Taking the mic: Jack Dearden live and direct from the Royton Riviera

IT is the hope that usually does for you in the end. And so it proved again.

There we were cruising through a cricketing kaleidoscope of a summer: England World Cup winners, then heroics at Headingley- again.

Bring on the Aussies and the Ashes as we were on course to win the urn.

Then a bloke with that most common of names, Smith, decides to alter what had gone before. Or to give him his full name – Steven Peter Devereux Smith. Arguably Australia’s greatest export since Neighbours.

So, what the heck happened? James Anderson’s absence wasn’t much of a help but probably highlighted what lies beneath if you scratch the surface.

And the batting? England collapses were never really far away. Four wickets for 18 runs in the first innings of Test one, 6-27 in the second innings; 138-6 in the first innings of the drawn second Test, 161-5 in the second; and 67 all out in the first innings of the third Test though fair enough, they still won.

There was more fight in the fourth Test but on consecutive evenings, England still shipped three wickets for 30 runs then two for none.

Trying to stay upright at the batting crease clearly proved to be a major problem. At times, I have seen ice hockey players stay upright longer.

I could go on, but I’m even beginning to get on my own nerves.

So, onto football. Regular readers will be aware of my view. Footy is a busted flush outside the top flight and institutional changes to the governance of football have to be made. Soon.

So sad and sorry to see the Shakers go under. I have covered games at Gigg Lane for years and like everyone else never imagined it would come to this.

People taking control of clubs who appear to be motivated by an opportunity to make massive personal financial gain is destroying teams like Bury and Bolton. It seems there are many others nationwide.

I have seen suggestions teams like Wanderers and the Shakers have no divine right to exist. Rubbish.

They have earned that right by being around as long as they have, providing history and heritage to the cornerstones of those communities for more than 100 years.

The news is better for Bolton. At least they survived what has been the most worrying time in their history.

It will be interesting to see how the new managerial duo of Keith Hill, and Dave Flitcroft deal with the task at hand but I sincerely wish them all the best.

Now what about Latics? Even though the club issued a lengthy statement recently explaining the club’s situation it seems to me there are an awful lot of disgruntled fans out there.

Oldham have had 30 managers since 1994 (including caretakers and people who have returned to the club). It seems like a million miles away from the service given by Jimmy Frizzell and Joe Royle.

Speaking of managers it probably doesn’t help when former manager Pete Wild seems to be leading a revival at Halifax in the National League. At the time of writing, Town are next to the top of the table, a point behind the leaders and have distinction of being their league’s leading scorers.

My late wife Hilary was the secretary at the club for a few years. So, I am pleased to see Halifax and Royton’s own Pete Wild making a fist of it.

WOW…Betfred Super League take a bow! Beyond belief, never mind expectation.

Going into the final games of the regular season any one of four clubs could have been relegated.

In the end it was London Broncos who took the dreaded drop despite a great effort.

Elsewhere, Salford have caught the eye this campaign. For a club of their finance and resource to finish third is a magnificent achievement.

It’s Salford’s highest league finish since season 1975-76 and the most points they have accrued in a top flight season in their entire history.

It was also the first time they produced eight consecutive top flight wins since 1975-76.

While we are at it Salford’s Jackson Hastings is nailed on for the Man of Steel award and Ian Watson should win the Coach of the Year.

Right folks, I would just like to say a big thank you to one and all who have wished me well over the last few weeks. I was recently diagnosed with the big C and I’m being treated at The Christie.

Frankly, I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s support and encouragement. My heartfelt thanks to all.


You can hear me on BBC Radio Manchester and find me on Twitter @TheJackDearden

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