WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
7%
  
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
3%
  
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
22%
  
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
33%
  
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons
34%
  



PostmanPissed 5:26 Wed Aug 5
Bob Willis Trophy
County Cricket is underway but haven't seen a thread for it. The Bob Willis Trophy replaces the County Championship this season as the 4 day competition.

Opening round wins for Sussex against Hampsire, Derbyshire v Notts, Yorkshire v Durham, Leicestershire v Lancashire, Worcester v Gloucester, Somerset v Glamorgan and Middlesex v Surrey.

Warwickshire and Northants drew and most importantly Essex sent Kent packing back over the bridge with their tails between their legs.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Sven Roeder 10:41 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Cheers Coffee

Coffee 10:39 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
On Wednesday, a familiar figure in a smart suit will sit down at Bettys tea room in York, take off his Panama hat and order a herbal tea and lactose-free cake to mark his 80th birthday.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott is unable to travel to London to eat at his favourite restaurant but it does not take a global pandemic to remind one of this country's most celebrated figures — one who has already survived a bout of cancer and a quadruple heart-bypass in 2018 — about the fragility of life.

These days, reflection comes more easily to Sir Geoffrey. It is why he is more than happy to pass this latest landmark occasion surrounded simply by his family — wife Rachael, daughter Emma, son-in-law Jeffrey ("he’s Jeffrey with a 'J'", he is keen to point out) and first grandchild Joshua, who has just turned one.

"He blows raspberries at me when he sees me, aye he does" Sir Geoffrey reveals, with a chuckle. "He is a funny so and so." He is relieved that little Joshua does not have the Boycott surname — "No child should have to go through people saying they are not as good as their dad" — but the real question is has he managed to change any nappies as part of babysitting duties? “None! Not a chance. I send for his mum and his dad."


Reaching 80 is a moment in time, an opportunity to look back on a long life of “highs and valleys”, as he puts it. Chatting for more than an hour on Zoom — the call is set up by Rachael because her husband, by his own admission, has no idea about technology — he talks with remarkable candour about the lessons learned from his serious illnesses, his lack of religious faith, the regret at not marrying Rachael earlier and having two more daughters. He also reveals the hurt his family endured from the criticism of his knighthood caused by his “worst nightmare” conviction for assault in France, and — as if to prove that his cussedness has not entirely disappeared — is at his spiky best when analysing the plight of the BBC and Test cricket.

'Being told you're dying takes the wind out of you'
Sir Geoffrey gave off an air of invincibility as a player which has hardly faded since he made the transition to the media, and he still looks in impressive shape — strong and surprisingly stocky for a man who has flirted with death on at least two occasions, and many more if you include his fire and brimstone battles with some of the world's best fast bowlers over a cricket career that spanned three decades.

“I walk a mile-and-a-half briskly about three times a week on my running machine and I hit some golf balls in the garden, so yeah, I’m okay. I don't have Covid, either," he says. "I can't do batting anymore — I miss that. Reaching 80 is not as good as batting. It was the best thing I ever did."

On Monday, he took delivery of a birthday cake from his colleagues at Telegraph Sport. It was shaped as a cricket bat with the Hunts County logo, the one he used for a decade at his peak. The detail is important because in 20 years of working for Telegraph Sport, his attention to the finer points of cricket has never wavered. Whenever we sit down to write his latest column, he has copious handwritten notes and knows exactly what he is going to say. When you check his stats, they are always correct. If he says he will call at 10am, then the phone rings at 10am — not a minute earlier or later.

He remains a great judge of a batsman’s technique despite the changes in cricket from his day. But he has mellowed, too, a legacy of his cancer and health issues.

“Both were life-threatening. I had the quadruple [heart] bypass at 78 - hell, most people don’t get to be 78. And cancer of the tongue. When [the consultant] said to me, ‘If you don’t do anything you will be dead in three months', that takes the wind out of your sails." Did the diagnosis change him? "In retrospect you can’t change what you are. The characteristics that make you, the good and bad, will be there forever. What does happen is I have been much more aware of people having illnesses. When you are a young kid going to university aged 19 you think ‘I have loads of time to do everything.’ You haven’t. We live to be 60, 70 or 80 if we are lucky, and that goes very quickly.

"It teaches you to live life to the full because there might come a time when you are not well enough to do it. I get cross, mad and angry like I always did but I get over it quicker. I think, ‘Hell, does it really matter?’”

Sir Geoffrey insists he is resolutely focused on the future, but even this man — whose steel-clad self-belief elevated him into the pantheon of England's greatest batters — admits to regrets. “I try not to look back too much because it is history. But when I hear people say, ‘I would have lived my life just the same’, then I think they are a liar or an idiot. All of us should learn from experience.

