England take note, practice makes perfect in Test arena
HAVING noted the scores achieved by England in the Test first innings, and the start by the Pakistan team in theirs, I wondered if their respective scores reflected the different ways the players had built up to the Lord’s Test.
England’s players were either ‘rested’ after the long winter tours of Australia and then New Zealand, or played one-day thrashes in the India Premier League.
The Pakistanis had a workout in a five-day (four) Test match in Ireland.
In Yorkshire, we recall that Root and Bairstow were rested in the season’s first three County Championship matches in April (one washed out) and then, duly refreshed and recharged, went out in May at Essex and were out first ball and for seven, respectively.
Performances by Pakistan’s bowlers and then batsmen have been in marked contrast to those of the team playing in ‘home’ conditions.
Could the way England prepare for matches be anything to do with this?
Is denying players match practice in the once weekly County Championship matches the best way to build form, or has the reduction in County Championship fixtures resulted in us simply not having players up to the job of red-ball cricket any more? NON-LEAGUE football fans in North Yorkshire can only marvel at the tremendous achievement of Harrogate Town.
Contrasted with the fortunes of York City, whose disastrous season in National League North is worthy of no great comment, the Wetherby Roaders’ promotion to the National League, nonleague’s top table, comes as a tremendous fillip for the area, and for Yorkshire in general.
The Harrogate management decided to go full-time this season, and from the outset Harrogate were free-scoring pace-setters. Except for a late blip in form, they may well have been promoted as champions.
It was comforting and rewarding to progress through the play-offs, culminating in the sell-out win against Brackley Town.
To attract an attendance of 3,000 shows just how far the club’s stock has risen.
Fortunes can change quickly in football. Harrogate’s elevation is mirrored by Guiseley’s relegation, the Nethermoor men not having recovered from a poor start.
Promotion from National League North is devilishly difficult. Guiseley will have to regroup and take their chance against the Minstermen and several other very high-profile clubs next season.
It remains to be seen how Harrogate will adapt to the exigencies of the National League but Simon Weaver’s men deserve every credit for achieving a marvellous goal.
Increased support is sure to be a great 12th man at home matches, and there will be many interesting and historic grounds to visit. The journey is only just beginning.
From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby
I read recently that the intention was for the new T20 (sorry, the Hundred!) tournament to be screened solely by the BBC.
But once again the ECB gave way to the Sky millions so that most of the games will not be on terrestrial TV.
Yet the authorities continue to wonder why cricket is not attracting new fans and supporters!