England name Cricket World Cup 2019 squad

2019 World Cup | England’s 15-man squad confirmed

 
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) Captain
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jofra Archer (Sussex)
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Liam Dawson (Hampshire)
Liam Plunkett (Surrey)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
Ben Stokes (Durham)
James Vince (Hampshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

Hooray for May!

 

May is here in a World Cup year

May is the best month. Not just because it contains my birthday, that of my wife or even that the birch tree pollen fades away. It’s the month when cricket and rugby collide and we can legitimately enjoy both sports without reproach. No, ‘but it’s winter you should be watching rugby.’ Or, ‘it’s not even the rugby season; you ought to be outside practicing your catching’. It’s back to back coverage of both. Armchair sporting nirvana.
 
Our very good cricket team are heading into a home World Cup at the top of their game and are favourites to win it. And, do you know what, they might just do it. There’ll be a slip up along the way no doubt. A dodgy pitch and a low total or two. It wouldn’t be the England cricket team if there wasn’t a melodrama around the corner.
 

Forget about it

If you looked back to the last Cricket World Cup and England’s dire performance, it would have been a pipe dream that they would be anywhere near winning the next tournament. Never mind lifting the World Cup. Mind you, if you had told Robert De Niro – yes that one – he would be appearing, dressed in a gold suit, in a Warburton’s advertising campaign for bagels then the response would have been the same: ‘Forget about it’. Tenuous reason number one why England will win.
 
No. 2 is that 2019 is the year of the English sporting teams’ success. Both European football competitions will produce an English club winner. Liverpool and Arsenal since you are asking. With that in mind perhaps if (when) England win the cricket their rugby counterparts will see off the competition in Japan later in the year.
 

Same, same but different

Indeed, there are similarities to both the rugby and cricket teams. Both had truly terrible World Cups last time out. It is debatable who was the most humiliated. It being a home tournament that prize probably goes to the rugby team. Having summarily dismissed home coaches both sides turned to an Aussie to get their fortunes back on track. One a genteel estate agent and the other a pugnacious bull dog from Sydney. Their methods differ but their desire to get the job done are unmistakably Australian.
 
The messages were simple from both and the results were very quick to change. Over the four years the win / lose ratio for both sides (ODI only for cricket given it is a ODI world cup) are as follows:

Cricket 51 wins / 20 losses (71% matches won)
Rugby 32 wins / 9 losses / 1 draw (76% won)

The rugby team began Eddie’s tenure with a bang but had a slump half way through the World Cup cycle. Apparently, we blame the British & Irish Lions for that. Meanwhile, the cricketers had their wake-up call at the home ICC Champions Trophy when a much-vaunted team lost in the semi-final to the eventual winners Pakistan.
 
The cricketers have really gone on to be unstoppable since then. Only the mighty Saltires have won a series (of one match) and, of the tier one nations, only the Windies have not succumbed to a series defeat and the extraordinary power hitting of England’s batting line up.
 
When you can score 481 in 50 overs and more recently chase down 359 with 31 balls to spare then what is there to worry about?! Another team fielding and bowling a bit better than Pakistan but we’ll gloss over that.
 
Predictably there have been some in the press who have being laying the ‘I told you so’ foundations by talking down the England team’s inability to play the conditions and how it’ll see them come unstuck in a low scoring game. There were a few in the Australian series last Summer but we did ok there – albeit against a weakened side. It’s going to be okay. Honestly, it’s going to be fine.
 

Selection matters

In this age of sharing tips and information across sports we would hope that the cricket team have at the very least looked at how the rugby management (mis)managed the Sam Burgess affair. They have had their own Burgess conundrum brewing for the last couple of years. When the ECB sped up the qualification process young Joffra Archer was always going to be lurking in the foreground.
 
Naturally, some of the players were asked how they would feel if he was parachuted into the side and quite naturally they were responded that it might upset the team a touch. At least that was what was reported. Dig a bit deeper and everyone has been welcoming and been pretty keen on the idea especially if it gives us a better chance of winning. England have been crying out for a fast bowler (other than the perennially injured Mark Wood) and we have one ready.
 
