Ashes Poetry - cricket

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

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

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Five Nil - Perth ~ Third Test

Perth Players

The Demon Panesar

You become yourself as you reach the crease
Gently poised paces, all limbs leaned to slight
Opponents’ fraught intent. Deft, accurate,
no whimsical flight; quick arm at its height
injects lethal charm to bewitch them out.
You need show no mercy until they leave.

5 for 94 Australia’s first innings of 244

Desert Island

Left, deserted, undefeated
how might you have done more?

Chance your arm, get out sooner
yet not your fault for other’s failures
to heed circumstances as found.

The innings end might seem a rescue
from a desert island you never wanted to leave
but like Robinson Crusoe you too had to depart
having grown accustomed to a place and its ways.

Mike Hussey 74 no out, top score of 244

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 galahs
or car horns in the Eternal City,
as much to gull foreigners
as egg patriotism on.

The driving gavel of Pietersen
sends leather to the benches
and silence in court.

Kevin Pietersen, 70, top score of 215

The Art of Batsmanship by Matthew Hoggard MBE

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

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,
hauls in a catch

Every Australian
wants to be Matthew Hayden.
Giant stride forward to meet the ball,
great arc of willow becomes a maul
to tonk the poms into the back
of burke, the outback and beyond.
Every Australian
Wants to be Matthew Hayden.

Second Innings Hayden hits 92.

Adam Gilchrist
Has often played and missed.
It’s when he connects
That the bowler regrets
ever bowling
into the hurdy-gurdy
whirligig six-hitting

Second dig Gillie hits 102 not out, the second fastest test century ever.

Grump, grump, grump I'm Glen McGrath,
Grump, grump, galumph, galgrumpalumph, I'm Glen McGrath,
I'll bend your ear from here to the dressing room
And back again, over after over till you edge or miss
The point of my delivery.

Essex Coastline

Harwich, Frinton, Clacton,
Brightlingsea, West Mersea,
Maldon, Burnham, Southend.
From the scapula of the Stour
to the humerous of the Naze
and the Thames phalanges

Alistair Cook
gets all Essex over the ball;
its coast the shape of his elbow
stretching across East Anglia.

Essex player Cook scored 116 second time round.

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,
standing as a suspect at the crease
in a line-up of an identity parade.

Umpires’ fingers sawed Andrew Strauss’s legs at least twice during the series.
In other words made a mistake in firing him out. He accepts this without demur.
Methinks he protesteth too little.

Captain’s Dilemma

I need to bat well
bowl well, field well,
take all my catches,
help choose the team,
set fields, raise morale
when we’re down,
enthuse, cajole, console
and kick arse, royally
whenever necessary
and appropriately.

Ensure I do all I can
to ensure we play as a team
where everyone does the best they can
to win, or at least draw.
What on earth have I let myself in for?

A task that Hercules
would leave for others
more knowing of a hero’s

The English Ashes Hopes Blues

We don't need no Aussie Scoreboard to tell us the Ashes are gone.
We travelled here with the urn inside our hearts,
At Brisbane we didn’t get off to the best of starts,
On the final day the promised rain just didn’t come,
we don't need no Aussie Scoreboard to tell us the Ashes are gone.

Won the toss on a dead flat pitch at Adelaide,
Never mind dropped catches and poor selections
However well Paul Collingwood played
The rest of them threw it away in the second knock,
we don't need no Aussie Scoreboard to tell us the Ashes are gone.

Lost the toss at Perth but bowled them out for 244
Then our turn to bat and we didn’t match their score
Second innings Hussey, Clarke and Gilchrist all got tons
Now to save the Ashes we need to hit 560 runs,
we don't need no Aussie Scoreboard to tell us the Ashes are gone.

Ode To Contest

Behind the bowler’s arm, scoreboard obscured,
Cloudy day, rain forecast but unlikely,
England’s prayers rest with God Almighty.
Two tall hopes nearly out before they’ve scored,
Fred survives, a tide of drives floods the boards,
Stupendous risk for six hooked off Brett Lee,
None down at drinks, game on, yet unlikely.
Braced danger-laced half-centuries yield applause
That courts the final strike. Five quick blows
Ends it all. All Australia rejoices;
Reclaims their men who reclaimed the Ashes
Against time and England’s proudest voices
Stilled. Half by half by half each candle’s ghost
Bleakens the dark hearth burnt out by your host.

Cricket Australia

She reads a book in the driver’s seat
of a bright yellow Ford Falcon XR6.
Another down the road inspects cuticles
in a Pontiac Firebird GTO.
There’s a phillipino ready to go
in a 4x4 Nissan Murrango.
Outside the Waca
you can get high
on the air-conned fumes
of all their nail lacquer.

Flocks of self-preening birds
in their beaus’ muscle cars,
smoothly smoothing feathers
waiting for their sweaty fellas
to come from watching cricket.
- it’s a mate’s thing.

Do they dare mention
what they watched on television?
Adverts for penile dysfunction
to the blokes they promised
to love, honour and obey?

Or better just to ride his mean machine
in hope of greater things to come
from their green and golden cockatoo’s coxcomb?

How dare they ask the question,
however well intentioned,
without ruffling their sweaty fellas’ plumage?

Books in burly hands in the privacy
of their partners’ Micras, would these great
Australian men wait quite so patiently
for their girls’ return from the best of five
Ann Summers’ lingerie party?