Paddock News: After a month of snow and sub zero temperatures, we've finally seen the temp rise above 0 degrees to a balmy 8.5 degrees centigrade, which is 2.5 degrees warmer than the minimum required for grass to grow (I think)? So with the snow finally melting I was able to go and have a look at the paddock and see how it's surviving and it was looking pretty good. There's been far fewer people crossing the paddock in comparison with last year and less evidence of people letting their dogs off whilst standing in the batting area - which last year meant that they then had a bloody great dog running back and forth ripping the ground up. So, the only issue that needed to be addressed was leaves and that was quickly done by raking them up and clearing the wicket area.
The Ashes: Not something that I do a lot of on this blog - comment on cricket being played internationally as it's not something I know a lot about, I like watching it, especially as we're beating the Aussies and I'm aware of the fact that it's not something we get to do that much. I used to work with a bloke Steve Coulson back in 1986 and he was about the same age as me but from somewhere up north and he loved his cricket and was totally obsessed. He would constantly update me with news of what Gooch in particular was up to, but it was wasted on me, I had other things going on - surfing.
I started watching cricket myself back in the late 90's I suppose, but all I recall is some blonde Aussie called Warne tearing us apart with some exceptionally good bowling and I just seem to remember commentators and newspaper berating the English attempts and having this sense that we were incapable of ever winning the Ashes or anything else. But since I've had kids for some reason I've taken more notice and took up the game myself and have been exceptionally lucky to be far more aware of what's involved in the game, so was very aware of the 2005 win and all that's followed since, so it's good to see our boys doing so well in Australia and now I'm anticipating an Ashes win in Australia in my life-time that I'm aware of, which is nice. The only downside is the fact that Leg-spin has played very little part in the games with Australia's Steve Smith not get much of an opportunity and when he has, he's been a bit shoddy at times. I think Leg Spinners across the world that have been watching will be hoping that Smith is somehow taken under the wing of Warne and helped so that perhaps he'll have a role in 4 years time or so?
I was amazed at the support England had throughout the series, even at the Melbourne ground with 10's of thousands of supporters there, you could still hear the barmey army and virtually nothing from the Aussies. I'd lay money on the fact that throughout all the dark periods of the last 10 years or so - when England were at their lowest points they were still supported by the barmy army? Where was the support for Australia? What will Australia do now - it looks as though they are in a real mess, there's talk of Ponting going - who will replace him and who will replace most of this team because most of them have been awful.