|Paint drying website|
But he is put in mind of these temptations by the arrival on the nation's TV screens of the Snooker World Championship. FB assumes that this is offered to assist the nation's insomniacs who always find this time of year, when daylight extends at both ends of the day, a trial.
At first sight, Fantasy Bob concedes the resemblances between snooker and cricket are slight. Although outfields at prestigious grounds are often compared to billiard tables and while the green playing surface, the red – and nowadays white and pink – balls have a superficial air of similarity, it is uncommon for a cricketer to run up to the wicket in a bow tie and shiny paisley pattern waistcoat. It is also uncommon for a batsman to twist his bat into a lump of blue chalk before taking strike. FB must therefore conclude that the games are different.
Cricket's relationship with the evil weed is no less reprehensible. Cricketers themselves were as tobacco dependent as any other group of the population, as any search through old photo albums will confirm. But cigarette cards were a phenomenon. The first set of cricket cigarette cards was issued in 1886 by WD & HO Wills - a year before an equivalent football set. These proved hugely popular and many other manufacturers followed suit. Sets showed counties, players, touring teams, coaching tips, everything and anything. They stayed in vogue until the 1950s. Nowadays serious prices are paid by collectors for early samples. A rare card of WG Grace was auctioned with a reserve price of £3000 earlier this year. Start searching your attic.
|John Player League |
poster 1985 season
The Benson and Hedges Cup ran from 1972 to 2002. At first 55 overs then 50 overs; there was a group stage then knock out rounds leading to a Lords final. It is therefore the progenitor of the CB40 tournament. Scotland joined the competition in 1980, a fundamental and important step on the long slow climb to associate and ODI status. Scotland pulled off notable scalps from time to time, their first victory being against Lancashire in 1986, but they also had to take some severe medicine. The record for the highest total conceded falls to them - 388-7 against Essex in 1992 - Graham Gooch getting 127. But it is 2 times winners Hampshire who have the lowest total - they were skittled for 50 by Yorkshire in 1991. Lancashire won the trophy 4 times.
|England celebrate |
the latest deal with publicity-shy
FB will mention in passing with a sigh the challenge here for Scottish sport - all the companies supporting English cricket - and English rugby and football for that matter - are significant companies also in Scotland. But the thought of, say O2 or Vodaphone, sponsoring a Scottish national team or competition is never on the cards. Some playing fields will never be levelled.
For snooker the vice of the weed has been replaced by the vice of gambling on-line betting in the form of Betfred.com who now support the World Championship.
The experience in Britain is replicated across the world as tobacco sponsorship has moved from a dominant position to be outlawed. For example, the Indian Cricket team once wore the Wills logo a brand of the Indian Tobacco Company. But Sachin Tendulkar, amongst others, has made very public his refusal to endorse any tobacco or alcohol product. And, quite rightly, alcohol looks like it is also retreating. It was not so long ago that Autralian-England-W Indies tri series would have been fuelled by XXXX, Tetleys and Red Stripe and taken place at the Fosters Oval. No more.
|Paint drying website|
FB is pleased to note reports that the BBC might relinquish its incomprehensible purchase of F1 shortly. Perhaps that will leave some space (if not cash) available for the channel to recapture its proud heritage to bring us the present smoke free versions of the John Player League and the B&H. If not then the paint drying website might well prove to have its attractions after all.