The Gastronomic Pub Crawl of South Melbourne; The Palmerston Hotel
Russell Degnan

51 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne
(Corner Palmerston Crescent & King Way)

Not a pub which screams class; the adjacent highway, TAB in the front bar, concrete garden and cramped dining area has kept me away from The Palmerston for years, despite the presence of a few ridiculously well priced meals and the unverified #1 Parma sign. The staff are friendly though, and the drinks, while typically bland, are not over-priced.

There are some cheap meals to be had here: the pie of the day, eggplant parma (always a lottery so you'll have to try it and find out) and roast are all good value. But any pub claiming to have the best parma tends to sway me, though I took the bolognese option on recommendation, with the mash and vegies options. The vegies weren't anything special, but the mash was copious and tasty. Putting the parma on top of the mash left it slightly soggy and as such I can't vouch for the crumb; the chicken was fat and succulent though, not too cheesy, and the bolognese worked, as well as providing some sauce for the surrounds.

The TAB and low-cost meals means the Palmerston is generally a noisy affair. Not the sort of pub I have reason to frequent, but serving plenty of people who do.

The Short: For gamblers, tradies and seekers of cheap and filling meals

Next Week: The British Crown (Corner Smith and Mason Street)

Melbourne Town 30th November, 2013 23:58:05   [#] [2 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: CCLXXXIX, November 2013
Russell Degnan

Gertrude Street. Taken November 2013

Melbourne Town 25th November, 2013 23:01:25   [#] [0 comments] 

The Gastronomic Pub Crawl of Fitzroy; The Baden Powell Hotel
Russell Degnan

61 Victoria Parade, Collingwood
(Corner Victoria Parade & Cambridge Street)

Naming a pub after the founder of an organisation committed to teetotalism might seem an odd choice of name, and the corner of a major arterial a sub-optimal choice of location, but The Baden Powell Hotel is a fine establishment. It has two beer gardens, the larger of which is accessed via the quieter Cambridge street, a large open dining area and 3/4 horse-show bar. The decor is new, but not modern and the walls of the front bar retain the photos of cricketers, cricket grounds and scouting memorabilia redolent of the name and location. The tap beers are many and crafty, and the meal offerings - pizza night, steak night, Saturday sangas - suggest a haven for hipsters and relaxed evenings rather than booze-ups.

Nothing wrong with that, nor with the food. We went on steak night, at $14, which came with a somewhat boring rocket salad and rich egg-based sauce that was by far the highlight. Other meals are less cheap - hipsters, remember - and the drinks aren't either - although the freshly squeezed juice is very good. Well worth a look in on the right day, right company, and the right specials.

The Short: For fixie riding East Melbourne residents and relaxed sunny weekends or evenings

Next Week: The Palmerston (Corner Kings Way and Palmerston Crescent)

Melbourne Town 24th November, 2013 15:09:24   [#] [0 comments] 

The endless horizon, Ratings 19th November
Russell Degnan

5 TestsAustraliavEngland
Expected MarginEngland by 9 runs

How do you preview a series with no matches since their last meeting? Barely had the previous series ended than the marketing for the next kicked into gear; the bowlers licked their wounds, some of whom are now fit; and both sides rejigged for the different conditions prevailing in Australia. England with tall quicks; Australia by choosing players based on their form in an otherwise meaningless slogfest in India.

The latter is a bad sign. In theory, home advantage indicates this will be a very tight series, and the English edition was that, despite the 3-0 scoreline. But the last Ashes in Australia indicated that England were better prepared than Australia for batting endlessly on flat bouncy pitches, and bowling in the channel searching for mistakes. England ground out their home victory by scoring just enough and taking advantage of Australia's inability to consistently do the same. Australia's bowling was strong, but lacked the killer edge and was blunted by Bell in particular. Their batting lurched from feeble to competent and back again from session to session. Despite this, the same side, more or less, will line up in Brisbane. Partly for lack of options, mostly for lack of reliable data to indicate who might succeed (if any) where others have not.

With Brisbane likely to rain, and Adelaide likely to play dead, we might enter the back half of the series before any advantage is gained. Australia's selection of Warner and Johnson indicates they are willing to take risks to try and force an unlikely win. The smart money though is on them having little impact when it matters and England to continue the pattern of the last 5 years: play to stay in the game, and take advantage of collapses. Australia are sure to offer them ample opportunity.

