Thursday, April 20, 2006

Testing times for cricket grounds

Sophia Gardens: 2009 Ashes Test Match venue

Rows broke out in the cricket world yesterday, however this is not the cricketing world of fishpaste sandwiches, linseed oil, different coloured pens for scoring and Bill Frindall but rather the cricketing world of commercialism, renewal and, dare I write it, forward thinking. I do dare, I just wrote it.
I am in favour of the ECBs decision. Let's not forget that despite having the acronym of ECB it is actually the English and Welsh Cricket Board. Giving Sophia Gardens Test Match status is encouraging the spread of cricket in Britain. In essence striking whilst the iron's hot after England's Ashes victory. That is not to say that Sophia Gardens is undeserving and that the decision is political, as seemingly implied by some of the defeated parties that pointed to the support of the Welsh Assembly and Cardiff County Council as insurmountable; as if the support garnered is something of which the Sophia Gardens project should be ashamed.
As a cricket fan who is not from Yorkshire or Lancashire, I am happy to see cricket move forward and tackle the traditional strongholds. Lancashire, the county that boasts Old Trafford - the defeated stadium, will bemoan that cricket is being taken from a stronghold, as if after creating Adam and Eve, God then decreed (on the 8th day just before the OC omnibus on E4) that until the death of history Old Trafford has a divine right to test match cricket.
There were also sour grapes going down nicely in Hampshire, where the excellent and much vaunted Rose Bowl stadium failed to get test match status. Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove magnaminoulsly declared: "The W [for Wales] in the ECB is silent, but it is very powerful" before adding; "I have to consider whether this is personal[...]The ECB don't like me[...] I showed the ECB plans to spend £35m to make the Rose Bowl one of the best grounds in the world, but they don't want my money.". Man, this guy's eating the grapes straight off the vine!
Other developments saw Durham's Chester-Le-Street get a West Indies test in 2007 and the revamped Headingley regaining 'A-status' by getting an Ashes test at the expense of Trent Bridge.
The fact remains test match cricket must be played at Lords, the spiritual mecca of the sport, and all the other stadiums must vie for the right to host the top matches.

Nothing to do with this post, but read this:

You've been blacklisted by local libraries! :-o

Well done!!!
It's astounding that Yorkshire has retained test status all this time, revamp or no revamp. And I say that as a Yorkshireman. It's a shit-hole and should be ripped down. The only reason YCC didn't move to Wakey is because of the ludicrous Leeds-centric bias (as opposed to Leeds-centric Byas - see what I did there?) of the YCC Board. Bloody disgrace.
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