“My biggest mistake is not marrying Rachael earlier and having two more daughters like my Emma. But I always just wanted to play cricket and do the best I could. If I missed out on other things, which I probably did, then I must live with it."

'I want my ashes thrown in the North Sea'


It is this side of his personality — the one with the harsher edges smoothed away, more open to admitting his own vulnerability — which the public rarely gets the chance to glimpse.

Yet it is there in every aspect of his life, right down to his willingness, post-cancer diagnosis, to embrace feng shui, and his devotion to chamomile and green tea, which help wash down his daily diet of 15 complementary medicinal tablets. “When I had cancer I took 32 apricot kernels that have cyanide in them. If you take too many you kill yourself but it helps fight the cancer cells. You try anything.”

He has been free from cancer for years but, in common with many his age, is not impervious to what might lie ahead. There is genuine emotion in his voice when he describes the plight of a former team-mate who has succumbed to dementia and now occasionally fails to recognise his own wife. "To finish up like that... tragic," he murmurs.

Neither does he flinch from thoughts of his own mortality, or what might come after. “If we can just go to sleep in our own bed and not wake up one morning that would be ideal. I would love to believe in God and that there is a hereafter and a heaven. But I can’t.

"For years now, I have had great difficulty in believing because you look around and there are so many people with terrible ailments and I find that very distressing. I think, well, if there was a God he would not let all these people suffer. I have been to Martin House Hospice in our village [Boston Spa]. It is a hospice for children who are not going to have a life. There are rooms for their mothers to stay for their last few nights. You go there and if your back is bad or you’re not feeling great, you think, ‘Hang on — remember those kids.’"

He has already decided what he wants to happen when he passed away although — in true Boycott fashion — his daughter was having none of it.

“I told Emma, when she was 10 or 11, ‘When I go, just cremate me. Take me to Scarborough, give my ashes to a fisherman, tell him to row out into the North Sea and pop me in there.’ Emma said, ‘Don’t be silly, Daddy, you can’t swim.’”

'My knighthood was spoilt for me. It was sad'
Of those “highs and valleys” he mentioned, the knighthood was the most extreme example. Confirmation that he had been made Sir Geoffrey in September 2019 fulfilled a lifelong ambition, but there was a sour postscript courtesy of the torrent of criticism the award received due to his conviction for assaulting a girlfriend, Margaret Moore, in France in 1998.

He knew what was coming, which is why he did not tell his family for more than a week after Theresa May had called him at the end of her time as Prime Minister to say she was putting him forward for the gong.

“She called me while I was out to dinner in Manchester. It was such a surprise I didn’t even tell Rachael or Emma. I kept it a secret. I thought let’s wait. In my life things have a habit of blowing up. Then a week later they were out shopping when I got another call. It was Emma. She said, ‘Have you got a Knighthood, Dad?’ I tried not to lie. I said, ‘Why? Maybe!’ They said they were getting calls from various press saying it was going to be announced tomorrow morning. I wasn't sure it was true until then.

“Some of the media, not all of them, tried to spoil it for me. The Australians call it the tall poppy syndrome. You get to the top and they lop off your head. With my life I am never totally sure about anything. When I am doing well, there is something around the corner. I am wary now.

"But, yes, it spoilt it. It was sad. It took away some of the enjoyment. It should have been one of the nicest days of my life, and Emma's and Rachael’s too.”


Even now, 22 years on, that court case hangs heavy over him. He was fined £5,300 and given a three-month suspended jail sentence, upheld on appeal, and ordered to pay a token one franc to Moore in compensation, but still fiercely maintains his innocence.

"It [the court case] is always going to be there. It is your worst nightmare. I did not hit anybody. I have no history of violence. I am frank, forthright, opinionated and honest. I can’t change that. It is my nature. But it is there, it is a cross I have to bear. What keeps me going is I know I didn’t do it.

"I was sandbagged by a French court. It started at 4pm, went to midnight. Eight hours straight. There was no jury, just a magistrate who asked questions. You could not cross-examine any of her statements. You could not check the facts. It is just one of those things I have to accept. I try and move on and not to have any bitterness about it."

There is anger, however, with the BBC. Not over his time as a commentator with Test Match Special ending this year, but because of the way the Corporation brought up his court case in an interview with the Today programme the day after his knighthood was made public. He lost his temper with the presenter, Martha Kearney, making an already combustible situation worse.

“I was set up," he says. "They said they wanted to talk to me about my knighthood and I felt I had a duty to do it. You get it because of something you have done publicly like my cricket and commentating so I felt I had a duty to speak to the public, not ignore them by putting out a statement.

