05 July 2009

The Duckworth-Lewis Method

Not, as some readers might assume, the method your significant other uses to prevent you watching The Premiership on Sky, because they have to watch Coronation Street, and then the continuing adventures of Inspector Morses brickie turned detective sidekick.

Nor the method of calculating the target score of the second cricket team to bat following a break in play due to rain.

But very much cricket related, for Duckworth and Lewis are the alter egos of one Thomas Walsh (whom I've never heard of), and Neil Hammon - he of The Divine Comedy, Father Ted theme tune, and seminal work for the aforementioned show, My Lovely Horse.

With the Ashes just 4 days away, it's perfect timing for an album based around the joys of Cricket. There are dozens, if not hundreds of football related songs, with a couple coming out each year for the domestic finals, and then countless others at every Euro and World Cup, but when it comes to cricket, there are woefully few.

There's 10ccs Dreadlock Holiday, and Rory Bremner had a stab with n-n-nineteen


By far my favourite was one that my friend Nick brought back from Australia entitled 'Come on Aussie Come on'. I managed to find a copy of it on YouTube, but it was it's B-side 'Lah lah la la laaaah West Indies' that was the real crowd pleaser. Nick, if you've still got it on vinyl, and have the ways and means to digitise it, I'd love a copy.



But back to present day, and a whole album of cricket.

Piss take, parody, or pop gold? Lets find out.....

1) The Coin Toss - Set's the mood nicely. Let's play.

2) The Age of Revolution - It's got a 20's baseline, modern electronica, and conjures up the modern history of the game nicely. Duckworth and Lewis' first delivery finds line and length, but doesn't really challenge the batsman.

3) Gentlemen and Players - A bit like if 'Love' had put down their spliffs and knocked the ball about a bit. Wistful and summery. Just how village cricket should be, but not the Ashes. No balls to it, a no ball it is.

4) The Sweet Spot - Glam-rock-tastic. Hits the sweetspot, and it's over the pavilion and out onto The Edgware Road.

5) Jiggery Pokery - The tale of the First Test 1993 as told by Mike Gatting. An easy first innings target at Old Trafford. Merv Hughes, Ather's, Dickie Bird, and the debut of a certain young leg spinner taking him for a duck. I remember Gatts, and I hate Shane Warne too. We all do.

6) Mason on the Boundary - Delightful. Dreams of long summer days, and having a little sit down in the outfield. Just how fielding should be.

7) Rain Stops Play - Instrumental break in the proceedings, pull on the covers and go and make a cup of tea, it's only a shower....

8) Meeting Mr Miandad - Hannon/Lewis at his witty best. Off to Pakistan in a VW Camper Van. An historical, phantasmagorical destiny. I'm going to be humming this for days. It's another six.

9) The Nightwatchman - The melancholy song of the fall guy brought up the batting order at the end of the day so one of the big hitters doesn't lose his wicket to failing light. I remember Jack Russell coming on as a nightwatchman against Sri Lanka in the 80's and still being there the following lunch time, nearly making a century. Not bad for a banana eating, floppy hatted, wicket keeping Derek Smalls lookalike.

10) Flatten the Hay - Still full of whimsy. Duckworth and Lewis clearly like their cricket in the cucumber sandwiches and tea in the pavilion variety.

11) Test Match Special - Who doesn't love a bit of TMS.

12) The End of the Over - The official end of the album on the sleeve, but as I bought it from itunes, it's patently obvious that there's a hidden bonus track....

13) Pedalo - The funky misadventures of a man on a pedalo in the Caribbean. What on earth could this have to do with cricket?

All in all it's quite a nice little listen. As expected from Neil Hannon, it's clever lyrics and generally full of optimism for an idyllic English (or Irish) summer, watching gentleman players as the sun goes down on the village pitch. Neither piss take nor parody. He proper likes cricket, alhough his glasses are rather more rose tinted than the sporty wraparounds favoured by players these days.

I will be mostly watching the games finish via a pop up window on my pc at work Ball by ball scores, praying for a miracle. And that's provided each Test isn't all wrapped up in 4 days...

You never know, Australia might lose.

Because that's what it will take, not England winning - we're clearly not good enough for that, Australia need to lose. But given their (Andrew Symondsless) showing in the Twenty20, anything is possible.

At least we won't be beaten by Duckworth-Lewis in the event of rain (unlike Twenty20), because in Test Cricket you can still play for 5 days and come away with a draw.

What a great sport.

4 comments:

  1. Trying to come up with yet more cricket puns but so far i'm stumped

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