And so… it has begun… an epic between giants of the game.
I have quoted this before… but it is worth quoting again (and, it brings in a little bit of law – at least.)
“In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short . . . [y]et now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there anymore . . . [h]e has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket.
This newcomer has built . . . a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket.”
Miller v. Jackson (1977) Q.B. 966, 976
I have Sky Sports. I am also fortunate in needing only four hours of sleep a night. So.. do I stay up and watch the first session until 2.00 and then go to sleep..or do I get up when I usually wake at 3.00 and watch it then? A difficult question. Last night, I did a bit of both. Australia are firmly in control at 346 – 3, with Captain, Ricky Ponting, producing a magnificent innings of 138 – and he gets a chance to add to this score tomorrow morning.
Grievous Bodily Harmison opened the proceedings with a spectacular wide which had to be caught by second slip. Unfortunately, he is not fired up yet (out of practice) prompting Boycott to ramble on as usual about ‘line and length’. Boycott is right, however. Harmison needs to get fired up and bowl to bounce the ball up to the ribs and head area to ‘test’ the batsmen and force errors.
Relax… I’m not going to drone on about cricket. The BBC website has excellent Ashes coverage.
What I will do, as the series progresses, is make a few observations.
Ashley’s Ashes (in the style of Lord Denning MR)
In a small village of London, called Chiswick, there is a gastropub. It is called The Bollo Bar & Dining Room. It is a delightful place with panelled walls, good food and a well stocked wine cellar. It is run by an Australian called Ashley, who is a keen cricket fan. Last year Charon QC and a group of friends took the afternoon off on the day of the final Ashes Test. It was an important match. It was the decider. England won. There was a great deal of celebration, drinking of Rioja and smoking of cigarettes by Charon and others. Ashley was unconsolable. Charon, to compound his misery, took a box of Bollo matches, burned the matches in an ashtray and with the ashes of these matches, supplemented by cigarette ash, filled the empty match box. Charon then signed the box, as did his friends – and, sportingly, so did Ashley. He then sealed the box with sellotape. Codebreaker, who was present at this afternoon of drinking and cricket, varnished the box to make it look old and the box of matches was then duly mounted on a small rosewood plinth provided by Charon. They are called “Ashley’s Ashes”.
For a year and a few months, Ashley’s Ashes have been on a bookcase in Charon’s study. Now they are mounted on a shelf above the bar at The Bollo – where they will remain until The Ashes tournament is over. If Australia win, they will stay at The Bollo. If England win, they will return to Charon’s study. These are the simple pleasures in life.
If you wish to view Ashley’s Ashes – you will have to go to The Bollo. Charon often sits at Table 21, sometimes playing Chess, but always with a glass of Rioja and two espressos.
Keep the Aussies from getting their hands on The Ashes - bizarre interactive game