Ashes Poetry - cricket

PLEASE GO TO for all content here, and Ashes Poetry 2009 in England. Ta

David Fine, Ashes poet in residence in Australia 2006-7

England vs Australia.
Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney 2006-2007

To comment and find out more, especially about npower Ashes Poetry 2009, please e-mail - G'day!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Perth Day Two - fate awaits

A 11.30 kick off is leisurely, certainly compared to 10am at The Gabba. For fans this makes a big difference. It means more drinking in the evening, and yet more drinking in the morning too. Consequently a WACA crowd is by and large well-oiled, adequately inebriated, whimsically whacko and perpetually pissed throughout proceedings. The two advertising hoardings next to the scoreboard occasionally combine Johnny Walker and Some Hangovers Are For Life. Nobody gets drunk because they already are, which makes for an easy atmosphere.

It must be weird for the rest of Australia too - not that they aren't indulgers. For those on Eastern Standard Time, over half the population, play at the Waca starts at 1.30, or just after lunch, and finishes about nine, barbie embers cooling in the darkness.

There is a sense, probably greater than Brisbane, that Perth moves to a different time to the rest of Australia. It seems around ten years behind, maybe more, maybe less, and far less chic and far more bloke orientated. The Hip Guide To Perth from Tourism Western Australia seems to date from the last century, while the tv in my hotel room is proud to have four adult movie channels. I knew I should have packed flares.

'Come on, Coventry!' as a friendly greeting to Burnley compatriots in the row ahead. Colin from Essex asks my lunchtime prediction. '113 for 4' before patriotism gets the better of me, '113 for 3'

It's hard work. Collingwood out slashing, then Strauss to an iffy caught behind, to add to a dodgy one in Adelaide.

Those That Go Against You

In the cool shadowed privacy
of the dressing room sanctuary,
bats are hurled, windows smashed
with more force, anger and intent
than any maximum smite from the middle.

It never hit the bat.
Clearly missing the stumps.
The umpire’s finger,
not the acumen of the bowler,
sends you on your way.

Rage and fear routs the calm certainty
behind all due care and attention
in adjudication summoning
benefit of the doubt
not to give you out.

The quiet ones always seem to receive
the rough edge of the rub of the green.

Pietersen fairly comfortably, and Flintoff rather dangerously outside off-stump, get past the dandelion and burdock drinks cart and the Baggy Green verbals

Silence in Court

Australian fielders ceaselessly chatter between balls.

‘Will do, Ricky.’ ‘Test match cricket.’
‘On the money, Warnie.’ ‘Easy, Pigeon.’

It’s their way. Habitual as cockatoos
or car horns in the Eernal City,
as much to divert foreigners
as egg patriotism on.

The driving gavel of Pietersen
sends leather to the benches
and silence in court.
The Australians are livier in the field, feeding off the energy of the braided one.

Circus Tricks

A mid-off in the middle of the pool,
he waits for batters to toss a fish:
the lunge, leap, rush and scurry,
somersault, dive, fall, roll and parry,
comes up ball and applause in hand.

Only batters wonder
if they’ll run out of fish
especially if Symonds,
The Performing Seal,
takes a catch

113 for 3 my lunchtime prediction not too far out, before Freddie on borrowed time edges their performing seal and fifth bowler Symonds to slip, and this time Warne doesn't drop it. 107-5

Jones drives, ct Langer b Symonds 0. 114 for 6.

My Wolves supporter next to me has a spread bet that Pietersen will get more than 350 for the series. 'He better do it now.' Last night interviewed by Rod Quinn, we agree the team whose batsman gets a century should win.119 for 6, Lee's last over, it'll be good just to get to lunchtime.

After lunch Mahmood slashes unnecessarily but Hoggard gives good support to the Kevin Pietersen show.

The Art of Batsmanship by Matthew Hoggard OBE

1. Play Straight
2. No fancy stuff
3. Hold the stroke
4. Especially if you miss
5. Don’t forget to tell ’em
Sod off

Enter Warne, curiously held back, who does Hoggie with a leggie that bounces. 155 - 8. Pietersen goes for it, Warne into the stands, holes out to Symonds for 70. 175-9. Didn't quite make the Wolves' fan bet.

The Monty is at the crease. Together with Stevo Harmison, the last wicket puts on forty, with all the fun of the fair of dropped catches, swirling but safe skiers and outrageous play and misses. More to the point the last four wickets raise 101 runs, which again demonstrates the churlishness of inappropriate shot selection by members of the selection committee, Messrs Flintoff and Jones.

One thing for sure, unlike Adelaide this game doesn’t have draw etched all over it, and it ain't going to last five days unless both teams bat spectacularly well and bowl just as badly in the second knock.

Australia's small lead is significant. They'd fancy knocking England over for less than two hundred second dig, and England know it. In turn this means it'll be a hard game for England to win unless they skittle out the Green Baggies for around 150 or less.

In other words bowl their socks off. We shall see.

No such luck. Hoggard castles Langer through the gate first ball (cricket speak for clean bowled) Much in the same way Langer was bowled by Panesar. He doesn't get forward far enough.

That's it. Without too much trouble Hayden and Ponting – who else - complete fifties and at stumps Australia are 119 for 1, 148 ahead. While finishing this the room tv is tuned to India vs South Africa 1st Test. India 72-2, Dravid and Tendulkar conduct a master class how to defend against Pollock et al. The ground in Jo’burg is empty. Today the WACA was packed, and Billy The Trumpet was reduced to playing Carols.

We Two Kings

We two kings from Orient are,
Sajid Mahmood and Panesar.
From Pakistan and India,
Their parents give good cheer

O five for ninetyfour on day one,
You’ve done well, come on my son,
Both Monty and Sajid'll have to take plenty
Following your cricketing stars

Not even sure Santa can retain the Ashes for England, and I don’t think even my Wolves’ mate would get good odds.