There is no story, however, in being welcoming. Just ask our favourite TMS correspondent who has waded into a rather unsightly ding dong on the above topic with a fellow journalist on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, it has been kept quietish but suffice to say the nuances of language, intellectual pomposity and journalistic spin are alive and well. Some of the language would not been out of place on the terraces of Baku or Madrid . And it’s just not cricket. Ironically.
 

The answer?

Well, I say pick Joffra Archer. Sadly, someone will have to lose out. Shall we take a punt and say Mark Wood or Joe Denley? They’ll keep David Willey. We need a left armer and he’s bowling well. Moeen can cover the other spinners slot. To have Wood and Archer bowling in tandem will surely improve our prospects. And Joe Denley is hardly one for the future. So the case has been made. The decision has been taken. Joffra Archer for Joe Denley. Sorry, Joe.
 
Whatever happens it would be heartening to think that Joffra will not do a Burgess and disappear back to his county and, having ticked off a bucket list item, become a franchise player. We have the Ashes coming up after the World Cup. That is surely worth sticking around for. I’d like to see him up against Steve Smith.
 

Predictions

Never one to shy away from making daft assertions, I say, let’s be positive. England will win at least one World Cup this year. Australia will not but will be much improved in the way they play cricket. Just ask Cricket Australia. They’ll tell you all is back in order. Best not ask the same of their rugby counterparts. It’s all a bit unsightly there. Just the way we like it. We must not of course give in to temptation and gloat. That would be the work of the devil…
 
What do I hope for? Genuinely, that England win the cricket World Cup for the Strauss family. Amongst the more human reasons, it was after all Andrew Strauss who set us on this road to redemption 4 years ago. Sure, there has been some help along the way but he put the foundations in place and saw a way to us becoming the best in the world. It is just a shame he cannot be at the helm when – hopefully – on 14th July Eoin Morgan lifts the trophy on a sun kissed evening at Lord’s. Now that would be cricket at its finest and worth all the glory that May offers.
 
 
 
 
 
Finally, go on I dare you… have a watch of this. It’s worth it and shows that anything is possible. As long as you promise to sign up for our cricket tour to South Africa. We’ve won our own gold medal too recently.
 

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service

 

Gold

1. A precious metal which might be a good thing to have stored under your pillow.
2. The colour of the medal you might win were you to compete at the Olympics* and be better than anyone else.
3. A Spandau Ballet single released in 1983. As in,  “You’ve got the power to know
You’re indestructible, always believe in, ‘cos you are
Gold”  and so on. 
4. The colour of the Trusted Award we have been given for our independently verified, magnificent customer service over the last year.
 
We are very proud to have been able to offer so many fantastic tours one the years. For much of the time, all the hard work that goes into making these trips such a success goes unseen. Often, on return from one tour the team immediately gets on with preparing the next one for departure. In the case of the winter cricket tours, no sooner had our clients returned from Sri Lanka it was time to prepare for the Windies Cricket Tour.
 

The Gold Trusted service award from our reviews partner, Feefo, is not only an endorsement of all the work we put into make the tours such a great success but also in support of all the help we receive from our overseas agents who make all these tours go without so much of a hitch – most of the time ;-)… Thank you to you too.   LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service feefo-logo-300x59  

 

Thank You!

Finally, we really could not do it without you, our lovely customers. Some of whom return annually for their overseas sporting fix and some of whom appear every 4 years for the British Irish Lions. So, whether you are an old touring pro or you are a one time trip of a lifetime kind of a person we thank you for travelling with us and trusting us with your all your touring needs.
 
Of course, you may not have travelled with us before and therefore not know first hand how great we are at what we do. Now you don’t need to just take our word for it! Once you’ve had a good read of our reviews select your tour , sign up and come join in with the fun. With the England Cricket team touring South Africa this winter and the Guinness Six Nations next February there is a lot to look forward to. Who knows one of the teams you watch could be a World Cup winner….
 
