Wednesday, 27 November 2013

1980s: England batting collapses

The twin collapses at Brisbane last week reminded English cricket supporters of a certain age of some dark days in the past. The 1990s, and in particular the surrender at Melbourne in 1990, were recalled as examples of an era where England were more than likely to wilt under any kind of pressure. But the 1980s also featured some incredible displays of English catastrophes, the foundations built in the sand for the decade that followed.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

1986-87 Ashes: Chris Broad

The usual suspects apart - Botham, Lamb and Gower - my first few English cricketing heroes were slightly unexpected. Tim Robinson had been part of the foundations behind the 1985 Ashes success, his first innings at Headingley dragging me into a sport which I have subsequently spent far too much time worrying about. And then came Richard Ellison, the icing on the cake at the conclusion of that series, giving me my first taste of Ashes victory. The 1986/87 Ashes tour would provide me with another example of a man in the right form, in the right place, at the best of times; Brian Christopher Broad, or Chris as his mates (like me) call him, was about to write his own chapters in the history of the Ashes.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

1986 World Cup play-off: Belgium v Netherlands

Although matches between the Netherlands and Belgium may not possess quite the same level of rivalry as say Dutch-German meetings, there is no doubting that the Derby der Lage Landen/les Pays-Bas is still of vital importance to both sets of supporters. Even more so when the extra incentive of a place at the World Cup finals is added to the mix, as was the case in the Autumn of 1985. The two-legged play-off between the sides would decide which country would be making the trip to Mexico in 1986. Failure for both just wasn't an option.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

1986-87 FA Cup: First round

This may startle you slightly, but the FA made mistakes back in the 1980s too. Take the first round draw for the FA Cup in October 1986. Twenty-three ties had been drawn out of the velvet bag before Darlington appeared. The only problem was that the north-east team had been wrongly placed in the southern section of the draw, and faced a 600 mile round-trip to Bournemouth. Cue panic at Lancaster Gate and an abandonment of the draw. After some jiggery-pokery, Darlington were rightfully placed in the northern section - Halesowen and Oldbury Town shifted to the southern half - and the draw for the first round proper of the 1986/87 FA Cup was concluded, well, properly.