Monday, 25 March 2013

1980s cricket pitch invasions

Anyone who tuned into Sky's coverage of the first day of the second Test between New Zealand and England at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, may well have noticed something unusual on the outfield during the start of England's innings. A paradise shelduck was patrolling the midwicket/cover region, obviously oblivious to the fact that there was a Test match going off out there, and unaware that within hours he would become a international superstar. Perhaps it is a reflection of this mad, and some may say sad world in which we live, that this bird now has a Twitter account with over a thousand followers (I'm not jealous, honest).

An intruder on the cricketing field of play is not a new phenomenon though; the 1980s alone has numerous examples of pitch invasions, some funny, some not so. This week we take a look back at some of the notable encroachments or plain trespassing on to cricket grounds in the eighties, starting with another animal destined for his five minutes of fame.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

1989: Wales v England (Rugby Union)

Whilst watching Wales dash England's Grand Slam hopes so spectacularly in Cardiff last Saturday, I reminded myself of the fact that this wasn't the first time during my English rugby supporting life that a trip across the Severn Bridge had ended in sporting despair. Defeat against a strong Welsh team that actually claimed the 2013 championship cushioned the blow a tiny bit, yet it was a completely different experience watching championship chasing England leave Cardiff empty handed on March 19, 1989. A loss that still hurts 24 years on.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

1986: Brazilian Grand Prix

A very wise man once wrote in this blog that Nigel Mansell probably didn't want the 1985 Grand Prix season to end. After waiting 72 races to stand highest on the podium at Brands Hatch, Mansell then went and won again in the very next race in South Africa, and although he wasn't able to make it three in a row in Australia, optimism for the 1986 season was nevertheless high. Joined in the Williams team by two-time World Champion Nelson Piquet - who was believed to be on a contract worth a whopping £2 million - it was reasonable to assume that the teamwork between the two fierce rivals was always likely to be lacking. Piquet's desire to be the number one driver in the team, coupled with Mansell's determination to prove himself the equal if not better of his Brazilian team-mate, led to friction throughout the season, and would cause more harm than good to Williams. But before then and just prior to the start of the Formula One season in Brazil, the team was hit by a personal tragedy, one which put any future arguments into perspective.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

1984-85 FA Cup: Sixth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth rounds of the 1984/85 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here and here.

On the face of it, the quarter finals of the 1985 FA Cup were hardly dramatic from a footballing perspective. All four teams expected to progress did so, although one Merseyside giant almost fell by the wayside before recovering to return the form book to its rightful position. But football in the 1980s was a complicated sport, with headlines not just confined to matters on the field of play. After the winter related headaches of the previous rounds, surely spring couldn't be any worse? There were even some small rays of sunshine enveloping English football on the Friday before the quarter finals, with the Daily Express reporting 'England Euro hopes rising' prior to a UEFA decision regarding the host nation of Euro 88. What the country needed now was for a quiet few days leading up to the UEFA verdict. What it got however, was anything but.