S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Month: November 2013

The Ashes – First Test Wrap-up

Balance has returned to my world, thanks to the Aussies’ thumping First Test win against England on the weekend.

After our dismal first innings batting performance, improved only by Brad Haddin’s and Mitch Johnson’s partnership, I thought ‘Here we go again’. And while we still have questions to answer in the top order, what really impressed me was the fact that our bowlers stood up to be counted. They worked as a team throughout the test match, and though Mitch Johnson failed to find his mojo early, he certainly had it in spades by our second innings in the field.

In all honesty, Mitch Johnson wouldn’t have been in my team. In the past, though he can be a firebrand (as he was in this match), he’s been too inconsistent. When you put him up against Siddle and Harris, who can both consistently hit a five-cent coin on pin-head, Johnson can be wayward and unpredictable. And though he started off in a familiar fashion – spraying balls wide and down leg-side and misusing bouncers – he didn’t take long to come into his own in this match.

His bowling style was suited to the Gabba pitch, and I’m glad we have some menace back in our bowling stocks.

Michael Clarke captained extremely well in this match. I particularly liked how he would chop and change bowlers whenever he thought it necessary instead of leaving any of them on for too long to try to play themselves in. He also played a fantastic knock in the second innings along side Dave Warner to break the hearts of the English bowlers.

What’s great to see is that a team previously (seemingly) acting like individuals is starting to play as one unit. Everyone’s bound to have a bad game at some stage, and in the past, that meant the rest of the team could crumble around them. Now, however, our batsmen stride to the crease with confidence, looking to score runs, and our bowlers work in tandem, harassing England’s batsmen with Clarke setting aggressive fields, looking for wickets.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the game progresses in Adelaide, as it’s historically been a wicket for batsmen. Our bowlers will have to be tighter in order to not let England get away too early, particularly if they bat first. I’ll also be interested to see if the selectors stick with the same team all round. Barring injuries, the only change I could see would be to rest Ryan Harris so we have him fit for Perth. As to who would replace him, I’d love to see James Pattinson back, but any one of Mitch Starc, Jackson Bird or Pat Cummings would be a fine replacement for Harris.

As for our batting, I don’t think there’s any need to make any changes. We need to allow the boys some confidence in their positions. We’ve seen how the axe hanging over his head affected Phil Hughes – before he was dropped the last time, he always seemed to play like a man in his last match. That’s not how you want players preparing mentally.

As for the latest sledging controversy, I think Clarke’s been hard done-by with his 20% match fee fine. I don’t condone what he said, but as with everything, it’s one line taken out of context of what appeared to be a very heated exchange. And don’t for a minute think Jimmy Anderson hadn’t given as much as he got.

The thing that disappoints me though is our media throwing these things out of proportion, and not backing our own team. England are in our back yard now, playing in our conditions. You don’t go to someone else’s house disrespecting their stuff and expect to get away with it. I have no doubt our boys would have copped a lot of lip from a chirpy and over-confident England team when they were on top in the previous series.

The should expect nothing less from us when they come to our house.


Well that didn’t go quite as planned

So a few weeks ago, I posted about unplugging from the technoverse and getting back to nature. I posted about getting stuck into writing without distraction and spending quality time with my wife.

Yeh. That’s totally not what happened. I never picked up my kindle, and my notebook and pens went untouched.

We spent so much time either hiking or relaxing/sleeping after hiking, there wasn’t much time for anything else.

It turns out that wasn’t such a bad thing though.

Firstly, I had my very own Biggest Loser Fears Week moment, when (scared of heights) I climbed a huge rock called The Pyramid. When we finally made it to the top, I was so over-whelmed I cried like a baby. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a release of all the emotion I stuffed down into my boots during the climb. My wife was suitably impressed and proud of my achievement, which made it all the more emotional for me. I never want to hold her back from doing anything, and since we love to achieve things together, me climbing to the top with her was a huge achievement – for both of us.


Scaling the Pyramid, Girraween SE Qld

Scaling the Pyramid, Girraween SE Qld


The fact that I sat for two hours waiting for her and a friend to attempt to scale the Second Pyramid was penance for my cursing all the way up the first Pyramid.





The coming down bit was just as hairy as the going up. At least going up, I could look ahead and not see the ground. Going down, I had no choice but to look where I was going.


A graceful descent

A graceful descent

The beer after that climb was well worth it when we got back to camp I can tell you.

If that climb wasn’t enough, I decided to do it all over again, climbing to the top of Bald Rock in NSW. We also stopped off at the border for a quick pic, and then went down to Tenterfield, where we found a bakery that had THE best meat pie I’ve had in a very long time. (No photo of that though – it was extremely messy, as all great pies are).

The border of Qld and NSW

The border of NSW (left) and QLD (right) – that’s me in the distance

Wifey (a park ranger) also had a hilarious confrontation with a killer possum. In the dead of night, we could hear the possum trying to get into various things in ours and our friends’ camp kitchens, and rustling through our bin. Wifey got up to chase it away, but it decided it was going to go down fighting. It took a run at her, she screamed, and I laughed. I stopped laughing when I realised wifey hadn’t closed the door of the tent. She closed it though, which saved an even more hilarious (and dangerous) scenario of having a rogue killer possum rampaging through our tent.

What was even more hilarious is that every night after that, that same possum would come down into the camp, strut around and eye wifey off, trying to entice her into another confrontation. Wifey didn’t take the bait though, and they ended up mutually respecting each others’ boundaries.

So, even though the trip didn’t turn out like I had planned, it turned out pretty great. The weather was fantastic, we saw some fantastic sites, and I got to spend some quality time with wifey and our friends.

Would I do it all again?

We’ll see…

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