lads were 109 behind. That was until Gareth Harte’s 114 pushed them onto 376 and Derbyshire needed 267 for victory. Checkmate was assured by old campaigner Chris Rushworth who moved the ball diagonally, backwards, forwards, sideways and the weird ‘L’ shape a knight is allowed. Durham triumphed by 95 runs.

With six games down, the halfway stage is approaching. Seems like Somerset and Surrey have hit the purple patch of Mayfair, whilst Worcestershire need to roll double to get out of jail. In Division Two, Warwickshire are close to solving the murder, compared to Northants who have been whacked over the head with a candlestick.

5) Media Studies

The final lesson of the day class, is on how foreign cricketers decide which English county to play for. It’s a question we’ve always wondered. Is it down to the meteorological conditions of the county? Perhaps the size of the ground? Maybe if they have a few mates who play there? Oh no, it’s far simpler than that. Aussie Usman Khawaja has revealed the reason he decided to play for Glamorgan was because… he loves ‘Gavin and Stacey.’ So a big, big fan.

Apparently Usman or Us-a-lar as I’m sure he’ll be known, was first introduced to Gav, Stace, Smithy and the rest by his missus, Nessa. No I’m only joking Gav, she’s called Rachel. It means hill in Welsh. Khawaja was initially signed by the dragons merely for the Blast but due to Shaun Marsh being called into the Australian ODI side, he’s already made the short flight from down under to Barry Island. And he loves it! I mean even a country full of sheep and annoying accents is better than a country full of cheaters and criminals.

Plus there’s so much for Usman and Rachel to do on his days off. They can visit the bus stop where Gavin proposed, work out in Bryn’s talk of the street gym and even undertake a crystal ball reading at Nessa and Dave’s caravan. Also there’s the funfair! It will be lush.

There we go then, another week of lessons all tied up for you. Your homework is to read the Kama Sutra, plant a tree in the garden and become a grand wizard at chess. So piss. You’ve got enough hands to do two of those at once. Now I’m off to visit a man about a pint. Class dismissed!