Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sir Ian's home is where his heart is

The progress Durham has made in just 21 years has astounded Sir Ian Botham, OBE.
During a break in play at the Ashes Test, 'Beefy' reflected on Durham's double anniversary - ten years of  Test matches and 21 years in the First Class of English cricket.
He said: "These are big times at Durham - it's remarkable how far it has come in such a short time from the days when I was playing first class cricket here in the first year at half a dozen grounds around the country like Hartlepool and Darlington.
"The first Test we played here against Zimbabwe was just ten years ago and now we have an Ashes Test at one of the best grounds in the country.
"If you turn the clock back further to when we first came into first class cricket playing with the likes of David Graveney, Dean Jones, Paul Parker, Andy Fothergill, Wayne Larkins, Graham Fowler, John Glendinning and Simon Brown we would never have thought that this would happen so quickly.
"It's terrific, its great for Durham and the academy is also producing good home grown players. It is all very much happening up here."
Having lived just 40 minutes away from the Emirates Durham ICG for nearly 30 years, Sir Ian said he regards the region as his home.
"The North East is probably as well supported sports-wise as anywhere else in the country. It can manage two premiership sides, a championship side and premiership rugby. It has great golf courses, it's got everything - rivers with fish in them - it is a wonderful place to live and I'm always banging the drum for cricket up here," he said.


Beefy has walked about 10,000 miles raising money for leukaemia research and it's profile.
And he reckons he has raised somewhere between £15 million and £20 million.
His John O'Groats to Lands End walks are as legendary as the man himself and the difference  made is massive.
He said: "When we started the first walk in 1986 there was a 20% chance of survivial for youngsters with the most common form of leukaemia and that is now 92%."
Sir Ian is President of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and it's not just leukaemia research that benefits from his walking in the UK and overseas, including a hike over the Alps.
In November he will be walking through the jungles of Sri Lanka for the Laurens Sport for Good Foundation created after the Tsunami of 2004 and the countries civil war.

England captain Alastair Cook hails the Emirates Durham ICG after Ashes series win

England captain Alastair Cook has hailed Durham Cricket Club and the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground hailing the venue as "fantastic".

The Three Lions won the Ashes series at the Emirates Durham ICG after beating Australia by 74 runs as nine wickets fell in the evening session on day four of the 4th Investec Test, when Stuart Broad picked up six wickets in just 49 deliveries.

Cook said: "I thought it did fantastically well, we were lucky with the weather I think just down the road might have got a bit of a barrage.

"The four days were fantastic, I thought the crowd were brilliant, the wicket was a different wicket than what we were used to in England and it was a bit of a more low scoring game but I thought it produced some fantastic cricket and very entertaining.

"We like coming to Durham and it was a good game."

Knock-out Boxeroos

Nine foot tall boxing kangaroos sparred with spectators.
Fans nicknamed the 'Boxeroos', Warner and Root after the earlier much-publicised 'punch' incident between the opening batsmen, Australian David Warner and Joe Root of England.
And behind the masks were 22-year-old's Josh Greenslade from Bognor Regis and Tim Wong from Kings Lynn.
The University of Nottingham friends - who now both have degrees - were employed to entertain the crowds by global entertainment company, Area 51.
It's a physically demanding job, only possible in hour-long sessions and the unique blade-runner style stilts (unveiled below) means they can never stand still.
Tim said: "To keep your balance means you can never stand still. Its about four times as tiring as running or trampolining and really energy intensive.
"We've had some great banter with the fans - although many of them were really disappointed to discover we don't come from Australia!"
The Boxeroos tower above Yorkshire tea lady, 27-year-old Carly Sunderland, from York.

Best Test day "in the world"

Dedicated England fan David Charlton, from Blyth, Northumberland, couldn't wait to see his first Ashes in his home North East having travelled the world watching Test cricket.

"I've been to four continents watching Test cricket and I've seen the best day ever on my own doorstep. The match was fantastic and also being able to meet one of my sporting heroes made it one of the most memorable days of my life."
David has been to all the grounds in England since he saw his first Test at Headingley at the age of eight and he's been to Barbados twice, Galle in Sri Lanka, Durban and Centurion in South Africa and Perth and Melbourne in Australia 
On his travels, he has met many players from England and the opposition teams but had two burning ambitions he hoped to fulfil - to meet Beefy and Bumble - Ian Botham and David Lloyd.
DurhamAshes.blogspot had a word with Ian Botham and he was only too pleased to make a dream come true during the rain break on day four at the Emirates Durham ICG.
See earlier blog posting "Three year wait worth it for globe trotting Ashes fan"

No 'skipping' the kangaroo burgers!

Burgers made out of kangaroo meat proved really popular for the Ashes faithful.
Hungry fans from both England and Australia queued for the tasty treat - and they were sold out on day four.
John Adamson, pictured, from Ramside Event Catering, said: "The meat came from Australia and we sold all the 1,500 burgers we had.
"Kangaroo meat is different and it's really healthy as it has a very low fat content. I would have sold ostrich too but I can't find a supplier of the meat."

Pay back time for Ashes Maker

At 68-years-old, Ian Darling was probably the oldest amongst the 70-strong 'Ashes Maker' volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event such a success for spectators.

They were there at the train stations when fans arrived at Durham and Chester-le-Street, they lined the walking routes to the ground and gave a helping hand outside and inside the ground.

And for Ian, from Hexham, Northumberland, helping people find their way to their seats and answering their many and varied questions was repaying an Ashes debt owed since 1956.

Ian's dad Andrew had taken his son to the Ashes Test at Headingley as a reward for passing his 11-plus exams and they decided to stay an extra day.

But with no overnight accommodation and strangers to Leeds they were lost in city when a friendly vicar walking his dog offered to help. After a trip to the local police station the vicar went even further out of his way to lead them to the door of a welcoming bed and breakfast.

"I am here now as an Ashes maker repaying that debt to anyone at this Test match who needs my help!" said Ian, Deputy Chairman of the Ashington-based Bernicia housing association.

Early morning optimism melts in the evening sun!

Australian players step out of the team bus on the fourth morning - determined, upbeat and smiling . . . little did they know what the day held in store!

. . . and bats against the wall - last men standing as the sun shines for Stuart Broad, England and the Emirates Durham ICG