I have never been to a cricket match of any description, level or length, even though it is my all time favourite sport. Despite that, or maybe because of it, I had absolutely no intention of attending the Ireland/England versus England/Ireland one-day international in Malahide in person. (Old Irish joke – why did Malahide? Because Terenure. I think it’s in Ulysses. You probably need to be from Dublin.)
However, a back injury sustained the previous Sunday evening by bending down to put a fork into/take a fork out of (my memory on this point is hazy) the dishwasher, while my able-bodied and supple-backed wife and three children looked on, meant that I would have to track the proceedings on Cricinfo from home as opposed to doing so from work.
Yes: dilemma. It’s easy skiving off work to follow the cricket scores, but how does one skive off being incapacitated to check the cricket scores?
By Tuesday, scarred by two nights of interrupted sleep, I didn’t get around to checking the score until about the point where Porterfield had scored his century. This is because of the slow and deliberate moves required to locate the power cord to our laptop, which the children had cunningly hidden in a location most likely to trouble somebody with a chronic back problem.
Lunch was not a picnic: no smoked salmon or Champagne, no Pimm’s or hot steak sandwiches from Jamie, no steak and kidney pie or pints of lager. No, lunch was a cheese toastie, two chocolate digestives and a cup of tea.
Given I was further scarred by the non rock ‘n’ roll nature of my back injury (I mean, what can people ask you? “So, what, were you putting on – a full power wash or an eco-cycle?”), my second visit to the ball-by-ball score was at the exciting point of England/Ireland being four wickets down with Morgan and Bopara at the crease.
Having by this time realised that the furtive joy of sneaking looks at the ball-by-ball coverage is more heightened in a work context (particularly a pressurised work situation) than a sick-at-home context, while also realising that the stage was set for a Morgan ton to do down his country of birth, my third and final look at Cricinfo coincided with Bopara’s ton and Morgan’s winning runs.
Didn’t do much for my back, as you can imagine, which took a further seven (seven!) days to heal. On the positive side, we are getting a cat, which I can only hope will be conspicuously indifferent to cricket.