It’s the school holidays, so I decided to take my six-year-old son, Bert, to his first live cricket experience (I believe that is what they are called these days). It was day two of the County Championship match between Lancs and Durham, so that seemed ideal. Being the school holidays, when lots of people might have time on their hands to explore the region, the trams aren’t running. This meant we had to drive and park (£8 a go). We parked near the boundary. Bert Jr asked if I was worried that the car might get hit by a big six. I realised I had plenty to teach him about County Championship cricket.
We selected seats at the front in Stand B. The boundary rope had been moved several feet away from the perimeter, so the fielders who came down that way were too far away to pester. This is a bad thing. Bert had his autograph book with him and had the boundary been in the right place he would have been able to pester Mark Davies for his autograph at inappropriate times. As it was, the blond-haired grinning fool got away with it.
Bert asked when something might start to happen. I explained that it already was. I told him that the point of all this was to say in years to come that he had seen VVS Laxman bat, in that way that old men say that they once saw Hutton bat. Bert then turned his attention to asking for ice cream and hot dogs. I succumbed on the former, but suggested that the latter would best wait for tea.
Bert then started to sort-of watch the cricket. Bert joined in with the clapping and copied some of the crowd’s comments. It is fascinating to hear the words (and accent) of old men shouted by a young child – “Grayt shot, lad.” “Luvly play.” “That was never owt, Neil.” “Six LBWs! D’yu carry ‘im rownd in tha’ pocket, Blackwell?”
After tea, I went to buy the hot dogs I had been promising all afternoon. However, people are not allowed to eat at Old Trafford at 4.30pm, so the van had shut.
At the end of play, Bert asked if we could come again. This was very pleasing. His stated reason for this was so that he could get Mark Davies’ autograph. I wonder if anyone else has ever gone to a cricket match for this specific reason.
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