Melton Times Sports Editor’s blog - Look away now, the Ashes are at stake

England captain Alastair Cook (centre) celebrates with teammates after lifting the Ashes Urn during day five of the Fifth Investec Ashes Test match at The Kia Oval, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 25, 2013. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No Book sales without prior written permission. No transmission of moving images. Official sponsor logos only. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. ENGYPN04120131211121209
England captain Alastair Cook (centre) celebrates with teammates after lifting the Ashes Urn during day five of the Fifth Investec Ashes Test match at The Kia Oval, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 25, 2013. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No Book sales without prior written permission. No transmission of moving images. Official sponsor logos only. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. ENGYPN04120131211121209
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Anyone who follows a team in sport will know their movements are inextricably linked with the fortunes of said side.

It isn’t superstition or whimsy, it’s undeniable fact. The small rational section of my mind has tried to convince otherwise for many years, but the unfurling of a new Ashes series has served up irrefutable proof.

The fate of the Urn is in my hands and, more precisely, in my allotment.

You see whenever I give into temptation and devote myself to a few guilt-free hours of viewing, England start playing like drains and Australian fortunes dramatically improve.

Okay, so I didn’t see the early collapse at Cardiff, but within 90 seconds of my return home that evening, and the TV blinking into life, Joe Root’s century heroics were over.

In the 45 minutes until close, two more important wickets were tossed away as the Aussies hauled themselves back into the game.

In the previous six hours, without my accursed attentions, England had lost just one wicket. So far so bad.

I was at home when the Aussies collapsed in a heap early on day three, and the TV did remain on throughout.

But all five wickets fell during trips to the kitchen and bathroom.

The pattern continued as I saw all three of England’s early second innings failures. Luckily for the hosts, work beckoned, and just as Adam Lyth edged Nathan Lyon to Michael Clarke I had to leave them to it.

My departure sparked the biggest stand of the innings as Ian Bell and Joe Root effectively put the tin hat on a home win.

I timed my shower all wrong on day four, missing the start of play and hearing the fall of Chris Rogers via TMS.

I was in situ in front of the box to see David Warner survive countless near-misses and batter Moeen Ali for 19 from one over.

As the second wicket stand took the Aussies merrily towards three figures I sulkily accepted that any changes Alastair Cook had to make, must be mirrored by my own.

No sooner had I begun my assault on the sea of thistles littering the wasteland which masquerades as a vegetable plot, than Warner was out.

To Ali, of course, obviously rejuvenated by the lack of prying Harby eyes scrutinising his every delivery.

Smith went while I toiled away before I decided that with the top three back in the hutch, it was safe to return home.

Two more wickets fell as I made lunch, and another during a call of nature, before I finally saw my first live Australian wicket - the 17th of the match. Yet if ever there was a guaranteed wicket to catch, Shane Watson lbw was perhaps hardly a collector’s item.

With renewed belief that whatever I did couldn’t derail an inevitable England win, I determined to sit it out.

Tea came and went, Mitchell Johnson - of all people - marched on past 50, I sighed again, and trooped off back to the plot.

Of course, the wickets then fell as quickly as the weeds and the beads of sweat from my overheating forehead.

I’ve been here many, many dozens of times before. Manchester City only achieved their title win in 2012 thanks to my unscheduled walk as they trailed 2-1 to QPR on the final day.

For a sport anorak like me, it’s the ultimate sacrifice, some may say cowardice.

To achieve the thing I most want to see, I have to look away.

If the Ashes are won this summer, I won’t be able to say I was there, but the allotment will be pristine.