Dubrovnik, Croatia was my base during the trip out to Montenegro for England’s UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying game. Having a couple of days there beforehand, was always going to mean that I had some time for exploration, and normally I’d be all researched out before I’d even checked in for my flight. Alas, on this occasion I hadn’t found the time to even check out the city’s own Wikipedia page.
Upon arrival at the airport alone, I soon realised this had been a mistake. The drive in to the city was one of the most beautiful that I have ever had the fortune to make during my travels. Every turn of a corner, as I made my way along the snaking coast line, provided a new awe inspiring view. The fact it was touching 6pm, still in the late twenties and raining back home had little to no influence on this, what so ever.
My memory strained to remember the vivid descriptions of the history of Croatia that I had recently read in Andrew Eames’ 8:55 to Baghdad. I knew that war had ravaged much of the country, and in my own living memory – which is something quite unique. Will I be casually visiting Iraq in the next 5 to 10 years? I hasten to think not.
Much of the war damage has been lovingly restored, and it was only upon writing this entry that I stumbled across a useful hint to help visualise Dubrovnik following war. The brighter coloured roofing is the newer, and so is most likely to have been damaged through war. Looking at the patchwork of terracotta, it’s easy to see the impact that the dissolution of Yugoslavia had. In fact, it wasn’t until a visit to a memorial upon a hillside overlooking Dubrovnik that I came to find my first actual evidence of warfare. A battered communications fort still bore the scars of war, with gaping holes in it’s fortified (yet still incredibly pretty) walls, and the shrapnel damaged comms cable unit, pictured below.
I have visited many places damaged during World War 2, and very few of them show any signs of what had been. Visiting a place with such recent history, and the evidence to show was quite moving.
Dubrovnik is a city that has firmly taken it’s place in my memory and will certainly be revisited, when I have a better understanding of it’s history. Besides this, they do fantastic pizza!
The final match in the Natwest one day series between England and Sri Lanka, held at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground, was to be the decider. The day started much like any other in this glorious city – grey! Upon opening the curtains this morning, I was presented with spots of rain on the window and a glum feeling in the pit of my stomach. It felt like it was going to be one of those days. Having not done much cricket this summer, and no internationals at all, I had been quite looking forward to it.
The weather forecast on BBC Breakfast cheered me up a little, predicting possible showers early on (which wasn’t news!) then to brighten up around lunch. Sadly, the prediction turned out to be wrong. It’d brightened up before the toss. Win.
England won said toss, and opted to bat first. As a photographer, this is usually the desired option. UK newspapers will naturally be after England action shots, and having them bat first means that you can get a decent variety out early on in the day. Leaving you to only have to deal (hopefully!) with the celebratory shots at the end of the day.
The home side started strongly with a number of half centuries and ended the innings on 268-9 after completing their full 50 overs. I was informed that this was a good effort and gave plenty for Sri Lanka to chase after the interval. Thank you BBC Sport. The teams came back out after lunch to applause from the crowd, a special amount reserved for local boy James Anderson whose county side is of course, Lancashire. Unfortunately he didn’t make too much of an impact with his bowling, but the crowd stayed behind the team and spurred them on and the wickets soon started falling. It was Jade Dernbach however who made the greatest impact, completing a catch before dropping a second but confidently sealing the victory with the final wicket. Sri Lanka were beaten by 16 runs with a score of 252 all out.
The glorious summer day ended with the perfect victory for this young England side, who must next face World Cup winning India.
Lancashire’s twenty20 season opened with mixed blessings. An early draw against Derbyshire Falcon’s was followed up with a home and away victory over Worcestershire Royals and Leicestershire Foxes, respectively. The momentum was not maintained however, and they have now clocked up two successive home defeats. Firstly an immediate response from the foxes, then Yorkshire in the ‘Battle of the Roses’. Both lost in the final two balls.
Only a dramatic turn in events in other games, could have possibly given Nottinghamshire a chance at the title – but come they did! Results elsewhere meant that reaching 400 runs, and taking 3 Lancashire wickets would secure the title of champions.
Once the 400 marker had been reached, the sides quickly swapped around and Lancashire came out to bat, but their heart was clearly not in it, and the 3 required wickets fell in quick succession!
An electric (literally) atmosphere in Manchester on this damp Wednesday evening didn’t set a good precedent for a game of cricket. A precedent that duly turned to reality when the heavens opened during the break, following the Outlaw’s innings. We had it all, heavy rain, light rain, thunder, lightning, more heavy rain. A quick dive for cover was executed. Eventually out came the umpires who ruled the groundsmen had done enough to preserve the wicket and play resumed with a reduced Lancashire innings.
The Lightning in Lancashire certainly lived up to their name, and wrapped up their 10 over innings with a 9 wicket victory.
A dull, dark (also known as, normal) Friday evening in Manchester played host to the battle of the Roses. Lancashire v Yorkshire, in the Friends Provident twenty 20 tournament. The lighting was incredibly difficult, and almost none existent towards the end, forcing me up to ISO6400! This didn’t prove a problem for Lancashire though, winning by a 5 wicket margin.
The third one day international in the Natwest series between England and Australia was at my local.. Old Trafford, so naturally it was one for me to shoot. The sun was blazing on what was (so far) the hottest day of the year and the complimentary suntan lotion handed out by Natwest staff was most welcome! Someone forgot to do his knees though… ouch…
With England having won two out of two matches already, winning this one would secure the series with two game remaining. A strong start bowling was almost cancelled out by a wobble in the batting innings towards the end of the day but eventually England squeezed through with a one wicket victory.
The post-Summer solstice evening, the joint second longest day of the year, was a good one. Not a cloud in the sky, a lovely warmth as the sun dipped in the sky, and cricket! Durham were todays visitors to Old Trafford, where they lost by 50 runs after an impressive display by Lancs!
A grey, damp Wednesday evening in Manchester (nothing short of the norm there!) was to play host to a Friends Provident t20 match between Lancs and Northants. The grey clouds had threatened a downpour all day but thankfully managed to hold off on the whole, with just a few small showers. Nothing that ever endangered the cricket though! Lancashire strolled home with this one, winning comfortably.
A sunny May afternoon, well in to the cricket season, but my first full game to shoot. 40 potential overs an innings provided enough practise to get back in to the swing of things, as you will see, the pictures improved as time progressed! Even got myself t-shirt lines on my arms from the sun. Ouch.