Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Thirteenth Post : Fan Following

Cricinfo have a feature called ‘Fan Following’ that they run from their reader provided content pages called ‘The Stands’. It’s a fun thing they provide that anyone can do as long as you get in touch with them, tell them what game you’re going to and let them know you’d like to do a ‘Fan Following’ report for them. Then they get in touch with the rules and regulations and give you chapter titles that you are supposed to work from. It’s free, its fun, it’s for the fans by the fans and anyone can do it. I decided to have a go at it and see if they would publish something I supplied them.
I was going to go to the Australia v. Scotland game to be held in Edinburgh on the 3rd of September and let them know I could do a ‘Fan Following’ for them if they wanted.
They replied that they did want me to do this, so I did.
Below is what I wrote and supplied to cricinfo … (and below that is what they published.)

Fan Following.

Choice of game.
Scotland v. Australia at the Grange in Edinburgh. As someone who spent the first 20 years of life in Australia and the next 20 years of life living in Scotland it’s not hard to see why this fixture was attractive to me. Some people would say that I cant lose in this game as I have duel nationality, but even though my accent is Australian my heart belongs to Scotland and that is where my loyalties and my support lie.

Team supported.
Scotland all the way. I’ve been watching the Scottish national team develop and grow and take steps forward (and also steps backward) since I moved to Scotland in 1993. We are coming out of a long rebuilding period at the moment and have the core of a very talented bunch of cricketers that should take Scotland forward to the next world cup, and beyond.
Having said that, before the game started I still thought Australia would hump Scotland even without many of their top stars.

Wow moment
Even though I know quite a lot of people who like cricket up here in Scotland, I still find it a bit of a chore to convince them to actually come watch a game with me. So, for the last few years I have been content to go on my own and enjoy the game.
The wow moment of the day was when, during the first over of the day, a good friend that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years (due to health issues) walked up the isle of the stand I was sitting in and turned out to be in the seat right next to me.
It was such a surprise to both of us that we exclaimed in unison “What a coincidence” and shared a great laugh. Spent most of the first innings slowly catching up on what we are both up to these days without any of those pesky day to day time pressures that usually accompany bumping into someone randomly elsewhere (like your bus turning up or rushing to the shops before they close).
We both love a game of cricket and a slow conversation that may or may not have a destination, and cricket is the perfect backdrop for all of those musings and ramblings that you can share while catching up with a really good friend.

Face-off you relished
I was really looking forward to watching Kyle Coetzer play. He has turned into a really class player over the last few years and is really moving his game forward at an amazing rate. He is easily Scotland’s best player. Unfortunately, a wrist injury sees him sidelined so my attention was turned towards the always reliable Majid Haq and the new to the Scotland national team Matthew Machan who also seems to be gathering quite a reputation too. As for the Aussies, I wondered what this Finch chap was going to be like especially after his fireworks in the first T-20 against England the other night!!!

Key performer
And it was Finch who had the most influence on the match. Scoring 148 in reliably quick time (116 balls) put the game out of reach for Scotland even before the half way point. For Scotland it was Majid Haq who, as always, had the best economy rate but could feel hard done by not to get a few more wickets, especially as he has a stumping missed and a catch dropped off his bowling.

Shot of the day
The third 6 of the match. A low full toss from Matt Machan to Finch who clears not only the rope, but also the entire stand and actually clears the seven foot stone wall that surrounds the ground. Can we have our ball back please !!!

One thing you’d have changed.
For year’s I’ve been saying that this is that last time I’m going to watch Scotland play cricket. I’m just tired of watching Scotland lose while freezing my butt off.
I wouldn’t mind freezing my butt off if Scotland won, or watching Scotland lose if the weather was good.
But, alas, as clichéd as it sounds the weather in Scotland is usually and mostly cold. So I rugged up warm in two jumpers, a jacket and a long sleeve t-shirt (not to mention the wrap around rug I also brought along to keep the chill out of my little leggies) only to find myself roasting away in one of the hottest days of the year !!!
If I had of known it was going to be a rare shorts and t-shirt day I would have left the jumpers behind and changed my outfit.
(Please note: I would not have changed the weather!!! Scotland lost by a massive and embarrassing 200 runs, but I don’t care. I had a great day watching cricket in the sunshine!!! )

Fancy-dress index.
There wasn’t really any fancy dress at the game. There were a few guys in kilts but that’s not fancy dress. That’s just Scotland.
The merchandise stall was selling those Australian type hats with the corks hanging from them (you know, the ones that NO ACTUAL Australian has ever worn, EVER!!!). I saw a few kids running around with them on. I saw a few adults wearing them too but none of them (NOT A SINGLE ONE) was an Australian.

Crowd meter
The stands were smaller than I expected but it lent an intimate feeling to the occasion as I felt like I was right on top of the players, almost fielding with them. Most of the stands were sold out but it didn’t feel squished at any point and there was a great atmosphere from supporters from both teams.
A wag in the stand to my right took to chanting “MITCHELLLL” in a slow and repetitively way when Mitchell Johnson started to bowl. It was difficult to tell if it was a heckle or good natured banter or something else, but the more he did it the funnier it became. Johnson must have been irked by it a bit because soon after it started he bowled a no ball that claimed Machan’s edge (it went on to be dropped by the wicketkeeper but by that stage the damage had been done. Free hit!!!)
Thankfully he stopped the chant before it became annoying but picked it up again during Johnson’s second spell. This time some of Johnson’s fans in the stand to my left echoed his chant with something of their own in return and we had duelling chants for a few overs near the close of play.

While Scotland’s effort on the pitch was poor, the day was fantastic with everyone in a great mood helped no end by the quality weather in Edinburgh. There needed to be some speakers dotted around the ground and a few announcements made on them to keep the crowd informed of stats and trivia (as well as vital match info). Sharing it all with a long lost mate was the icing on the cake.

Marks out of 10
Scotland’s performance =2
Australia’s performance = 8
The day in general =10.

Adam Brook was a leg spinner before Shane Warne made it popular but continued to play cricket in the lower grades of rural Australia where he continued to fail to be picked in the 4th grade side no matter how many times he said ‘I’m just like Shane Warne, except better.’ A move to Scotland with the catch cry ‘I’m just like Shane Warne, except fatter.’ Led him to be crowned the captain of ‘The Stockbridge Minnows’. He blogs as Adamski loves cricket … here ….

And here is a link to the published article. Very few changes to my supplied text but I did notice that they changed “I still thought Australia would hump Scotland” to “I still thought Australia would thump Scotland” !!! a little too sexually suggestive for cricinfo there then. Lucky I didn't say “… thought Australia would hand Scotland their asses to them on a platter” or something even worse but still startling accurate.

They also changed my CAPITAL EMPHASIS on the non Australians wearing those stupid bloody hats!!!
I hate those hats.

Still not quite a published journalist but another step in the direction of being so.

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