Category Archives: cricket

Jottings on cricket from The Full Toss cricket blog


Angry fans at Lancashire have formed a pressure group over growing unrest about facilities at Old Trafford

The grass-roots membership feels increasingly sidelined despite a long programme of multi-million pound investments.

The numbers of members and fans have been dwindling as a new venue has taken shape – the latest development being a Hilton Garden hotel.

The Lancashire Action Group (LAG) was formed due to the inability to effect change by the Members Representative Group (MRG) – a body set up to offer a channel of communication between members and the Board.

Issues to be raised include:

*Calling for a dissolution of the MRG

*Members to be allowed in The Point – the huge red corporate shed with balcony

*An elevated view in the pavilion – currently only for premium members

*Halt plans to demolish the Red Rose Suite – an indoor seating and refreshments area


Longstanding fan Ian Lomax formed helped found LAG several years ago to tackle issues but the organisation took a backseat when the club created the members’ group. He explained: “We thought the club had finally had finally listened by starting up the members’ group but it has become clear it is little more than a way for the club to control members rather than letting them have a say.

“As a result the action group has been revived. No wonder fans and members are staying away, they have not been considered in these massive corporate developments.

“The fact that the ordinary member does not have access to an elevated view in the pavilion or The Point is scandalous.

“We intend to lobby the club and demand action at the forthcoming annual general meeting.”

The group is creating a fanzine called NOT The Spin – in contrast to the club official magazine called Spin – and is having dozens of polo shirts with logos made ready for the new season. It is also active on Facebook and Twitter

London-based fan Timothy St. Ather was booted off the MRG for his forthright view

“We were treated as an irrelevance, it was all a complete waste of time. St.Ather went on: “I joined the members group because I believed the Board was serious about improving customer service and communications after decades of dissatisfaction.

“But when I think about what we actually achieved in three years the only thing I can come up with is ensuring a regular supply of paper towels in the ladies rest room.

“One season we didn’t meet at all so i wrote to the chairman warning him some of us were ready to resign and he just said, fine, everyone is replaceable! This is how we discovered the Board was prepared to get rid of anyone who didn’t agree with them.

“The Lancashire Action group is an independent body but we intend to put pressure on the club to put members’ interests above those of sponsors and other revenue-generators which seems to be the club’s main preoccupation these days.

“Whilst income is very important it seems to have become the driving force of the whole business instead of the cricket and the members.”

At an end of season forum club chief executive Daniel Gidney said to one irate member: “I am surprised to hear you say members are getting less and less facilities, as I would like to think we have, compared to a lot of Clubs, have a lot of facilities for members. That is not to say we can’t do more and it is something we are looking at.”



Facebook: Lancashire Cricket Action Group



Jos et Jim



It’s time for a BOGOF on TFT. Today we have two articles in one. The first, by Media Penguin, considers a fan favourite with limited red ball experience. The second, by Jack Mendel, considers a player with more red ball experience than than the whole England T20 team put together. Over to you fellas …

Jos Buttler

T20 artiste Jos Butter has pencilled in a £200,000 engagement in Bangladesh this winter when everyone else remotely connected with English cricket will have their minds elsewhere.

There is still a chance he could be picked for Australia but he has not furthered his cause by failing to make (at the time of writing) even a half century in the championship. He has played the last few games for Lancashire, rather bizarrely in place of club skipper Steven Croft.

The tongues clacking in the Red Rose suite in the match against table-toppers Essex reckoned the selectors have leaned on Lancs to give Buttler some game time. It would explain why he keeps getting picked – there appears to be no other reason.

I witnessed Buttler narrowly fail to get a fifty a couple of weeks back and then fall for 13 in the first innings last week. I emailed the BBC radio commentary team predicting his demise within half an hour – he obliged with a slash after about 14 minutes.

Look the guy has talent – for scoops, ramps and sideflips but the mentality required for concentrated innings building appears to have been left out of his cricketing make-up. I don’t even think a few sessions on the inner chimp with Hameed would make any difference.

If Buttler had his sights set on a seat to Australia he would have knuckled down to some county cricket at the start of the season instead of shovelling IPL cash into his back pocket.

In fact the ECB should have insisted on it but seem to be allowing the ‘stars’ some leeway when it comes to piling up the rupees.

Buttler won a couple of games in the T20 – not that it helped Lancs miserable effort this season.  Players like Buttler probably won’t even need to be associated with a county team down the line – which would be no bad thing is you ask me.


Jimmy Anderson

James Anderson’s home-away imbalance doesn’t prevent him from being a great, but it might stop him from being the greatest.

His achievement will no doubt generate a plethora of think pieces saying he’s either unquestionably the best ever or moaning at how overrated he is. The reality, however, is that he’s somewhere in the middle of great and overrated.

His dominance at home makes him, probably, the best quick there’s been in English conditions. But his stats abroad means his overall career requires a caveat.

Taking 500 wickets is no mean feat. It puts him in an elite club synonymous with being ‘great’. The question is whether he deserves to be at the top, even if he does eventually take more test wickets than any other seamer in history?

The simple answer is no. Currently the Burnley quick is perched at sixth in the all time ‘most wickets’ rankings, and third in terms of seam bowlers – only Glenn McGrath (563) and Courtney Walsh (519) have claimed more test scalps. But passing those two doesn’t mean that he’s better than them.