*other sporting events are available.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sri Lanka Fund Raising – Please Help

Weʼre raising £5,000 to donate to Butterfly Vacations for all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success.
 

Following the tragic events on Easter Day, LWTL are raising some money for our friends in Sri Lanka.
As a small gesture of kindness to all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success, we would like to show our support by arranging a donation to Butterfly Vacations (now Tripavi). They will then ensure money reaches those members of their extended team most in need of help. With your help we hope to raise £5000.
To find more information and to donate please go to our Just Giving page https://bit.ly/2DXcxyU and donate whatever you can. Better still if you are within the top 10 donors we’ll enter your name into the draw to win a signed Murali cricket ball! Please share with as many people as you can
 
Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help MuraliBall
Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help ButterflyTeam

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour1

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour2

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour3

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour4

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

LWTL Thoughts With Sri Lanka

We are deeply saddened by recent events in Sri Lanka, which have shocked a very happy nation as we knew it before. We have been in touch with our local partners, their families and those who we had the pleasure of meeting on recent tours and we are pleased to say that everyone is safe and well.
 
Our immediate thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event and we would like to offer our continued support by remaining positive about Sri Lanka and give the communities some time to heal. LWTL look forward to touring to Sri Lanka in the future.
 

THE LWTL SUPPORTERS TEAM

Patrick, Gail, Craig, Lorri, Mike, Caitie

LWTL Thoughts With Sri Lanka Sri2
LWTL Thoughts With Sri Lanka Sri3

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

England preliminary 15-man ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Squad

England National Cricket Selectors have named a 15-man preliminary squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup starting at the end of May and an extended 17-man squad for the five-match Royal London ODI series against Pakistan, which precedes the World Cup.
 

Eoin Morgan (CPT)
Moeen Ali
Jonny Bairstow
Jos Buttler (WKT)
Tom Curran
Joe Denly
Alex Hales
Liam Plunkett
Adil Rashid
Joe Root
Jason Roy
Ben Stokes
David Willey
Chris Woakes
Mark Wood

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

2020 Guinness Six Nations

FEBRUARY 1st:

Wales v Italy (2.15pm)
Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 2nd:

France v England (3.00pm)
 

FEBRUARY 8th:

Ireland v Wales (2.15pm)
Scotland v England (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 9th:

France v Italy (3.00pm)
 

FEBRUARY 22nd:

Italy v Scotland (2.15pm)
Wales v France (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 23rd:

England v Ireland (3.00pm)
 

MARCH 7th:

Ireland v Italy (2.15pm)
England v Wales (4.45pm)
 

MARCH 8th:

Scotland v France (3.00pm)
 

MARCH 14th:

Wales v Scotland (2.15pm)
Italy v England (4.45pm)
France v Ireland (8.00pm)

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

A 2019 Six Nations Wrap

 
The Six Nations always throws up some surprises and some great games. There had been witterings that this year’s version hadn’t quite lived up to expectations. These expectations were perhaps overly high following such a successful Autumn series for the home nations but the fans, as we always do, expected. We entered the final weekend of the tournament with Wales on the brink of another Slam, England waiting in the wings for a slip up and the Scots and the Irish in damage limitation mode. There was also a game in Rome, and whilst unfair to the protagonists, did anyone actually care?
 
Italy 14 – 25 France
Wales 25 – 7 Ireland
England 38 – 38 Scotland
 

The Grand Slam

In real terms this meant the Warren Gatland’s prophecy came true and Wales achieved a remarkable 3rd Grand Slam in his 11 year tenure. He and his coaching team are amazing and deserve all the plaudits they get. They say a dog owner starts to look like his dog. The same, it seems, goes for a national rugby team and their defensive coach. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine popping your shorts on and getting ready to run into 23 Shaun Edwards. No thank you very much. Doubtless Mr Edwards would’ve been furrowing his brow when Ireland crossed for a consolation score in the final moments. All that remains to be said is that Alun Wyn-Jones is now amongst the game’s all time greats. 

