ODI Series: West Indies v England takes centre stage

By Archibald Newton, My Club Betting Cricket Correspondent

First Series (Friday 3rd March @ 13:30)

England are in the Caribbean and that means one thing, it’s time for the ODI Series against the West Indies!

It should be a stroll in the park for Eoin Morgan’s side shouldn’t it? Well, yes it should but nothing’s ever straight forward with the English. Brexit springs to mind…

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To start with, England’s bowling attack looks as bare as my fridge! Mark Wood, David Willey and most likely Jake Ball are all missing, so the responsibility could be handed to Tom Curran who was “giddy” after receiving his first senior call-up. It’s not a holiday young sir!

The batting order should be pretty clear but then again, Sam Billings performed like a wet squid in the warm up games.

Jonny Bairstow made 86 at the top of the order in the second of those pre-series matches, but that isn’t his role… It’s all got a little confusing!

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Alex Hales is the man England will turn to but can you trust a man who declined the tour of Bangladesh at the end of last year? One thinks not… You too Morgan!

Now… where to start with the West Indies? It’s a good job that I have an hour or two to spare…

To put it bluntly, their preparation for this series has been an absolute shambles!

Players can only feature for the West Indies if they have played the relevant format domestically in the Caribbean since 2010. What a load of old tosh!

Missing the likes of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Johnson Charles, they’re squad is as experienced as my grandson’s pre-school class.

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They do however have Carlos Brathwaite in their ranks, who hit four successive sixes in the final over from Ben Stokes last year. Stokes hasn’t slept a wink since that World Twenty 20 final…

The England all-rounder will hopefully be able to keep his eyes open in Antigua, but it would also be appreciated Ben if you manage to deter from punching any lockers and clashing with any opposition players!

With nine victories from their past 10 ODI’s against the West Indies, that streak will continue but it certainly won’t be a walk in the park…

BEST BET: JONNY BAIRSTOW TO BE ENGLAND’S TOP RUN SCORER @ 6/1

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*Odds correct at time of publishing.

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HOWZAT FOR A GOOD BET?

We talk to the guys at Ratby Town Cricket Club about the benefits of a personalised MyClubBetting service.

As the sun sets on a great summer of sport there is still plenty of cricket to play and enjoy.

The sound of leather on willow still resonates from village greens and historic cricket grounds. Cups and leagues are being decided on the swish of a bat or the turn of a ball by one of more than 840,000 people playing for teams in England and Wales.

But many amateur cricket clubs are struggling to survive in an age of straitened finances and dwindling memberships. More than three hundred of those grassroots clubs have already signed up to benefit from a ground-breaking betting initiative, backed by Michael Vaughan OBE, who led England to their first Ashes win in two decades as captain in 2005.

Clubs from all over the UK, such as Seaton Burn CC, Ratby Town CC, Read CC, Norley Hall CC and Beacon CC, have signed up to the scheme that gives cricket fans the chance to support their club every time they place a bet with My Club Betting (MCB).

Now many clubs are closing in on free equipment and kit – supplied by MCB when certain numbers of qualified individuals sign-up to the scheme.

 “Cricket fans who like an occasional bet can help boost their club’s funds by using a bespoke, fully operational and licensed betting site, explained MCB Regional Director Les Dodd. “If they lose – and let’s face it there is a very good chance of that – the club will get 20% of the net revenue that the bookmaker earns.”

Typical of the type of club realising the potential of the MCB initiative is Ratby Town CC in Leicestershire. Formed in 1881 the club has played cricket at its Desford Lane ground since that time. The club supports a 1st XI in League Four of the Leicestershire & Rutland League, a 2nd XI and Sunday team and junior teams at U11, U13 and U15.

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That means a lot of kit, balls, league registration fees, ground upkeep and every day bills to pay. Partnering with MCB doesn’t cover it, but when every penny counts it certainly helps according to Sponsorship and Marketing Director Chris Clark.

“If your turn up to Friday night training there will be upwards of 100 juniors proving that Ratby is a popular club with a vibrant membership,” said Chris. “But we don’t have much else. We don’t have our own clubhouse to generate income and the pitch has to be maintained by our 2nd XI Captain and the club treasurer. If the mower breaks down we have to pay for the repairs.

“So every penny counts. Obviously some of our senior players and parents of junior members have an occasional bet, so it makes sense that they do it through My Club Betting in order to benefit Ratby CC.

 “We are always looking to move forward and to improve our facilities for our players, supporters and the wider community of which we are part and proud of. My Club Betting is similarly committed to assisting grassroots sports development and at our level you need all the help you can get.”

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To get your team its own free, personalised betting service and to start benefiting simply visit myclubbetting.com today!

If your team already has a My Club Betting service go the Club Directory and find their site.

MCB EXCLUSIVE – The Monday multi-bet – a trio of top tips!

You already know that your club betting service gives you more than any other high street bookie: We give your club free kit and equipment – plus we give back 20% of revenues!

And now we are attempting to find three bets each day to stimulate your punting juices.

Here’s our offering for Monday, March 23…

Cricket: New Zealand v South Africa

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Semi-final hex: South Africa

The Cricket World Cup is drawing to a close after what seems like months of one-sided games.

The final three games are expected to be far more exciting than the quarter-finals which pitched over-matched sides against the big guns.

The first semi-final, which takes place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, ensures that there will be at least one new finalist in Sunday’s showpiece.

South Africa and New Zealand have played in nine World Cup semi-finals between them and lost the lot.

The sentiment will be for New Zealand, who are marginally odds against. The neutrals will hope that they get through as it could well set up a final against rivals and hosts Australia.

South Africa have had their troubles at the top of the order and do not be surprised if the new-ball partnership of Trent Boult and Tim Southee make an early breakthrough.

However, South Africa have a better pedigree and have won 36 of the 61 previous One-Day International meetings. They have plenty of match-winners and at least one of them should step up when it matters.

Bet: South Africa to win @ 1.72

Basketball: Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics

We have to take a trip across the pond for our next sport selection. The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a classic battle for the final NBA playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics (30-39) are half a game behind eighth-placed Charlotte after losing to Detroit 105-97 on Sunday, while Brooklyn (29-39) is a game out of eighth place.

Boston has lost three straight and the Nets won their last five and it is worth taking a chance that both runs to come to an end this evening.

The Nets won 123-111 at Indiana on Saturday but the Celtics have won two of three meetings this season, including an 89-91 win at Brooklyn on January 7.

Boston will miss guard Isiaih Thomas (back), who has sat out the last seven games and this is significant. Hwever, the Nets are odds-on to win, despite having lost seven of the last 10 meetings with the Celtics, and are no certainties. We’ll take the four-point dogs, more in hope than confidence

Bet: Boston Celtics +4 @ 1.95

John takes spotlight

As the Jumps season draws to a close, it is understandable that the fare is very much bread-and-butter.

However, there are a couple of good betting heats each day and we start the week with Shy John (Taunton 4:50), who appears to have a fair chance in the C&S Electrical Wholesale Handicap Chase.

Unseated a week ago at the same track, the multiple point/hunter chase winner had hardly put a foot wrong at Ludlow previously, when chasing home a subsequent winner.

The danger is Barton Heather, who found one too good at Exeter last time, having made a winning start over fences at Uttoxeter previously. However, there is no guarantee she will handle the quicker ground.

Bet: Shy John (Taunton 4:50)

All odds quoted from Cefn Fforest AFC’s betting service cefnfforestafc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

You must be aged 18 or over to bet. Please gamble responsiblywww.gambleaware.co.uk