Investec Ashes 2013

England turn to power of poetry

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 28, 2013

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

England celebrate their Ashes victory, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 5th day, January 7, 2011
England have released an Ashes poem in the hope of encouraging scenes like these above, in Australia in 2011 © Getty Images
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As a weapon to defeat Australia, poetry does not spring immediately to mind. But that is what the ECB hopes will fill England with strength after the publication of a poem to mark the arrival of the Investec Ashes series.

We would like to know what you think of it.

Cricket has inspired a fair deal of poetry over the years. There is nothing more rose-tinted in the canon than Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt in 1892 with his exhortation to 'Play up ! play up ! and play the game!'

#RISE has something for everyone.

Lord's will delight in the attention given to the honours board, no player can resist imagining himself with a set jaw and white knuckles and, as for the obsessive scorers among you, there is even a mention of dot balls. In an age of Twenty20, an homage to the dot ball is soothingly traditional.

The poem will take pride of place on the Trent Bridge programme when the Ashes begins on July 10.

We think it has a bit of Jerusalem about it, although even that is not entirely a good thing as Jerusalem tends to be removed from hymn books these days. But they will still be bashing it out in Nottingham on July 10 no doubt as England seek to fill Australia with trepidation


History will soon be made,
Upon the board,
Their honours engraved.
Nerves on edge, muscles tighten.
Jaws are set, knuckles whiten.
A dot ball passes, atmosphere heightens.
Those left standing: gods among titans.
They'll deliver the fight, session by session.
The nation's pride their only obsession.
For one. For all.
The bat.
The ball.
Old scores. New clashes.
Together we'll Rise
For The Urn.
The Ashes.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (July 1, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

Other than aus, eng fans and other few commentators, who is going to care about this ashes. ODI is the real cricket which tests every cricketting phrase, where in test match eventually settled out for draw even when they need 30 odd runs from 10 overs. Enjoy yourself.

Posted by PrasPunter on (July 1, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy - i liked that remark - indians just can't do the spoilsport when it comes to Ashes !! They would always want to talk themselves up. Any ODI series won by them would be termed a terrific success !! And what if they get pushed out in the early stages - the tournament is a failure !! But wait, with they calling the shots nowadays, anything can happen.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (June 30, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

Ind v Pak bigger than the ashes? ahahahaha now ive heard it all.

That irrelevant series shouldnt even be mentioned in the same sentence as the ashes. The best part of the ashes is, the Indians cant ruin it.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (June 29, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

No doubt second best series in the world after India Pakistan which is best ever

Posted by shaantanu on (June 29, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

Ashes has history,tradition attached to it.let the english and the aussies enjoy it.....but bottom line is that too many of the series has been one sided since i can a neutral its boring.......n the poem..superbore

Posted by Nutcutlet on (June 29, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: I'll be thoroughly predictable, just for you. No format cricket, including the WC, can match the Ashes for for intensity, history & tradition & means so much to the cricketing fraternity of two nations. That is just the way it is. No one outside England & Australia is required or expected to understand this, because it is part of the sporting heritage of two nations that share a unique history. The Ashes is in a separate category from all other cricket & no matter how large & glittering the trophies may be for other competitions, not one of them comes close to what that 11cm terra-cotta urn means to the two countries that began the concept of Test cricket. But, as I said, you have to be from England or Australia to understand all this. What anyone else 'thinks' is just irrelevant! (India & Pak may understand rivalry, but it seems that this is not, tragically, susceptible to expression in cricketing terms alone. Would that it were; the world would be a better place.)

Posted by TRabbs on (June 29, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster as an Australian, I can't explain how much more thrilled I was that I Australia trounced England 5-0 in 06/07 than when we won the World Cup shortly after. The Ashes is what cricket is all about. And the poetry of it is top drawer.

