Essex v West Indies indoctrination of a young mind match report

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Dan writes:

My seven year old son looks a demon with the bat in his hands in the back garden, and he actually pays attention when the cricket’s on the TV. He seems to reserve special interest for the Test matches, which is very pleasing.

So this summer we signed him up at the local cricket club (can I give Rankins of Rochford, Essex, a plug and a thank you?) as part of the ECB’s All Star Cricket programme for 5 to 8 year olds. He loved it.

I loved that one of the coaches was very encouraging of the high elbow when playing straight – something I tried to instil in the boy in the back garden, due to my aesthetic love of the straight drive. A good one really can make me tingle.

The ECB threw in some extra benefits, such as child +1 freebie tickets to see the county play. We got a pair for Essex against the touring West Indies side before the Test series started.

I had a plan to keep him from getting bored during the long day and the morning session went very well.

Watching the opening spell, there was a very amusing small group of West Indians being marvellously vocal for such an event. They did make everyone smile. All day long.

We ate the packed lunch early, so we could get the boy on the outfield for a bit of coaching with the young lads from the Essex Academy.

The young ‘All Stars’ had a whale of a time out there, and even the rain couldn’t stop them.

They did get told off by the announcer – “I’ve told you once!” – when asked to clear the outfield for the start of afternoon play.

The plan for the afternoon was to walk around the ECG to enjoy different vantage points and views. And, of course, buy some surprisingly reasonably priced branded stationery and a belated score card and programme from the club shop.

Before we knew it I was embarrassing myself giving him some throw downs during tea.

Assuming he’d be bored by now, I’d prepared the wife to expect us home for dinner. But one portion of chips later, scorecard on his lap and pencil at the ready, he sat transfixed by the evening session.

You can’t imagine how happy it made me as someone desperate to have a conversation in my own home about cricket that elicits more than a weary wife’s sigh and how much of a success the day was in terms of indoctrination of a young mind.

If we have more young people like this out there, Test cricket will survive at least one more generation.

Send your match reports to If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. I like how the description of the actual cricket-playing is present when the kids are batting but absent when the pros are – like two match reports for the price of one. We must all have won some kind of free ticket.

  2. For some reason I read this with trepidation, expecting something to go horribly wrong or for a glorious opportunity to be missed, etc etc. I was somewhat relieved then it didn’t, and the tension dissipated.

    Parented, sir!

    1. It wasn’t just me, then, Mike. I too felt this was building up to something horrible – like Dan inadvertently catching his son with a beamer during the teatime throw downs or some headphone-wearing cricket star brushing past his son’s outstretched autograph book – but, no, thankfully it all ended well.

      Great match report, Dan.

  3. This is superb news. County cricket is the perfect place for young kids, not least because the lack of any actual people there means you can allow them a degree of freedom they wouldn’t otherwise get. Send them off to the other side of the ground to get deep fine leg’s autograph – they’re unlikely to see anyone else on the way, and they’ll come back feeling all grown up.

    Also, excellent back garden work on the elbow.

  4. Splendid stuff Dan. And if he’s that fond of the Championship, just imagine how keen he’ll be on the new kids-and-mums-friendly format in a couple of years!

  5. What a charming match report. Well done Dan.

    Dan Junior sounds like an absolute star in the making, both as player and spectator of cricket.

    But what a shocker KC has had in the headline department. Essex v West Indies?

    No sir. Not for a tour match. Essex v West Indians.


    As for Leicestershire’s revival, it seems that you, daneel, didn’t believe my extensive eye-witness praise for the reinvigourated Foxes and their spirited bowling attack. You needed to see the Kent v Leicestershire scorecard. No doubt the Nottinghamshire scouts will be inviting those fine Leicestershire boys to see the delights of the Lace Market and Rock City during their unexpected extra two days off.

    1. Why are they limiting the options? Why can’t we pick the one where Rob Key made a double ton?

      1. Oh yeh, that test. that test. The one where Strauss made a hundred. And where Vaughan made a hundred. And where Chanderpaul made a hundred. And where Vaughan made another hundred. And where Chanderpaul (nearly) made another hundred.

        And where Rob Key was run out going for a quick single by a relay throw from the vacant deep midwicket area (I made that up, but it is entirely possible).

      2. It did, didn’t it Mike. It really did. It really really really really really did. As if pretty much anyone could get a decent score.

        In such conditions, what sets the batsmen apart is their ability to run between the wickets. Wicket-running-between, that’s the true measure of greatness.

    2. Melbourne 2010. Watched on my phone on the floor at my in laws.
      Trent Bridge 98. The first of all those listed I actually remember.
      Trent Brige 2013. Away on brother in laws stag, going from pub to pub watching.

  6. Thanks for the nice comments guys.

    If it makes you feel better, I did get him one in the face in the back garden on Sunday while he was practicing defending against the old chin music.
    Gentle bouncers with a rubber ball fortunately. He was fine and smashed the fence in anger with his next shot

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