"You think you are doing the right thing but all they were interested in was bringing up the court case. I have talked about it so many times but that is all they wanted to talk about. That was upsetting which is why I said, ‘I don’t give a toss about this.’ You expect better from the BBC don’t you? But it is not the BBC it used to be.”

'The BBC have sacrificed quality for equality'
There were many reasons why his contract as a TMS summariser was not renewed and he would not have been able to work in the Covid secure environment last summer anyway due to his health, but the programme has not replaced his honesty and ability to call out a player without fear or favour.

His verdict on TMS is again likely to court controversy. “They have sacrificed quality for equality. It is now all about political correctness, about gender and race. When you work for them you are wary and frightened of saying anything. It is a minefield out there and that is sad. I think long after I am dead there will be a government come along who will take away the BBC’s funding and they will have to go private, out into the real world like ITV and Sky because at the top, it is not run particularly well."


Sir Geoffrey's media career has lasted longer than his playing one, and has left just as sizeable a legacy — not simply in the lexicon of terms that have since been co-opted by other pundits ("corridor of uncertainty" is now as likely to be heard in a football commentary box as it is from the man who coined it), but in his style. As Fred Trueman once memorably put it, "If Geoffrey had played cricket the way he talked he would have had people queuing up to get into the ground instead of queuing up to leave."

With James Anderson and Stuart Broad on the threshold of emulating him by swapping dressing room for commentary box, he has some clear advice.

"Be yourself, even if you have an accent. Cross your fingers and your toes and hope the public likes what you say. Not all of them will. But you have to be yourself. If you are going to sit there frightened to death to say anything because the people you are talking about were recently your best friends then that will not get you anywhere. That does not mean you have to give negative comment but you have to say something of interest.

"Richie Benaud once said to me, ‘If you can say something to help the viewer or the listener help their enjoyment, then do it. They can see themselves if it is a good or bad shot. Give them something of interest.’

"Sometimes people think because you have played for England you should be a cheerleader for its players, but you are not. If they want sympathy or comfort, go to their families. If they want technical advice and help, they have coaches, doctors and physios. You can’t expect, when doing commentary, to be their best friend."

And what of England's stellar bowling duo — who is better equipped to succeed as a pundit? “Stuart will do well. Jimmy is a nice lad but he finds it difficult to say anything of substance.”

'Test cricket will have to change in 10 years'
It is 58 years since Sir Geoffrey made his first debut for Yorkshire — he was dismissed for four in both innings against touring Pakistan — and the game on which he commentates now is almost unrecognisable to that which greeted him in 1962.

It is intriguing to think how the man who once listed his occupation on a South African embarkation card as "making runs" would fare in a world of reverse flamingo shots, 200-plus strike-rates and international Twenty20 franchises.

Sir Geoffrey has no doubt. “I would buy as many big empty suitcases as I could and every time I went to a T20 league I would say, ‘Can you fill this with £50 notes please!’ Cricket only follows life. I loved my time playing county cricket but you can’t be criticising young kids for playing T20. That kind of money might never come along in their lifetimes again.”

Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Jonny Bairstow plays a shot during VIVO IPL cricket T20 match against Delhi Capitals in New Delhi, India, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Players like Jonny Bairstow now make a lot of their living in T20 leagues like the IPL CREDIT: Altaf Qadri /AP
It is why he will not be teaching young Joshua the merits of a solid forward defensive stroke any time soon. “Teach him to whack it!" he cries. "If he does that he can be rich before he is 30.”

He admits Test cricket is more entertaining now, and loves the modern way of batting, but would like to see four-day Tests, rather than five.

“I find it enjoyable but Test cricket has to change. Life has got faster and quicker and that is why T20 has taken off. Test cricket may limp along for another 10 years but after that it can’t carry on in the same fashion. Any good businessman would say, ‘Hang on I don’t want to let it get worse, I want to stop it now’. The way to do that is to alter things.

"We have to concertina the five days into four. It is not a matter of how many days, it is a matter of how many overs bowled. If you check the stats of all the Tests this year in England, the matches finished, win or a loss, within 350 and 370 overs. To make the game better you have to get them bowling more overs in a day.

“The administrators are failing the game. But what do you expect? They are accountants, businessmen, They don’t have a heart and feel for the game. They love it but all they see are bottom lines.”

'My next hundred will be the hardest of all'
Whenever a batsman reaches 80, thoughts start to form about three figures. Sir Geoffrey scored 151 first-class hundreds; only four men have scored more, all in different eras, and they were all long retired before he started out.