Indeed, it doesn’t even mean he’s better than people he went past a long time ago – such as Wasim AkramWaqar Younis and Dennis Lillee.

Anderson is extremely good in England. He’s taken 19 of 23 five-wicket-halls at home, and taken 66% of his wickets at home (329 out of 501).

But away from home he simply isn’t world class. Anderson has just 34% of his wickets – 171 out of 501 on foreign soil. Even his averages are miles apart: 24 at home, and 33 away.

In this respect, he’s not as good as his closest rivals, or those he’s gone past in the ‘Most Wickets’ list. McGrath’s home-away record is far superior to Anderson’s with 51% of scalps at home and 49% away (with a significantly better average too).

Meanwhile, Courtney Walsh actually took more wickets away from home (290/519) than in the Caribbean. The likes of Kapil Dev, Sir Richard Hadlee, Shaun Pollock and others also had more even home-away records than Anderson.

The statistics prove that all these bowlers were more adaptable. They excelled on different pitches and overcame conditions that didn’t necessarily help their bowling.

Maybe Anderson is a better swing bowler than some of these greats. But in other respects he’s clearly not on the same level.

Anderson is most certainly an English great. He’s probably the greatest English bowler in English conditions ever. Indeed he’s probably one of the best swing bowlers ever.

But regardless of where he ends up on the ‘most wickets’ list, he’ll never be the greatest seam bowler of all time.

Cricket beside the seaside

Lancashire v Middlesex 9/6/17

Trafalgar Road, Southport.

Lancs won by 8 wickets


It had it all – a sun blazing on my baldy pate, a washed out day fit for gumboots or goloshes and two other days that at times required a jumper and an overcoat. The cricket weren’t bad either and even though just three days of play were possible, the Red Rose were able to inflict the champions first defeat in 21 outings.

There is something unique about outground cricket, especially at the seaside. But Birkdale is the posh bit of Southport, far from the commotion of the funfair or the whiff of fish and chips.

The cricket ground is not far from the golf club which will host the Open championship in July.

Birkdale has wide rolling boulevards and most homes have their own driveway – nevertheless at the southern approach the authorities have imposed a staggering mile-long parking exclusion zone.

I can’t quite make out if this is to funnel motorists to the designated car park zone (fiver a go and throw in a lengthy hike) or to ensure the top cops and senior Town Hall officials who inhabit these parts are not disrupted by the hoi polloi. One thing is certain, it is not on traffic management grounds.

At the ground there is something of a queue. Given the heightened atmosphere over security I imagined there was a frantic scrabble for exploding sandwiches.

In the event it was an alcohol search. A table had been put up for the contraband and was groaning with two cans of cider.

An old lad in the queue recalled the 1981 encounter with Middlesex at this very venue when the lines snaked down Trafalgar Road and the beer ran out by 2 p.m as Clive Lloyd knocked a few into the leafy avenues. The occasion? A day off for the common people while Charles and Di tied the knot.

A couple of temporary grandstands had been erected and chairs and benches dotted the ground which backs on the rail line ferrying passengers between Liverpool and Southport.  Even though a sign stated that no dogs were allowed on the ground I spied Jack Russell eager for a book signing to commence.

The first day really was a scorcher, ice creams and Crabbie’s ginger beer  being gobbled up greedily. Three chaps behind me were debating various matters relating to the game but the foremost question seemed to be when to get the first ale in.

‘Is the sun over the yardarm?’ one asked. ‘Who knows’ quoth another. They decided on 11.45.

After a slurp of lubrication they embarked on the highlights of their careers in organised cricket – top scores of 24, 20 and 9 respectively.

In the meantime the Londoners appeared to be ruing the decision to bat as wickets quickly fell. At lunchtime there were rumours of dark mutterings from the Middlesex players about the pitch.

I took a stroll around the boundary and bumped into an old colleague from Trinity Mirror. Inevitably it descended into him bemoaning his lot – forced to work from home on a rota made for a Roman galley slave. And one of the lads had to take a 25% pay cut! Imagine having to survive on 90 grand a year in austerity Britain.  

Middlesex were skittled for 180 but cynical Lanky lags merely looked to the heavens when Davis and Livingstone departed in the opening over. The ship was steadied to leave Lancs 123-4 at the end of day one.

In contrast to sunburn weather on the first day, the following was a complete washout. Not many ice creams sold or £4 sausage barms for that matter.

Day three was decisive and particularly innings from MaClaren (75) and Bailey (58) which  propelled Lancs into a lead of 129.

I disappeared due to family commitments but was back on day four when Middlesex were struggling to build a lead with four wickets left.

This time the weather was a mixture of overcast condition and blue skies but still very much on the parky side.

Still a good crowd in but with an air of inevitability about it. The champions cobbled together a lead of 107 which was never enough to make a game of it. Lancs won by eight wickets with Hameed showing a glimmer of form by painstakingly making his way to 38. While most players are greedy for runs the young man ekes them out in miserly fashion, almost unhappy at having to leave his defensive pose.

A great day out is outground cricket and I am pleased to say Lancashire have also played at Liverpool and Blackpool this season. Sir Ian Botham has also made noises about taking Durham back out into the heartlands. Surely its time Yorkshire eyed up some of the haunts they abandoned? Eyy up lad, there’s nowt like it.