Five events for those who just can’t wait for the Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge:
1. Historical tour of Nottingham’s Caves and Galleries of Justice. Nottingham Playhouse, 10-14 July. Receive a 20% discount off entry to their Sheriff of Nottingham actor-led daytime tours. Just present your Ashes ticket at the door to qualify for the discount. Visit galleriesofjustice.org.uk and cityofcaves.com for more information. This offer is only valid for 10th-14th July 2013. Only one discount is available for person. Ashes ticket must be produced on arrival.
2. The Ashes. Nottingham Playhouse, 27 June – 6 July.
Michael Pinchbeck’s play tells the story of legendary Ashes bowler Harold Larwood, the spearhead of England’s legendary bodyline bowling attack. Tickets £7.50 – £27. Call 0115 9419419 or visit nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk
The Broadway Cinema are also celebrating the return of Ashes cricket to Nottingham, by presenting a special screening of Trent Bridge on Film, an archival look back at our iconic ground on the night before the Test, July 9 at 6pm.
In the run up to the Ashes Test on July 10, the multi-talented Paul Harrison will be providing a series of blogs which touch on his life behind the scenes at Trent Bridge, and what makes his role so important. Here’s the first instalment…
Since last August when Trent Bridge won the rights to stage the opening Investec Test of the 2013 Ashes Series, the sense of anticipation around the ground has been growing daily. Now that the game is so close this anticipation has reached fever pitch, or in some cases blind panic.
As part of Trent Bridge’s Ashes Legacy Project, hoardings around Tren Bridge house are being used for a mural, with the help of groups of young people working with Positive Futures. Artist James Mayle, part of Imageskool, is helping to put the mural on the map.
“I’ve been working on projects like this with Positive Futures for nine years,” he said.
I was initially asked to help with one youth project, and it went from there. I would say I’ve been involved in hundreds since then.”
In Saturday’s issue of The Times, columnist Giles Coren suggested that so poor was the Australian side coming into the Ashes Series this summer, that the series should be scrapped. He continued to say that even a side boasting the likes of Derek Pringle and Jonathan Agnew (the 2013 figures, rather than their hey-day, of course) could still cast aside the Ozzie opposition.
In playing devil’s advocate, Coren raises an interesting point. What if this series proves to be so one-sided that the cricketing fans, both plastic-seated and armchaired, decide that the competition, and therefore excitement, just isn’t there?
The consequences should The Ashes finally be buried would be awful. The fabled series is cricket’s flagship contest, one where hundreds of millions across the world, from Mumbai to Maidenhead, watch every minute from home, and tickets for the matches themselves are worth far more than their weight in gold.
Take that away, and the sport loses its biggest source of income. Test-playing venues across England and Wales rely on those matches for their continuation in business, to pay the staff who make the ground tick, let alone the investments needed to stage such world events.
There is, of course, one other point to make in response to Coren, and that is that it’s highly likely that the series will be far more closely contested than the form guide suggests. All too often in sport the wounded underdog, so easily dismissed with its tail between its legs, will turn and snap at the hand ushering it aside. For competition, and the sport’s sake, I hope that this is the case.
It is always upsetting to see a fine athlete engaging in conflict on or off the pitch but who would have thought that this moment of nonsense could have happened of a Cricketer’s own volition? From an ambassador of what is a highly regarded gentleman’s game.
Unfortunately, on Saturday night poor old Joe Root was subject to a knock on the chin by the feisty Australian David Warner, potentially symbolising the attacking prowess that the Aussies would wish to resemble when they come to Trent Bridge in less than a month’s time.
After Warner seemingly span right out of reason Root was led back to his hotel by Stuart Broad, deciding not to engage in irrational forms of behaviour and retaining his etiquette; choosing to abstain from retaliation. I’m sure it was the last thing on the English gents’ minds when they went out to relax after a vigorous amount of work without rest since the 13th May.
For the England team this event may be a welcome break to relieve stress levels as it shows an element, even if it is solely restricted to Warner, of discontent within the Australian team as to their poor performances of late; an element of the game that the England team will have to remain modest about and treat with severity and care, concentrating on building on this minor upset from the boys down under without becoming too comforted by this minor slip.
As punishment for his misconduct Warner is subject to suspension from playing until the first Ashes test match at our very own Trent Bridge; a suspension that will prevent him from competing in the remainder of his county’s Champions Trophy Campaign. Not an ideal situation for the Australian set-up. Only time will tell whether he gets a place in the first test match but it is clear to see that any initial participation in representing his country will be in severe doubt.
As for England the emphasis will be on dismissing what has happened and remaining focussed on the final steps to Champions Trophy success. Our players may not be boxers but they sure know how to play cricket.
After opening their Champions Trophy campaign with a thrilling win over Australia it looks as though the England team will be looking to further their winning streak and maintain the impetus to succeed in retaining the most coveted prize of all this summer; the longed for Ashes.
I personally find myself excited and exhausted at the prospect of a stress-filled summer of cricket; England-Australia having always been a rivalry I hold most dear to my heart. It is however comforting to know that Saturday’s performance at Edgbaston will have served as a quaint reminder to the stars representing the green and gold of Australia that our countrymen will be taking the challenge ahead with all seriousness. James Anderson’s distressing reverse swing bowling is sure to head what I expect to be a ravenous attack.