A 2019 Six Nations Wrap grandSlamWales-300x200

AWJ and team soak up the glory after a great tournament

 

Calcutta Cup Overfloweth

The game at Twickenham started off just as many had expected. Even after the result in Cardiff England roared into the Scots, did the usual and scored within a couple of minutes. They continued in the same vain for the next 25 minutes and into a 31 point lead. Some folks around the place were whispering 100 points. It was all tongue in cheek but what it really meant was that Twickenham was crying out for a bit of a contest. The previous games against Italy and France had not really produced any drama. Well, we got what we wanted.
 

After a score just before the half-time whistle, Scotland emerged from their giant sporans, squeezed some extra juice out of the pipes before finally starting to play. Finn Russell and Ali Price started to run the show, while England did their level best to hand the game over on a plate. However, Scotland and Russell in particular, must take all the credit. Even from the most one eyed Englishman we could only watch on and marvel (and mutter, ‘we’ll not win the World Cup playing like that’.) Before, you could whisper pass the hip flask Scotland had scored their 6th try to lead 38-31. England’s answer throughout was the same old really: keep kicking the ball back and wait for the opposition to run at you. And run they did. England spend so much time in training practicing the close up tackling and line speed they seem to have forgotten how to tackle one on one. There was also the whiff of ‘we’ve been here before’.

A 2019 Six Nations Wrap IMG_8515-300x225

Eddie let’s one slip / gets away with it.

 

If we are to take – as an English fan – a positive from this England were able to summon some substitutes from the bench and score the final try of the game to take a very unlikely draw. It would have been easy to just shrivel up, lose and trot out the familiar clichés about not wanting to peak too early but England went from their own 22 and secured a converted try to draw.
 

Mike’s View

After years of travelling the globe coaching and now supporting national teams our very own Mike Pyrgos sums up the game as this:
“In a fascinating final 6 Nations day at Twickenham it became clear that trying to predict the Home Nations World Cup chances is about as sure as trying to predict the weather. England played with skill, panache and real quality for 35 minutes and even when Stuart McInally scored for Scotland just before half time nobody expected the turn around that followed in the second half. Scotland played with gay abandon and looked as if the shackles had been released and Finn Russell was the ring master, calling the shots and sparking Scotland which allowed them to cause the greatest comeback in 6 Nations history. Only England’s determination not to lose allowed them to salvage a draw but even the most partisan supporter could not disagree that that is what makes the 6 Nations the greatest International Rugby Tournament in the World.”
 

The LWTL Awards

It is customary at the end of the tournament to award some prizes. Without further ado see below for some prizes. The winners may never know but it is important to give credit where credit is due. Or in some cases where it isn’t.
 
The ‘Our Man in Belfast’ award for most over-confident fans at the start of the tournament – Irish fans
 
Comic Villain – Close one this but Johnny Sexton for his petulance at being replaced and shouting at his teammates when he chucked the ball into touch towards the end of the game. 
 
Silly Decision by a Coach – Joe Schmidt for asking for the roof to be kept open in truly awful conditions.
 
Eddie Jones Award for Silly Stats – Eddie Jones has to give this to himself. He was very incorrect when suggesting that Wales were tired after putting in the most tackles in the Six Nations before the final round. England had.
 
Pass of the Tournament – Tempting to give this to Finn Russell for every pass he threw in the second half in the England game but Jamie George nicks it for the left handed beauty he threw the previous week. Extra points for being a hooker.
 

Six Nations 2020

Although we have the small matter of the Rugby World Cup later this year we are now also ready to start thinking about the 2020 Six Nations. There are many known unknowns and unknown knowns to consider. Firstly will the tournament involve a World Champion? I think so. There’ll be a new coaching team at Wales with Wayne Pivac facing the tough task of filling Warren Gatland’s jock strap. Will France have a new coach? Will they even have a coach? Eddie Jones may not even be there either. Andy Farrell will be at the helm in Ireland for his first international head coach job. So much intrigue and therefore even more reason to start thinking about going to the games next year. Pre-register now for an opportunity to book your spot in Rome or Paris next year. 
 

