On the Front Foot: Charm offensive pays off as Cardiff wins over doubters

The first Ashes Test match in Cardiff, the first Test of any kind in the city, has been an unfettered triumph. From before the first ball was bowled – probably the moment when Katherine Jenkins sang in front of the pavilion and shivered our timbers – it has been a splendid event. There remains an argument about whether this game should have been staged at Sophia Gardens as opposed, say, to Trent Bridge or the Riverside – it should not – but nowhere else could have risen better to the occasion. For Paul Russell, the chairman of Glamorgan who has been the driving force, it has been both a source of elation and relief. Russell was always extremely confident that he could make this work and as he will tell you fairly quickly in the conversation you do not make a modest fortune without knowing a thing or two about organisation and efficiency. But there were long, dark nights of the soul before it all came together as if by magic when Russell wondered what the heck he had done. Eventually, senior staff at Glamorgan (the chief executive and the groundsman among them) had to be replaced. The ground is functional rather than an aesthetic treat, but filled with people in the summer sunshine it looked sensational and allied to the charm offensive of the natives it has been perpetually uplifting even for wizened, cantankerous Englishmen. The "new" name of the ground, after a public utility company – which cannot be mentioned because of a clash with the Test match sponsors npower – is pointless. Sophia Gardens it was and always will be. For the affable but resolute Russell, there remains one challenge before he steps down as Glamorgan chairman. He wants to leave them with a decent team again, capable of challenging for honours in place of the present also-rans. Good luck with that. By comparison, building a stadium, staging a great Test and winning over the doubters may be a doddle.

We're not averse to verse

No word yet from David Fine, the self-styled Ashes poet from Derbyshire. OTFF is running its own verse competition throughout the Ashes (bumper prize on its way in late August). Here is a splendid offering from Chris Sladen of Oxfordshire:


May prove tricky;

But Strauss,

Has plenty of nous.

Let us hope that in that clerihew there also resides an accurate prediction. Clerihews, sonnets, limericks, cinquains all welcome at the address at the bottom of the page.

Book's a Sportspage turner

Of all the Ashes-associated books that have wended their way in this direction none is as fascinating as The Ashes Are Here. It is not a narrative (though it almost acts as one) but a catalogue of memorabilia from all 66 series, issued by Sports-pages, the antiquarian book seller. It includes a bat signed by members of the 1905 Australian tourists, priced at £7,500 and a hastily written book, Border's Heroes, based on the 1989 tour, at £15. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

ICC status for island

With the Ashes here and Mohammad Yousuf regaining top spot in the world batting rankings after a hundred in Galle, there came the news the cricket world was waiting to hear from the ICC. Vanuatu has been elevated to associate membership. From a population of 221,000, some 8,000 play cricket on this archipelago of 65 inhabited islands. Will they be playing internationals on each?



Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon


Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London