|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
Paul Weaver in the Guardian muses over the biting-cold start to the English county season in Hove.
There was everything, in fact, apart from a small tent and the flag of Norway to inform us that Roald Amundsen, Scott's old adversary, had beaten us to it.
Known for their swagger, Surrey have only added to their reputation as the most glamorous of counties by signing Dermot O'Leary, the radio host and television presenter.
It is well documented that Surrey are in the market for a fourth-choice wicketkeeper but 5'8" O'Leary, whose previous major appearance at The Oval was a chat on Test Match Special, won't be donning the gloves but heading up a new media group to improve the county's work in the local community and their charity operations. O'Leary will also use his television glitz to raise the club's profile within London's media outlets.
"I am really excited to be getting involved at this fantastic club and hope we can really make a difference over the next few years," O'Leary said. "I am a huge sports fan and see The Oval as one of the leading venues in London and beyond. Although it regularly delivers world-class matches on an international stage, I am excited by its further potential and look forward to playing a part in its future development."
Surrey are yet to deny that a leg of the X-Factor Live! tour will be staged in Kennington and that Stacey Solomon - former X-Factor finalist, winner of the 10th series of I'm a Celebrity and (probable) Essex fan - is to be employed as a guest tour guide.
Kieran Gray is only 11 years old and yet he might already have enjoyed the most memorable day of his cricketing life.
Kieran, who plays for Maidenhead & Bray's U13 side, a picturesque Berkshire ground on the banks of the River Thames, took a wicket with every ball of an over - inviting speculation from club officials that the feat might never have been achieved before in a competitive match.
He was surely the first bowler to be removed from the attack after taking six wickets in an over. As other juniors got a chance to bowl, he preserved remarkable figures of 1-1-0-6.
The first five batsmen from Taplow CC were all bowled and, with tension rising on the banks of the Thames, his sixth ball was struck straight to cover. Taplow, 0-6 after one over, were all out for 21 and lost by 131 runs.
Staff from Loughborough University have set a new world record for the longest continuous game of cricket. Two teams of 11 - and one substitute fielder per side - utilised floodlights to play through wind, rain and hailstorms to extend the previous record by around 45 hours and set a new mark of 150 hours and 20 minutes.
While the record remains unofficial for now, organisers have sent extensive data - including sworn statements by participants, umpires and onlookers and video - to Guinness World Records in anticipation of verification of their achievement. Among those making appearances as umpires were former England players Matthew Hoggard, Paul Nixon and Alex Tudor, former New Zealand player Iain O'Brien and Derbyshire's Wes Durston. Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt of rock band The Inspiral Carpets also visited.
The game was inspired in an attempt to raise money for the Harley Staples Cancer Trust. The charity was setup in 2009 by Katherine Staples in memory of her son Harley, who passed away in 2009 after a long battle with a rare form of Leukaemia; B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Burkitt Type. It is hoped the game will have raised around £15,000. For more details visit www.charitygiving.co.uk/cricket.
"We played 25 matches in a cycle," one of the organisers, Chris Hughes, told ESPNcricinfo. "We had torrential rain and hailstones the size of golf balls but, in true British tradition, we kept calm and carried on. Nothing Mother Nature could conjure up was going to stop us from breaking the record and raising many thousands of pounds. And we're already talking about having a go at extending the record next year."
Budding cricketers in England might have a host of clubs to support, but here's one that is making news more for its name than its record - 'VVS Laxman Cricket Club'. India batsman VVS Laxman's supporters named the club after him in Bradford, in northern England, as a "small way of showing our gratitude and affection towards a great friend," Manish Patel, Laxman's friend and club secretary, told the Indian Express.
"It was a little strange. He (Patel) was very adamant and I had no choice but to say yes," Laxman said. "Manish and his family are among my closest friends. I have known them since 1995 when I played in the Bradford League as a youngster. Obviously I was humbled by their gesture to name a club after me."
The club is playing in the 117-year-old Bradford Mutual Sunday School Cricket League this season and is in with a chance of making the semi-finals. Patel said senior members of the newly-formed club were unanimous on naming it after Laxman. "Laxman is an icon, probably the closest to being Mr Perfect," Patel said. "And not just on the field. He is a perfect example of how you should carry yourself. It is unimaginable how he's handled his fame. He is also like family to us."