The Six Nations 2020 Fixtures

Round 1

Feb 1: Wales v Italy (2.15pm), Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm);
Feb 2: France v England (3.0pm);
 

Round 2

Feb 8: Ireland v Wales (2.15pm), Scotland v England (4.45pm);
Feb 9: France v Italy (3.0pm);
 

Round 3

Feb 22: Italy v Scotland (2.15pm), Wales v France (4.45pm);
Feb 23: England v Ireland (3.0pm);
 

Round 4

Mar 7: Ireland v Italy (2.15pm), England v Wales (4.45pm);
Mar 8: Scotland v France (3.0pm);
 

Round 5

Mar 14: Wales v Scotland (2.15pm), Italy v England (4.45pm), France v Ireland (8.0pm)
 
SO what are you waiting for? To pre-register for our packages and to get first look when they become available click here.
 

Posted in Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

Another happy customer

 

A Cricket Tour Thank You

We love happy customers! At Living With The Lions we enjoy the work that goes into setting up these tours: fixing the flights, arranging the hotel rooms, ensuring match tickets are available, amongst many other components that make a successful tour. Additionally adding some great excursions to make sure our clients can see a bit more of their destination rather than the inside of the transfer bus, the beach bar, a cricket ground and an air conditioned room. It goes without saying we absolutely love the tours themselves and the friends we make along the way. However, what we find the most rewarding is the happy faces and the positive feedback we get from our clients at the end of the tour.

 

Another happy customer englishHarbour-300x225

English Harbour – Antigua

Official reviews v DIY feedback

There is no question we are living in the time of the review. A review for the coffee (bitter and non-fair trade), a review for the service at the bank (slow, dated and insecure), council services (potholey, expensive and invisible), gym (sweaty, bad attitude to recycling, unidentified object in the shower) and so on. Here at LWTL we have slowly been building up a healthy repository of very positive reviews. All of which count towards making us feel warm inside. However, every so often you get something a bit different and from a different channel which ticks many more boxes and makes us all feel even better.
 

A Windies Cricket Tour thank you

To the team at LWTL,
 
Please excuse this old fashioned e-mail review of my trip to Barbados and Antigua for the cricket tour 2019. (I think you may have sent an official message/text about reviewing which I have no doubt ‘mislaid’ !)
 
This was my first experience of LWTL and the best compliment I can start with is to say I will be back again.
 

OPENERS

Polite and efficient service following my initial enquiry. Also, a good quality merchandise pack.
 

MIDDLE ORDER

The trip was well organised from arriving at Gatwick to leaving the hotel at Antigua. Inclusive food was fine, crickets tickets good and coach/taxi transfers during the tour were timely. Also the Q&A sessions arranged with Joel Garner and Darren Gough were an excellent bonus.
 

ALL-ROUNDER – Mike Pyrgos

Particularly impressed with Mike. He organised everything exceptionally well, always with good humour and was never stumped by the challenges thrown at him. Generally a fantastic character to have around the group.
 

TAILENDERS

So, many thanks to the whole LWTL team for helping make the tour enjoyable. I don’t suppose next time LWTL can go that extra mile and arrange for me to finally see England win a game overseas ?!! I am 5-0 down at the moment.
 
With thanks to Barry Dodge who travelled with us to the Caribbean for the Test Series against the Windies. We’ll see what we can do about the result next time!
 

Another happy customer mikePinaColada-261x300

Tour Managers Andy & Mike enjoying the fruits of their hard work!

Where to next?

As more happy customers make their way home after a great cricket tour to the Windies, we need to start thinking about where to go next. Towards the end of this year is the South African cricket tour which will take place over Christmas and New Year. We are taking pre-registrations now and we’ll launch the tour as soon as we get the dates are released. Beyond that England will be travelling to Sri Lanka and India in March 2020 and September 2020 respectively. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up, join us and be a happy customer on one of the forthcoming tours. And make our day!

