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Will Luke looks back at The Week That Was
July 23, 2007
'Good morning, and welcome to Lord's'
Britain is the unsurpassed master of pomp and ceremony and, if Buckingham Palace wasn't available for the Queen to confer knighthoods each year, you can well imagine Lord's acting as a graceful replacement. How fitting, then, that two of cricket's more anonymous stars should celebrate their anniversaries during the first Test in St John's Wood: the unparalleled photographer Patrick Eagar, and the booming (and now omnipresent) public address system. A day at the cricket isn't the same without the ear-shattering foghorn of sneakily placed megaphones, and it celebrated its 40th anniversary last Thursday. Johnny Dennis has sat behind the mic at Lord's for the past 12 years and owns that homely, welcoming voice which announces 30 minutes before the start of play: "Good morning, and welcome to Lord's." Eagar, as constant a fixture at Lord's over the past 30 years as the megaphones, celebrated his 300th Test and received a deserved memento for his services; for approximately 500,000 photos dedicated to the sport. In their own way, both have been instrumental in the promotion of the game.
Welsh spare ribs
Mike Powell no doubt has a plethora of nicknames from his Welsh team-mates but "dog" is, to our knowledge, not one of them. Until this week, however, as Powell has buried one of his ribs at Sophia Gardens after surviving complicated surgery to remove a blood clot. No longer two slices short of a loaf, but one rib short of a cage. Such macabre, canine-like activity is far from standard - though Rose West might beg to differ - yet Powell is oddly proud of his accomplishment. "I know exactly where it is. They always scatter people's ashes in front of the old pavilion and my rib is buried in that area," he beamed. What will the Test-going public make of this when Sophia Gardens hosts its first Ashes Test in 2009? Not so much a graveyard for bowlers as, well, a graveyard.
Pesky weather presenters
Woe betide he or she who steps inside the boundary during a game. The stringent regulations of grounds around the world mean that no one can get near to the rope, and if they do manage to dodge the Men in Green, they could face a prison sentence or, worse, a fine. At Trent Bridge last week a weather presenter - the aptly, brilliantly named Sara Blizzard - caused a tut-tutting stoppage when she crossed over the rope to present her report. David Hopps in The Guardian encapsulated the cruel irony of the whole situation when he wrote: "The first time the sun comes out for weeks and the cricket is interrupted while a weather girl with an overly dazzling backdrop blathers on about how it will soon rain again."
Newton heading for a career in ... water
You have to feel sympathy for Mark Newton, Worcestershire's embattled chief executive who last week was swamped, or flooded, with queries about New Road's inability to stave off the rain. It came to a head on Friday when, for the second match in succession, the club were forced to abandon a Championship game, this time against Lancashire, with the square under five feet of water. According to Newton, this latest flood was the 134th time in its 108-year history, the tenth worst on record. Newton estimates the club have already lost £250,000 and he expects Worcestershire will lose a further £125,000 by the year end. Global warming (or global watering), if indeed that is the cause, might make Newton's position untenable if a financial benefactor doesn't appear soon. But a seat on the council's environmental board might be a tempting alternative.
It's official: Alastair Cook has missed his calling in life. Those words come from that irrefutably gallant rag, The Sun, in which Cook was interviewed about his "passion" for darts. "We play darts on tour. Jimmy Anderson and Matthew Hoggard are very good -- as is Andrew Flintoff, who plays a lot," Cook said. "But Harmy's the best -- there's no question about it." The mind boggles. Though Harmison gradually began to look like his old self against West Indies, where on earth was his dartboard in Australia?
"Think about Warne, he wasn't up to it at 22."
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala