Cook joins the Taffia

Welsh people are called Taffs. There is an Italian criminal underworld known as the Mafia. Add a sprinkling of, erm, nothing and you get the Taffia. Alastair Cook, from Essex – although you couldn’t tell by his accent – is half Welsh. This surely is as dull as it gets, but you can read more here if you wish.

It’s absolutely pelting down here in Devon and I’ve been evacuated from the beach to the house. Evacuation is probably the wrong word to use for the local beach, as Slapton Sands is where hundreds (if not thousands) of Americans died during an exercise (Exercise Tiger) prior to the Normandy landings. The beach’s makeup – slate and mainly pebbles – was considered similar to Omaha, on the French coast and therefore ideal preparation for the landings. It was the biggest exercise on allied soil of its kind and, such was the importance placed on it that live ammunition was used.

It all went disasterously wrong. Initially it was said German U-Boats appeared from nowhere and gunned them all down but the US failed to reveal the casualty list for a number of years, increasing fears of a coverup. These days, it is widely considered the event was a momumental American cock-up – a “blue on blue”).

Might aswell tell you about the tank too. In the 1970s a bloke called Ken (can’t remember his surname) had a breakdown and resorted to beachcombing the Sands. He was told by friends there was an object a mile out to sea and it turned out to be an American Sherman tank. There was still a coverup by the Americans about Exercise Tiger but he was eventually allowed to purchase it – for $50! The British Navy and Americans refused to help, so this bloke Ken hired divers and equipment and effectively pulled it out himself. Pretty cool story I reckon. There’s a rumour the tank tracks worked perfectly when they dragged it onto the sands…but I doubt it, what with the rust etc.

Here endeth the lesson.

Glassy shot

I avoided the inevitable “Cricket commentators have a SMASHING time” for this post. Richard Grant, batting for Glamorgan, smashed a six through the commentators window. Edward Bevan and Steve Watkin were at the mic: cue two very confused, and slightly puterbed Welshmen.

Listen here.

Reminds me of The 12th Man tapes where Tony Greig is commentating. “Aw look out, it’s coming up here . AND! Richie Benaud has gone down like a sack of shit!”

Sophia Gardens to host Ashes in 2009

Good grief. This surprises me somewhat, but it’s nevertheless great news for Wales and Welsh cricket. More at Cricinfo.

Wales v Rest Of The World

There is a Wales v Rest Of The World match tonight, a Thirty30 game to honour Matthew Maynard’s efforts for Welsh cricket, and Glamorgan. Maynard is now assistant coach to Duncan Fletcher, and is widely tipped to replace him when Fletcher hangs up his tracksuit. Some handy names on show tonight:

Rest of the World XI: Jimmy Adams, Ian Butler, Vasbert Drakes, Damien Fleming, Darren Ganga, Chris Harris, Rashid Latif, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mark Richards, Sir Viv Richards, Richie Richardson.

Wales: Dan Cherry, Dean Cosker, Tony Cottey, Andrew Davies, Adam Harrison, David Harrison, David Hemp, Matt Maynard, Tom Maynard, Mike Powell, Mark Wallace, Lloyd Smith.

5 in 5!

I love stories like these:

Cricket: Wizard’s 5 wickets in 5 balls

Jun 1 2005


An amateur cricketer spoke of his astonishment today after taking five wickets in five balls.

John Williams, 30, captain of Mold Cricket Club in north Wales, bowled three opponents and two more were caught in a run of just five balls.

The feat took place in a second string match against Bethesda on Saturday.

It is believed to beat any figures recorded in the top flight of world cricket but statistics for lower levels are not kept.

Mr Williams, a golf greenkeeper, from Pantymwyn, said: “I’ve only ever had one hat-trick before so I was happy enough to get the three.

“But when the fourth one went I was in dreamland and on the fifth one the place erupted.

“I felt like it wasn’t me.”

Mold was struggling when Mr Williams began his lucky streak but went on to win the match.

Good way to turn your figures around, taking 5 in 5. I think Pollock took 4 in 4 for Warwickshire in about 1996, and Caddick took 4 in one over (somehow failing to get a hat-trick!) against the West Indies in 2000.

A look back on Matthew Maynard

The Guardian look back on Matthew Maynard, a potential English coach – another failed English talent. He was in his pomp around the time I first got interested in cricket, aged 12, and was quite simply extraordinary. He had the potential to be anything he wanted to be – the article is a good read, by his excellent colleague-cum-journalist Steve James, and this is surely the highlight:

The impression has lingered long that Maynard has never really known how good he is, an idea that evokes ridiculously exaggerated confirmation. “I just see myself as a good club player,” he says in all seriousness.

Around the 90s, the whole of England was wondering just how on God’s earth talents like Ramprakash, Hick and Maynard weren’t scoring hundreds at will at Test level. It confounds me to this day. Maynard is a tough character, with a good cricket head on him and is being buttered up by Fletcher to replace him in [?].