THIS SPORTING LIFE: Liam Conroy finds a knockout formula
NO ball. Four. No ball. Four. No run. Four. No run. Three.
AFTER witnessing his nervous first over in Test match cricket, many of the Lord's crowd that July day in 2003 probably wondered whether they'd ever hear much of Jimmy Anderson again.
Fast-forward 14 years and the Lancashire paceman is widely regarded as the finest seam bowler this country has ever produced.
To be fair to Anderson, he did recover quickly after seeing his first over go for 17 runs on his debut against Zimbabwe. Anderson followed it up with a maiden, then a wicket-maiden, and in a more accurate sign of things to come, the 22-year-old ended the innings with figures of 5 for 73.
His first Test match wicket saw him bowl Mark Vermuelen, and fittingly his 500th Test victim came in the same fashion at the same venue as West Indian Kraigg Brathwaite heard the death rattle.
The Burnley Express ended with Test-best figures of 7 for 42 in last week's decider to lead England to victory, and he currently stands on 506 wickets.
Only three spinners, Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619) and two pacemen, Glenn McGrath (563) and Courtney Walsh (519), have taken more Test wickets, and if Anderson stays fit then Walsh and McGrath are both in his sights.
Now 35, Anderson surely can't go on delivering the goods at the highest level for much longer. It's one Test series at a time for him now, and that starts with the little matter of the Ashes.
It could be a difficult series Down Under for an England batting line-up which has shown to be susceptible to the odd collapse during the summer wins over South Africa and West Indies. The Aussie quickies will look expose any weaknesses as they try desperately to wrestle back the biggest prize in cricket.
England have the ability and experience to do the job, especially if Joe Root can balance the pressures of captaining an Ashes-touring team in Australia, role while also scoring plenty of runs. And what will help Root and England's cause immensely is having a fully-fit Anderson firing on all cylinders for the whole series.
CALLING all Raiders fans. Now is the time to get down to Craven Park.
Barrow are heading for an exciting climax to the League One campaign, with the target being three home wins which will see them promoted to the Championship.
If you want to see Raiders playing in a higher division in 2018 you can play your part by roaring them to victory, firstly against Keighley this Sunday, and then in the play-off semis and final.
Paul Crarey's men have been playing exciting rugby all season, and with the League One Cup already in the bag, grabbing the second promotion spot behind Toronto would be the icing on the cake of a memorable year.
Three home wins will achieve that goal. What will help Barrow's cause greatly is fans coming through the turnstiles in numbers to see them home – and give the club's coffers a much-needed boost in the process.