2nd TestIndiavWest Indies
Expected MarginIndia by 132 runs
Actual MarginIndia by an innings and 126 runs
Series rating1371.1694.2

A short end to a short and unmemorable series. Designed as a virtual exhibition, the West Inds played their secondary part a little too enthusiastically, neither particularly invested nor seemingly interested in the end result. Chanderpaul deserved better in his 150th test, but apart from Shillingford, there wasn't much to illuminate the match at his end. Tendulkar briefly rolled back the clock before giving way to Pujara, Kohli and Sharma. Ojha and Ashwin took the wickets, and India ran up another huge win at home.

For mine, I said almost everything I had to say about Tendulkar in my piece on Ponting. He combined all the qualities of good batsmanship without being peerless in any of them, being neither as strong a technician as Dravid, nor as flamboyant as Lara, nor as intense as Ponting. His bowling was under-rated; his longevity and influence best marked by a single closing note. If you check Tendulkar's record, Cricinfo has no figure for his strike-rate, almost unique amongst modern batsmen. This is because the balls are missing from this test vs Sri Lanka, in Chandigarh in 1990. Such was the span of his career, that he first played for India in the days when Doordarshan would tape over old matches and scorecards could be lost; and left with a 24-7 media cycle trying to record his every movement and gesture noting everything for posterity. A career so long its end isn't even era-defining, because it crossed so many; encompassing a period both as a prodigy and the old-man of cricket; a superstar and a player whose best years were limited by injury; and as both the lone hand on which everything depended and as one part of a quadrumvirate. It is a singularly incredible and inscrutable career arc; and as it has been throughout, its meaning is sure to be interpreted and re-interpreted for a long time to come.

Rankings at 19th November 2013
1.South Africa1324.1
6.Sri Lanka997.9
7.West Indies936.5
8.New Zealand873.2


Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Idle Summers 19th November, 2013 23:47:00   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: CCLXXXVIII, November 2013
Russell Degnan

St Silas, Albert Park. Taken November 2013

Melbourne Town 18th November, 2013 20:47:12   [#] [0 comments] 

World T20 Qualifers Preview Notes
Russell Degnan

The World T20 Qualifiers are set to start in a few hours and I'm pleased to note that interest and breadth of commentary has again stepped up a level from the previous tournament of twenty months ago. This edition sees six teams progress, and unusually for the ICC, a format that promises to mix excitement and meaning throughout its length. If the warmup matches are any guide every team has a reasonable opportunity of making the play-offs; once there, two wins or less is sufficient to book a passage to Bangladesh.

Having already previewed the tournament at length on the podcast I will use this post to make a few notes unsuited to the oral format.

TV coverage

The ICC will be live-streaming selected games from the opening rounds; and ESPN or its affiliate, as the global broadcaster is lined up to do the playoffs. A list, follows:

ICC streamed matches
15 November: Ireland v Namibia, Canada v USA, Afghanistan v Netherlands
16 November: Namibia v UAE, Ireland v Canada, Afghanistan v Scotland
18 November: Denmark v Kenya, Scotland v Nepal
19 November: Netherlands v Denmark, Scotland v Kenya
20 November: Netherlands v Nepal
22 November: PNG v Denmark, Afghanistan v Nepal
23 November: Netherlands v Kenya, Bermuda v Nepal
24 November: Afghanistan v Kenya

TV broadcast
27 November: 2nd v 3rd Qualifying Finals
28 November: Qualification Finals (L2v3 vs W4v5)
29 November: Semi-Finals
30 November: 3rd vs 4th Playoff and Final

Previews and pointers

A number of excellent previews have been written. And there is ongoing, generally well-informed commentary on both Facebook and Twitter. It is worth returning to my previews from 2012 (Group A|Group B) for useful follows. A probably incomplete list of previews follows:

Russell Degnan and Andrew Nixon, Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Peter Della Penna, Cricinfo: Battle royal for World T20 prize
Jack Sheldon, Deep Extra Cover: Group A Group B
Llewelyn Scott-Hoy: World T20 Qualifier Preview
Tim Brooks, All Out Cricket: Group A Group B
Martin Jones, The Popping Crease: Qualifier Preview A-D H-K N-P S-U
Arjun Vidyarthi, SuperSport: Kenyan Preview
Osman Samiuddin, UAE National: Group A Group B
Tarqun Brook, Adamski Loves Cricket: World T-20 Qualifiers
ICC/CricketEurope: Group A Group B
Sammy Edwards, T20 International: Day by day previews

Groups by the Numbers

Rankings in T20 are notoriously unreliable. The regional and HPP bubbles are just as problematic as the full member one is. Nevertheless, you can only go off the date you have, and any previews that ignore past performance are probably equally as flawed. The following is the best estimate at various scenarios, using monte-carlo modelling.

