As much as I don't often comment on the "hit & giggle" cricket played when mummy isn't looking in those mad hours before bedtime, there are several things to be said about it and a weekend of very interesting domestic cricket.
At first blows, bravo to Cricket Australia for the backyard cricket - oh, they call it Twenty20 but we all know what it is - promotion in Hobart on Sunday. A combined bill which showcased the Australian women and men's teams was not only clever marketing but also provided a great opportunity for the women to play before a big crowd and gain some additional exposure. Don't get me wrong I have no beef with women's cricket. One of Australia's current best, Erin Osbourne is a Tamworth girl and any reasonable follower of the great game would recognise that talent is talent regardless of how it fills a protector.
The women's game was a nail biter ... I was down to my toe nails in the end ... and despite losing to the Sheep Shaggers, it was a terrific game in it's own right, let alone as a curtain raiser to Michael Clarke's mob.
Shaun Tait was fast, furious, reasonably straight and bowled three corkers for wickets. One can't help but think he was a resource wasted in misunderstanding and an unwillingness to accept that not all illness presents a physical manifestation and that mental illness = weakness is a bad equation. Interesting that a softer, more personable man is at the helm in this form or cricket, whilst the Professor of Tough saves himself for longer hundreds.
In a slightly longer format at the Gabba a day earlier, The Bushrangers won through to the final of the Ford Ranger Cup, despite missing four players attending to their higher calling, despite playing away from home and despite playing against echoes of former Test men, McDermott and Laughlin, who were both spanked for their inaccuracy and youth by Brad Hodge. Raising his bat in a century of adulation for the sixteen time in domestic one day games, Hodge is an exclamation mark Cricket Australia just can't erase. He was truly magnificent again on Saturday and if Tait has been talent squandered through poor management The Hodge can claim higher honours in that regard. Hodge has been one of the stand out batsmen of his generation. Forget the Lehmann hard luck stories or the Stuart Law coodabeen stories, Brad Hodge has given and given and given, in all forms of the game, even the most truncated and yet, he has been ignored, no shunned, by our national selectors for reasons only they would know. Merv Hughes, a fellow Victorian, should in particular be ashamed.
Well played Mr Hodge and in the short time left son, rub that certain Adelaide solicitor's snooty nose in it.
In the west, the home side are no certainty to pick up outright points against Tasmania, with three innings around the 250 mark so far and the Tigers scoring the highest of them. With two wickets down and still another 230 odd to get, the boys from across the Bass are a fare chance to get the major points.
A bit closer to home - only a bit - NSW have finally stood up. Tired of being the cellar dwellers in the Sheffield shield, several of the names have put some effort into their game in Adelaide and have the South Australians eating crow. Phil Hughes blasted an impertinent near double century and Forest, Roher and Nevill (who the hell are they) put more than enough on the old Adelaide scoreboard ... more than enough for SA to chase, apparently. Pity there are no bonus points because NSW will claim a huge victory today after Tamworth's own, Josh Hazelwood shook off a side injury for impressive second innings scalps, including going straight through General C with blistering pace. This boy is one to keep.
All in all, a great weekend of cricket although locally, City United's one win from four could be described economically as being consistent with the law of diminishing returns!