Another happy customer happyCustomers-e1551882967347-300x146

Happy Customers at the final ODI – St Lucia

 

Posted in Blog, Cricket Blog | Leave a comment

A Preview of Wales V England – 2019 Guinness Six Nations

 

Editor’s Note

We interrupt these proceedings with a piece of breaking news. We have a guest poster for the this year’s 2019 Guinness Six Nations. David – or our man in Belfast – has taken out his monocle and delivered the ultimate compliment by previewing the game in Cardiff this weekend. Would he have been so generous with his time had Ireland beaten England in the opening round? We’ll never know. However, we thank him for his neutral view. Though like you will be we are increasingly confused as to why he has written about himself in the 3rd person. A fine line between genius and madness. Anyway, take it away David and good luck Wales. You’ll need it.
 

The Greatest Team Ever

The 3rd round of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations see what some have somewhat prematurely dubbed a ‘Grand Slam Showdown’**. England come into Saturday with the momentum firmly in their corner, after a thorough beat-down of the French that made old timers harken back to the Battle of Waterloo, and a conclusive victory in Dublin over the ‘unofficial best in the world’ Irish team – (cut to David in our Belfast office shaking his head for approximately the 4,273rd time since the fateful day). Wales on the other hand have started the Six Nations nations with two uneven performances, albeit resulting in wins vs France and Italy. They will need to improve if they are to record their 12th straight win and set a new Welsh record. They too are ‘the greatest ever’ if you ask Eddie Jones. Or Warren Gatland.
 
The teams bring no surprises, with only injuries changing a formidable England side. The loss of Mako Vunipola will be felt, as he had rediscovered his best form and his work around the park will be sorely missed. The line-out will as always be key and the battle between the imperious Alun Wyn Jones and George Kruis will be a feast for the purists. At the breakdown the battle between young Tom Curry and Justin Tipuric will be one to watch. For the casual viewer there’s always the immense Courtney Lawes, who seems to be having a competition with Mr Farrell to see who can put in the biggest late hit (again comments from a bitter David in Belfast). The unsung heroes of both packs will play a large role, Welsh front row Tom Francis has a knack for getting over the ball and is almost immovable when positioned, and Mark Wilson has been the answer to England’s recent back row woes, with two excellent performances on the flank to open the tournament.
 
The backlines mix heavy hitters and speedsters out wide. Manu Tuilagi has been a revelation since his return to the white shirt, and his battle with the physical Hadleigh Parkes will be tremendous fun. Johnny May and George North* have both got their campaigns off to multiple tries and both seem at their electric best, with May in particular receiving the plaudits, after a hat trick within half an hour against the French. I can’t confirm but I do believe his opposite number asked for his shirt to wave in surrender at the half time whistle.
 
Then of course we have the consistently excellent Jonathan Davies, perhaps the best 13 in world rugby, who will be a handful for the England defence. As always games tend to come down to the men in the 10 jersey. Owen Farrell has been in fine form, controlling the proceedings with his right boot and marshalling the gain line with his hard nose defence (David his now been muzzled), on the other hand Gareth Anscombe brings an exciting unpredictability to the Welsh attack and if he can release Wales pacey outside backs we could be in for a feast of try scoring rugby.
 

A Prediction

We’re very excited for what will no doubt be an incredible contest in Cardiff. It is certainly the fixture of round 3 of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. Sadly for both sides Yohan Huget isn’t around this week to kindly gift tries so all points will be hard earned. Even David in Belfast finds it hard to see past a narrow England win. We managed to get a scoreline prediction on one of his breaks from banging his head on his desk. 28-22 to England. See you at 16.45 Saturday. If you are lucky enough to be going enjoy the yourself. It shouldn’t be hard.
 
By David McLaughlin in Belfast.
 
* we think this is a generous appraisal of Mr North’s performance in spite of the tries he ran in against France.
** – well nobody else can win the Grand Slam can they David?! Remember earlier this month?!
 

Posted in Blog, Rugby Blog | Leave a comment