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Milan Cricket Club MMXII - of muppets and malaises

Someone once opined that football is for muppets – true enough : I mean, consider the lot of a midfield player – statistics will show that he ran for 9.3 kms during a match, he chalked up a number of assists over any given season; throw in a few goals for good measure, and that’s it ..... most of the glory goes elsewhere. Defenders have it much worse – vilification is just a bad tackle away.
Now stop and consider the language used to describe the action on the pitch : “nutmegging” is about as linguistically complex as it gets ... “errr, well, Giggsy sort of floated in a cross and I, er, just basically, er, sort of stuck it in the back of the net” ...... that ain’t exactly lighting my lexical fire. Yet in other sporting realms, just a keeper’s outstretched glove away, you can find such gems as this :
“ Peterson was on the Northern line, but Mishab was on the Bakerloo” – nothing short of brilliant. And it shows a keen insight into the state of London transport ( anyone travelling on the Northern Line is asking for trouble !) Feast upon the lexical cornucopia provided by, and you may well never listen to a footie commentary again in your life.

But there is another thing that cricket offers, something that will afflict you all, no matter who you are or what level you play at. There is a malaise – nay, a disease - which secretly we all suffer from – often debilitating ( ask Tendulkar ) and very long-lasting - just for the sake of argument I’m going to call it ‘Kartikitis’ ( check Lancet –it has to be in there somewhere ) – “What is this mysterious affliction?” I hear you cry. It is ..... the pursuit of your very own set of statistics – your personal haul for the season. You can count your catches, stumpings, run out assists, wickets, maidens, and of course runs ( subdivisions for fours and sixes of course). The beauty of this game is that everybody has the opportunity to chalk up some statistical glory – and we all go home after a match fervently hoping that we’ll be able to casually mention that we hit a six or got 3 wickets (just like Kartik did once.... or twice ..... or 3 times .....or 4 times or ... ). Who would admit to going home and actually noting down their triumphs in a little book somewhere....? Not me, for sure ( I don’t even know where I put my book....)

So here we are at the season opener : Serie C is just a distant memory – just as well, really, as the accompanying admin was beginning to make the paperwork in “Jarndyce vs Jarndyce” ( whatever the Dickens that is) look simple in comparison........ so what delights are in store ?

MCC vs YMCA “Young man, there’s no need to feel down, I said young
man, get yourself to our ground, and you can play - some - cricket ….. ( sorry –
just getting into the idiom there ) – April sees a tough fixture against some
quality opponents : a touring side from the YMCA.

MCC vs CERN In July we are off to play atop the LHC ( large hideous collider )
near Geneva which, as you may know is a scienti…. What ? Mistake ? I’m sorry :
you’re right : atop the large hideously expensive collider in CERN ( probably stands for
Crazily Expensive Racetrack for Neutrons).

August tour to Ireland : Cead mille failte ( That’s Irish for “I like you, so it
must be your round, and where’s that thousand euros you owe me ?” )

Zuoz : about as much fun as you can have - without going to Canada.

Canada VISAS A fast and furious 6-a-side tournament : about as much fun as
you can have without taking your clothes off – and may well involve taking your clothes off.

So – plenty to do – sign up for the games and go harvest your stats. I’m going to give you all ahead-start and miss the first game – I’m off to the UK to explain to various relations that a) I don’t spend my days on a sun-kissed Tuscan hillside drinking Chianti and munching fettucine and b) there is no such thing as a Dolmio day.


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Thoughts on the Lombardy league 2011

The competition was a total success last year – a brilliant work of genius from Mike de Morgan: well done to him for having engineered it.    

Well done, too, to  Milan for winning the 2010 competition! How will we fare as defending champions in 2011? Is the motivation still there? I would argue that in spite of the fact that even greater glories are up for grabs this year
( Milan are to play in the Italian federation’s Serie C ), the Lombardy league is just as important as it was last year – the competition has been expanded, and now comprises 2 pools of teams which will do battle before the best proceed to a play-off. So the road to victory is longer, and presumably certain teams Milan will have to outwit will be out for revenge: Milan will have to fire on all cylinders, also because we are without the influential Craig this season. On the plus side there is an ever-increasing pool of players on which to draw, so the omens are good.  

I speak from experience when I say that winning a game is one thing, but winning a game when a cup is at stake is another – those of you who have braved the snows of Zuoz will know what I am talking about (and that’s another score we will have to settle in the future! ) 


As I see it: The Lombardy League 2010

The first edition of the Lombardy league is drawing to a close, so this would seem an appropriate moment to ask a question : why exactly are we having  a league ?

Speaking as a player (sic) with some years of MCC experience, I believe that the league will breathe life into games which, in the past, have run the risk of becoming a bit stale – every March you look at the fixture list and you see “MCC vs Idle” for the umpteenth time – stifling a yawn you quickly review the opposition: you wonder how Joe Torti managed to take 5 wickets a few yearsa ago, you know what shoe size they each are, you suppose  Mario will get out for nought yet again and you ask yourself whether will Shanta get 2 or 62 when he bats : we are that familiar with them.

But now the stakes are higher, as each result is now part of bigger challenge – the 5 teams involved play each other just once (given the appalling weather this spring it’s a miracle any of the matches were completed – as I write it is still teeming down some 3 days after Milan’s match against The Settimo Indians was reluctantly abandoned) – and you get two points for a win. But I really believe that the lure of the prize inspires you to try harder (tho’ you could be forgiven for doubting this if you look at my performance!) – if you take to the field with a win under your belt you have something to build on;  if you have 2 wins you start to dare to dream, and with 3 ? Well – one more big concerted effort and it’s ours.   

Time, of course, will tell whether this esprit de corps can be maintained – much depends on the captain’s motivating and marshalling skills

(something I have come to appreciate over the years) – but the  concept of the league is an excellent basis on which to start – so a big vote of thanks to Mike de Morgan who set the thing up – no easy task, I imagine – thanks also to all the people in the other teams who have contributed. 

On a lighter note I found out to today that due to the afore-mentioned rain-affected result The Duckworth–Lewis system had been used to calculate the winning margin – for those of you who are unfamiliar with how this works (and there might just be one or two of you out there ) it goes like this :

“The essence of the D/L method is 'resources'. Each team is taken to have two 'resources' to use to make as many runs as possible: the number of overs they have to receive; and the number of wickets they have in hand. At any point in any innings, a team's ability to score more runs depends on the combination of these two resources. Looking at historical scores, there is a very close correspondence between the availability of these resources and a team's final score, a correspondence which D/L exploits.

Using a published table which gives the percentage of these combined resources remaining for any number of overs (or, more accurately, balls) left and wickets lost, the target score can be adjusted up or down to reflect the loss of resources to one or both teams when a match is shortened one or more times. This percentage is then used to calculate a target (sometimes called a 'par score') that is usually a fractional number of runs. If the second team passes the target then the second team is taken to have won the match; if the match ends when the second team has exactly met (but not passed) the target (rounded down to the next integer) then the match is taken to be a tie.”

This from Wikipedia.  Now be honest: do these two paragraphs not make you lose the will to live?

I pause only to note two things:

1) For all their prowess with statistics and for all their impressive qualifications there is no mention of either Mr Duckworth or Mr Lewis ever having had any actual cricketing experience.

2) I feel that the phrase    “… then take away the number you first thought  of”  would improve things immeasurably……


May 2010


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