Can he turn 151 into 152? He is only a couple of fours and nudged singles away from raising his bat again. “Well, to be honest I really think making this next hundred will be the most difficult of all. Probably impossible. It only happens to a few. A few years ago I went to Old Trafford and this old guy was waiting for me. He said, ‘Geoffrey ‘will you come to my 100th birthday party?’ I asked how old he was now and he said 98. I said, ‘If you are still here, I will come’.

"He has just died aged 105. His wife died at 102. And let me tell you he was as bright as a button. Had not lost any of his faculties. Wonderful man. I would love to be like that.”

And with that, it is time to go, to start marking out the guard and continue working on the longest hundred of them all.

Sven Roeder 9:38 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
There were some brilliant bowlers in his era and obviously some times he was shot out as in the famous over from M H
But he does like telling everyone how HE would do better

Of course one tip might be to react to not being made England captain around 1974 and to refuse to play at all.
So dodging Lillee & Thomson in the 1974/75 series & leaving it to 42yo Colin Cowdrey to deal with it.

Far Cough 9:32 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Always interesting to listen to even if you disagree with him & snort at his idea that HE could play any modern bowler having a good day with a stick of rhubarb




Two words, Michael Holding

Sven Roeder 9:14 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Could you Eddie B it from behind the paywall for us non Telegraph readers?

Fascinating character
Always interesting to listen to even if you disagree with him & snort at his idea that HE could play any modern bowler having a good day with a stick of rhubarb
Great technique but a deadly dull selfish batsman whose only interest was HIS performance.

Coffee 9:03 Fri Oct 23
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Good read on Geof Boycott's 80th:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2020/10/21/sir-geoffrey-boycott-80-modern-test-cricket-knighthood-bbc-sacrificing/?WT.mc_id=e_DM1298663&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_Edi_New_Reg&utmsource=email&utm_medium=Edi_Edi_New_Reg20201022&utm_campaign=DM1298663

Sven Roeder 9:32 Wed Oct 21
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Ha ha

Still coining it in
Probably fortunate not to be in Adelaide having to bowl at Cameron Green

Dr Matt 9:27 Wed Oct 21
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Any news on Poor man’s GBH?

Sven Roeder 7:44 Wed Oct 21
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
S African government have given the go ahead for England’s white ball tour next month
Will play 3 T20’s (Nov 27,29 & Dec 1) & 3 ODI’s (Dec 4, 6 & 9)

Westside 12:37 Wed Oct 21
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Sir Chef voted Cricket Writers' Club player of the year.

Zak Crawley young player.

Sven Roeder 5:25 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Supposedly seeded based on the 2019 Championship & 2020 Bob
Guess that’s why Essex & Somerset are apart

ABDeV puts Archer over the fence for RCB to win with 2 balls to spare
55no off 22 balls
70/0 off the last 5 overs

Westside 4:54 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
For the initial group stages, is it just a random allocation of teams? Any seedings?

Obviously not regional.

Sven Roeder 11:50 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Misses the NSW Sheffield Shield game v WA starting Monday
Just bought another house with his IPL wage packet this month

Dr Matt 11:34 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Any news on Pat Cummins?

Sven Roeder 11:34 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Yes, in the Division One you wouldnt play the other team thats qualified from your initial group again

6 teams , playing 5 home and 5 away and the top two go on
Someones been watching the Sheffield Shield

Far Cough 11:08 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
So that's two more trophies for ESSEX then?

Iron Duke 10:54 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
The six teams in Division One play a further four matches.

I suppose they must somehow factor in the games already played against the other team who qualified for Division One, even though that would have been two matches.

The format sounds good in theory. Keeps things competitive.

Sven Roeder 10:36 Sat Oct 17
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Revision of the County game for 2021 will see Essex defend the County Championship title AND the Bob Willis Trophy

The County Championship groups
Group 1: Essex, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Durham.
Group 2: Somerset, Hampshire, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Leicestershire.
Group 3: Kent, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan, Sussex.

How will it work?
Each county will play 10 four-day games in the group stage - five home and five away.
The top two teams in each group will go through to a second group stage called Division One.
The six teams in Division One play a further four matches, with the side that finishes top of Division One crowned 2021 County Championship winners.
The top two teams in Division One will contest five-day Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord's.
The remaining 12 teams that do not go into Division One will move into Divisions Two and Three, in which teams will play another four matches.


So, a mixture of a league system for the Championship & a final playoff for the Bob Willis

Dr Matt 2:46 Tue Oct 13
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
10 matches under the new no ball law.

5 wickets.

409 runs.

Average of over 81.

Far Cough 7:49 Mon Oct 5
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Should be Baron Botham of Headingly 1981

Sven Roeder 7:47 Mon Oct 5
Re: Bob Willis Trophy
Baron Botham of Ravensworth

Page 1 - Next




Copyright 2006 WHO.NET | Powered by: