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Talking Points - News From This Angle

American captain on fraud charge

STEVE Massiah made his United States debut with a rapid century against a Minor Counties XI at Stone in Staffordshire in 2000 before climbing the ladder to the captaincy. So this week's news of his arrest and charge in New York with an alleged £32,000 mortgage fraud has stunned the American cricket community.

Massiah, 32, was one of three men accused of defrauding banks and mortgage companies through loan applications. An alleged co-conspirator was Ed Ahmad, a cricket enthusiast who sponsored the Ed Ahmad Caribbean Cup, New York's premier tournament for four years to 2008. The Minor Counties XI, captained by Bryan Jones, would remember Massiah very well, as the former Guyana Under-19 batsman smashed a defiant 116 in 105 balls in a seven-run defeat at Stone. He could now miss the United States attempt to qualify for the World Twenty20 in Arab Emirates next March.

It is more than four years since the former England batsman Wayne Larkins was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence at Taunton Crown Court for his part in a £155,000 mortgage fraud involving the purchase of a holiday home in France.

Posted by Charlie Randall
17/12/2011 17:48:23

Hussain and Gooch take film parts

FORMER England captains Nasser Hussain and Graham Gooch are to appear in an Indian-made film with a cricket background due for release this week as the 2011 World Cup approaches.

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The film, called Patiala House , starring Akshay Kumar, features Wasim Akram, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds, Hussain and Gooch to add authenticity as relationships among a Punjabi immigrant family in Southall are stretched to breaking point by a son's England cricket ambitions.

The idea is similar to the charming 2002 hit Bend It Like Beckham , set in Hounslow with Parminder Nagra as the Sikh girl defying her parents' wishes to play football.

Other cricket films of note include Aamir Khan's Lagaan in 2001, about a group of poor Indian villagers who take on their British colonial masters at cricket, and the much less successful Iqbal , a 2005 film about a cricket-mad boy from a remote Indian village who dreams of playing for the national side.

Posted by Author Name
11/02/2011 15:08:04

Blaze damages Bradford pavilion

ANOTHER cricket club has had its pavilion seriously damaged by fire, with arson being suspected. Riddlesden CC, in Bradford, face the prospect of rebuilding after Keighley and Bingley fire fighters fought a blaze for an hour on Monday mornin.

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Some of the stone pavilion was saved after a police officer raised the alarm when he saw smoke at about 6am, according to the Bradford Telegraph & Argus . The pavilion was well alight by the time the first fire fighters arrived. Nassir Kamal, a member, said the family club was devastated by the event. "We’ve had one or two minor bits of vandalism before, but nothing like this has ever happened," he said.

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/09/2010 11:12:37

Young cricketer found hanged

A YOUNG club cricketer was found hanging from a tree in Sheffield early on Saturday morning on Sept 18 after his best season with the bat for Bawtry.

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Shocked club members paid tribute to Daniel Mothersdale, 21, in the Sheffield Star after his death in Green Park was announced. A trainee quantity surveyor, he was described in the club's website as a talented batsman who spent time coaching youth players and "enriched the lives" of many people at Bawtry CC.

The club's treasurer Paul Warren said: "It is clearly a massive shock to his family and everyone at the club. I don't really know what has happened. Daniel joined us when he was about 12 and, along with many others, I had the privilege of playing with him. He was a fine cricketer and a fine young man. He spent a lot of his time helping coach the junior players and he will be greatly missed. He was a very, very talented young man, and the many tributes I have received over the weekend reflect that."

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/09/2010 10:59:17

Thieves dig holes in Orsett pitches

THE Essex club Orsett has had its pitches spoilt by holes dug with garden tools probably stolen from a nearby school shed, the Thurrock Gazette has reported.

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Vandals caused more than £2,000 of damage, digging 14 areas of the cricket square during the night when a break-in was reported by the next-door Orsett Church of England Primary School - which is next door to the cricket pitch.

Vice-chairman of the Orsett club, Graham Tidman, said: "We are all very upset about this. It's going to cost a lot of money to put it right. Every single one of the strips on the square has been damaged -- it's mindless. We have up to 70 kids down here each Friday night, and we usually have games Saturday and Sunday.

Thurrock police confirmed the break-in at the school and added: "A fork and a spade were stolen and a trail was discovered to the cricket pitch. The turf was dug up. A considerable amount of damage has been caused and we need the public's help to identify those responsible."

Posted by Charlie Randall
24/06/2010 10:41:48

Limavady CC ruined by weedkiller

THE cricket square of a club in Northern Ireland has been destroyed by vandals with dire financial consequences. Limavady CC, in County Londonderry, will be unable to host matches this summer after weedkiller was poured on to their pitches, killing all the grass.

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Club chairman Ivan Lapsley said the repair bill for the grass would be about £5,000 and he added: "It has dire consequences for the club financially because we would rely on the income from home games. They are now going to be played away from home, so we won't have any income for three or four months."

Until this setback Limavady had been playing their matches away in any case during work to improve the grounds and facilities, funded by a Sports Council grant. "We're almost halfway through the season and we've been playing all our games away from home because the outfield hadn't been in proper condition," Lapsley said. "But now that it's ready we've been upset by this mindless vandalism."

Posted by Charlie Randall
24/06/2010 10:40:53

Jon Lewis despairs at T20 'madness'

THE Gloucestershire and former England seam-bowler Jon Lewis has criticised in a radio interview the "madness" of the structure of the FP Twenty20 competition this summer.

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The views of bowlers tend to be disregarded in this format, but Lewis has credibility as a durable player who rarely complains without reason. He believes that facing 16 group qualifying games in the space of six weeks is too demanding. "It's frustrating, to be honest," Lewis said on BBC Radio Bristol. "I'm not one to moan about how much cricket we play, but the way the structure has been put together it's just madness at the moment."

He added: "We have a small squad and, without a doubt, there will be guys picking up injuries in this competition purely and simply because of all the travelling we're having to do."

Somerset's director of cricket Brian Rose, with influence in the ECB, tends to agree. "When we get the financial results from the T20 overall towards, say, the end of July, then I think everybody can make a much fairer interpretation," said Rose, a member of the ECB cricket committee. "My own personal opinion is that we're playing four too many games in the T20 qualifying group. I think 10 or 12 is enough."

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/06/2010 13:49:29

Neil Dexter is made Middlesex captain

THE former Kent all-rounder Neil Dexter is to take over the captaincy of Middlesex in his first season after the surprise announcement today that Shaun Udal is to step down.

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Dexter, 25, a South African, is due to lead his new county in an away 20-overs match against Glamorgan on June 26 after a short stint by Adam Gilchrist during the Friends Provident Twenty20 tournament.

Udal apparently has become disillusioned by Middlesex's poor form, though he remains available for selection. A Middlesex official said he had captained Middlesex with "enthusiasm and pride" since September 2008, but that the former Hampshire off-spiner believed the time was right for someone else to captain the club.

Middlesex’s managing director of cricket Angus Fraser said: "Shaun took over the captaincy at an extremely difficult time for the club and has led the side with energy and pride. During the two years he has been in charge he has helped create a united team and a positive environment. He now has a key role to play in assisting his successor, Neil Dexter.

"Shaun cares passionately about how Middlesex CCC performs and has worked extremely hard to turn the team in to a winning outfit, but the indifferent cricket we continue to play has worn him down. It has affected his bowling too. Shaun is an intelligent and articulate man and he feels the team needs a change in leadership.

"His decision is respected by everyone at Middlesex CCC who would all like to thank him for the commitment he has shown during his time in charge. Shaun is not having the best of seasons, but he still has a role to play on the field. Unless I hear otherwise he is available for selection for teams that will be picked on merit."

"Neil Dexter was identified as a worthy successor to Udal earlier in the season and he will captain the club once Adam Gilchrist leaves. Neil is an extremely impressive young man. He is a fine player and is highly respected by everyone at the club."

Udal said captaining Middlesex had been a huge honour. "Letting go of something like that is extremely difficult," he said, "but Angus Fraser and I have agreed that this is the best way forward for the club. I would like to continue playing for Middlesex and will give my full support to both Adam Gilchrist and Neil Dexter."

Gilchrist captained the Deccan Chargers to success in the 2009 Indian Premier League and led Australia in all forms of the game with distinction.

Posted by Charlie Randall
11/06/2010 16:29:49

Gary Scott 186 has records tumbling

THE former Durham batsman Gary Scott hit the highest individual score on record in the 50-over Minor Counties Cricket Association Trophy as Northumberland amassed the highest total, 394 for six, against Cheshire at Jesmond.

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The short straight boundaries in front of Osborne Avenue and the cemetery took a peppering as Scott smashed 186, including 12 sixes, to overtake the previous best 164 by Norfolk all-rounder Stephen Plumb in 1986. Not surprisingly Cheshire finished well beaten by 219 runs.

The previous highest total was Staffordshire’s 378 in 2002. Cheshire began a hopeless pursuit badly when Matt Muchall claimed three early wickets, including former Derbyshire pair Nathan Dumelow and Ben Spendlove.

Posted by Charlie Randall
18/05/2010 11:24:19

Romans hold sway at Musselburgh

ROMAN altar stones dating back almost 2,000 years have delayed work at a cricket pavilion in Musselburgh.

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The BBC reported that after the discovery of these ancient relics and other artefacts -- described as the most significant find of their kind in the past 100 years -- renovations were put on hold while archaeologists surveyed the area.

George Findlater, senior inspector of ancient monuments at Historic Scotland, said: "The stones have carvings and quite possibly inscriptions which can have a wealth of information on them, a lot of data about the people and their religion at that time." At least one of the altars is from the 2nd Century and is dedicated to the Roman God Jupiter.

Councillor Paul McLennan, a member of theEast Lothian Council, said: "The discovery of these remains is particularly exciting as it is not often that Roman altar stones are discovered during an archaeological excavation in Scotland. This helps with the emerging picture of life in and around the Roman fort at Inveresk during the second century."

Posted by Charlie Randall
26/04/2010 11:58:58
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