Posted by Dashgar on (June 29, 2013, 0:13 GMT)

My favourite cricket poem "when McDougall topped the score". Also got to love John Williamsons song about the 1989 ashes.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (June 28, 2013, 21:38 GMT)

No doubt the Pommies are the better poets and always have been. The Barmy Army is often very amusing ( "All we are saying , is give Waugh a chance", "Why why why, Jessie Ryder ? " etc). Historically, CLEARLY superior to "Oi, Oi Oi! " !!!

Pity for ECB it's always been about cricket not rhyme. (Wondering what they'll rhyme with Harris ?)

Posted by sundarb on (June 28, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Too classic for my liking, but well - that's English I suppose. I prefer the Aussie style (laidback and chill) as jerryman notes, memories of yesteryear:

Lillie's pounding down like a machine. Pascoe's making divots in the green. Marsh is takin' wickets. Hooksie's clearing pickets. And the Chappells' eyes have got that killer gleam.

Mr Walker's playing havoc with the bats. Redpath, it's good to see ya back. Laird is making runs. Dougie's chewing gum. And Gilmore's wielding willow like an axe.

C'mon Aussie, c'mon, c'mon

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (June 28, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

So now we have nursery rhymes for the Ashes, wonderful. @ShubhamAustralian: It may be the "oldest" cricketing rivalry, but I beg to disagree with you on it being the greatest. Also, I don't think it is the most prestigious cricketing trophy by any means. Any piece of silverware, goldware or hardware contested between "2" nations should never be considered great in sport. The World Cup to me is the greatest piece of trophy in cricket, as it involves most major cricket playing nations contesting it. Also, Indo-Pak fans may have something to say about rivalry.

Posted by jackiethepen on (June 28, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

As a poem? Well, no, more like an advertising slogan. Something could have been made of rising from the Ashes. However 'verse' like this isn't meant to do the job of poetry which is on a par with the difficulty of being a Test cricketer. This is just stating the obvious. The famous poem by Newbolt isn't just about cricket but about courage in battle against the odds. The refrain Play up! play up! and play the game! is meant to be like a torch passed from one to another In the poem a schoolboy become soldier rallies the troops with the cry. A poem likes to play with different associations. The Ashes 'poem' is too blunt and the language too cliched. However it must be difficult to write such a piece to order. Who wrote it? By the way Jerusalem is not a hymn and not in hymn books. It is a poem by one of our greatest poets William Blake and was set to music by an admirer. It is part of a larger work called Milton and was meant to exhibit revolutionary zeal.

Posted by jerryman on (June 28, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

my favorite was :

Ashes to ashes , dust to dust. If Lillee wont get you , Thomson must ...

For cricket fans this is referring to one of the most feared opening bowling attacks that Australia had..

memories of yesteryear ...

Posted by DrSeussXI on (June 28, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

I preferred Ted Dexter's 'Onward Gower's Soldiers'

Posted by GenghisCohen on (June 28, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

A fine piece of verse that would grace any primary school poetry competition.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 28, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

Id still prefer the St Crispins day speech from Henry V, or a modified version,

This day is called the feast of St Bligh: He that outlives this day, and comes safe to the Interval Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, And rouse him at the name of St Bligh He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Bligh' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. And say 'These wounds I had on St Bligh's day.' Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names. Familiar in his mouth as household words Cook the king, Anderson and Broad, Swann and Root, Pietersen and Bell, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. This story shall the good man teach his son; And St Bligh's shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of Cricketers;

Posted by ShubhamAustralian on (June 28, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

The biggest cricketing rivalry for the greatest test series of all, the most prestigious cricket trophy, THE ASHES is starting coming July 10. I can't wait. I am simply crazy about TEST CRICKET specially THE ASHES.

Posted by shillingsworth on (June 28, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Clearly written by someone who has forgotten that it is a cricket match, an important one yes but still a cricket match. At least you don't have to buy the programme. Sadly the spectator can't opt out of the anthems and flag waving which are increasingly a feature of international matches.

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