Neil Pickup - ARTICLES


Ashes Cricket 2009 Review


I wanted this game to be good. Really, I did. I’ve played virtually every single cricket game I could ever get my hands on: ICC, Brian Lara, EA’s series – PlayStation, PC and Mega Drive… and every time there’s always been something missing.




I’ve been fortunate enough to watch, coach and play more than a few cricket matches over the last couple of weeks. I’ve spent the day with my feet up, listening to Bob Willis and David Lloyd bemoaning West Indian fielding, flung myself across a sloping outfield in the name of cutting off another batch of legside wides, and prowled a boundary rope muttering curses towards LBW decisions and non-existent backing up.


Red Crystal Balls


The English season is two weeks old. The sun is shining, I’ve got myself a sunburn and a seam mark across my left instep, and Ian Bell has made a regulation century on a featherbed at Taunton. Three things that any soothsayer worth their salt would expect to find within their “Captain Obvious” section, right next to the visions of Chris Martin losing his middle stump.


Decisions, Decisions


The Fourth Test between the West Indies and England at the Kensington Oval will be remembered for a run feast and an umpiring farce. Why was the cricket so heavily overshadowed?


Big Game Players


Cricket lies on the back burner for this week’s entry, as there’s only so much vitriole one person can bring himself to spew about Ian Bell’s incessant tendency to look a million dollars and then play a shot straight from a Closing Down Sale. So I’m saving myself from recycling any number of cliches about choirboys and headlights, and wondering about what, in general, contributes to skills either thriving or disintegrating under pressure.


New Life


It’s now more than six months since I moved to Oxford (or, to be more accurate, I was moved by parents due to my broken bones rendering me unable to drive). I think now, for the first time, I’m reaching the stage where I’m beginning to feel part of Oxfordshire, rather than on-loan from Devon.




This weekend I’ve been in the Lake District, partially underwater and also having my tent upended… More next weekend.


Between Shifts


It’s Sunday morning, 11.34. I’ve got 26 minutes spare in which to compose this week’s musings, for that’s about the sum total of my free time between now and this time next week.


Don’t just say it. Do it.


A little bit of double meaning in this week’s column. Firstly, a short update on last week’s musings, and then a few thoughts on the lifeblood of amateur societies the world over, the committee.