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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Trading on Five-Day Cricket: A Test of Nerve

12th August - 25th August 2011
Cricket: £152.08 | Golf: £37.73 | Horse Racing: £92.23 | Soccer: £2.92  Total P&L:  £284.96

The series may have ended in a joyous whitewash of India for the new holders of the ICC mace, but as Swanny celebrated like a demented fish in the middle, I was somewhat more sedate on the sidelines.  Yes, I was delighted that the side I have seen at Lord's against Sri Lanka twice this summer, and followed from Edgbaston to the Oval against the former world number ones, have reached the pinnacle of test cricket, but I'm left feeling empty at the prospect of a load of one-dayers and T20 matches, even with the promises of some heart-racing trading opportunities.

When I'm honest with myself, I can only put this emotional void down to the fact that I feel the £152.08 profit yielded over the past couple of weeks could have been so much more had I not panicked during Monday's final day of play in south London.

Having layed £200 at 1.55 about the draw after the first day's play, and strengthened with an additional stake of £80 at 3.4, I was looking a healthy profit dead in the face.  With the same steely resolve that Rahul Dravid showed as he racked up a monster 146*, carrying his bat, and eschewing a lie-down to come straight back out of the India dressing room after Strauss enforced the follow-on, I was convinced that a wall had been built around my cold-blooded Betfair persona.

Looking back, the warning signs were there.  I had been a bit shaky, a tad nervy, waking up very early (04:32!) on Monday and worrying about the weather forecast, I backed the draw, but immediately reversed that decision and re-layed, having read a more favourable predictor of meteorological events.

Then on the final day of the test match, with sun drooling down on the Oval proving the weatherman correct, and Tendulkar being carried along by rookie night-watchman Amit Mishra, the markets started turning against me.  Like Gambhir backpedalling to a Kevin Pietersen top-edge, I failed to sieze the opportunity I had been given, and fell over myself, eyes rolling about in my heed, as the draw became clear favourite on the exchanges.  Heading towards lunch, the draw fell from odds-against, to evens, to 1.8 then 1.65 and it all became too much for me.

With a recent post whirling around my dizzy dome ( and convinced the markets were reflecting reality, I decided to back out of the position, and waded into the draw like I was being pulled in by quicksand.  £650 backed at 1.65.

I went from GREEN, GREEN, RED to RED, RED, green in a space of seconds.. lunch was taken, and the draw fell further to 1.4.  I felt some relief.  But I kept saying to myself: "What if SRT and this part-timer lose their wickets? What if Swanny starts extracting some of that famous Oval turn?  What if the new ball makes a difference?"  

Chatting it through with @paolobow, we weighed up some of these possibilities, but had to accept that the right decision had probably been made.  The draw stood at 1.17 and I layed off £100 of my stake, reducing my £44 profit on the draw down to about £25 and thinking it was better than nothing.  

Then - drama! My ESPNcricinfo app started buzzing through to me - OUT! A Mishra 84 b Swann.... woah..ok......then OUT! SR Tendulkar 91 lbw b Bresnan... oh no.. like Gambhir coming to his senses and realising the error he had made, I suddenly felt ill (yet simultaneously gutted for Sachin and yet delighted for Brezza).  I was exposed to the tune of around £300 on an England victory.  A couple of hours ago, that outcome would have netted me nearly £400. 

I checked the markets: the draw stood at 1.6... still, even with those wickets falling.  I didn't understand it.  Taking an impulsive deep breath, I submerged myself again, laying £300... "Success!" said the iBetMate App that I used, "Bet UNmatched".  How that can be regarded as success in such spine-tingling moments, I will never know.  I adjusted the odds offered to 2.2 and clicked submit.  £300 matched at 14:58.

By 15:02, just four minutes later, the draw was out to 5.4.  I layed £30 and watched in awe as the figures lengthened further, the markets sent into haywire by a spell of 7 wickets for just 21 runs in an insane afternoon calypso-collapse by the struggling subcontinentals.

So, I walked away with a profit of £89.13 from this fourth and final test match.  It could have been much more, but I suppose a hell of a lot worse.  The whole episode re-emphasised to me that, whilst betting on test-cricket, you need to keep a) a close eye on the odds and b) your head....don't let the panic of the punters cloud your judgement or you'll miss the ball and end up like goggley-eyed Gambo on your back with a market-migraine..

Please click to enlarge and view the full extent of the turmoil


  1. lay that draw then hold your nerve!

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