Group ARatingFormWeightQual.1st GrpTop-3 GrpTop-5 Grp
Hong Kong2745.2+80.110.523.5%0.4%19.3%55.0%

Group BRatingFormWeightQual.1st GrpTop-3 GrpTop-5 Grp

Idle Summers 15th November, 2013 14:58:09   [#] [0 comments] 

The Gastronomic Pub Crawl of South Melbourne; The Rising Sun Hotel
Russell Degnan

2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne
(Corner Raglan Street & Eastern Road)

The most local of all the pubs that share that distinction; The Rising Sun Hotel lacks the comforts other pubs provide. The front bar is an extensive open-plan bistro with room for a full big band on Tuesday nights, and poker and trivia on others. It lacks both character and comfort, though the food makes up for it if your aim is merely a meal. By contrast, the rear bar is small and cozey, with a couple of tvs with the sport on, high chairs and bar tables. The walls throughout are adorned with South Melbourne sporting stars of the old cricket and football clubs, now moved to Casey and Sydney respectively. Match days in football season bring out local fans, sporting scarves, and there is a solid group of bar-flies if one is looking for a chat.

If you aren't inclined to cook the bar meals are a very attractive option. Most are $15 or less, and don't tend towards the giganticism that afflicts many pubs, mistaking quantity for quality. They can be a little light on the salad - ie. many have none - though if asked, I'd imagine chips could be substituted out. I plumped for the rissoles - a touch dry - and mash - perfect- with vegies. It was overall, a solid, but not spectacular dish, in keeping with the surroundings. As usual when I eat there, I wonder why I cook at home like a sucker instead of walking 20 metres. Consider that an endorsement.

The Short: For swans fans, jazz fans, and regulars

Next Week: The Baden Powell (Corner Cambridge Street and Victoria Parade)

Melbourne Town 15th November, 2013 13:48:33   [#] [0 comments] 

WT20Q with Niall O`Brien, Gareth Berg and Frederik Klokker; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

With the World T20 Qualifiers starting in the UAE, Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) discuss the tournament format, preview all sixteen teams across both groups and offer their predictions for who will make the playoffs. Three players kindly take the time to give us their thoughts, Andrew interviews Niall O'Brien of Ireland and Frederik Klokker of Denmark, and Jack Sheldon (@jacksheldon93) discusses Italy's chances with Gareth Berg.

Direct Download Running Time 58min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"

The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.

Idle Summers 12th November, 2013 22:46:11   [#] [0 comments] 

Easy game, this cricket, Ratings 11th November
Russell Degnan

1st TestIndiavWest Indies
Expected MarginIndia by 116 runs
Actual MarginIndia by an innings and 51 runs

Nothing like a series of home matches to boost one's ranking and blood new players. India showed the same ruthlessness with which they dispatched Australia in working over the West Indies. But in a sign that their rebuild is coming to fruition even as the last of their old guard takes his final bow, the debutants provided the firepower. Shami took 4/71, with only Samuels (65) providing any real resistance. For a brief period, Shillingford 6/167 raised the possibility of a stiff fight, but Rohit Sharma (177) and Ashwin (124) took the game away with an outstanding partnership. The latter's upright stance and wristy strokes so reminiscent of VVS Laxman that the opportunity to replace Tendulkar with a bowler must be firmly in the Indian selector's minds.

Chanderpaul, about to reach his own milestone in a cap so battered it seems to have felt every loss he's played in, was not out 31 at the end of the second innings. He isnt batting too low. He just has nothing behind him. Sammy is a very admirable cricketer, but he is no number 7, until you consider just how bad those following him are. Shami's 5/47 proved the first dig was no fluke, though it was Ashwin (3/46) who got the ball rolling; and it is hard to see the West Indies batting turning around this result. India are a very inexperienced side nowadays, but they've already shown the skills - at home at least - to pile on huge runs and defend it with ease. They move up to third in the rankings, though it is partly illusory, because of a run of form. The real test was only ever postponed.

Rankings at 11th November 2013
1.South Africa1324.1
6.Sri Lanka997.9
7.West Indies953.6
8.New Zealand873.2


Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Idle Summers 11th November, 2013 18:58:22   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: CCLXXXVII, November 2013
Russell Degnan

South Melbourne Town Hall. Taken November 2013

Melbourne Town 11th November, 2013 18:34:00   [#] [0 comments] 

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