Lancashire v Durham County Championship match report

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Bert writes:

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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  1. I do hope, Bert, that you have a safe hiding place, for when Sixsixeight reads this and the description of Mark Davies as a “blonde haired grinning fool” she will hunt you down and kill you (unless I get to you first). Your son is, however, a lad of rare good sense.

  2. For my 11th birthday my Dad took me and a friend to watch Somerset v Worcestershire. I only really wanted to go so I could get Graeme Hick’s autograph.

    I didn’t.

  3. You seem to be doing a good job Bert. Bert jr needs to learn first up that his local county cricket club hates him and wants him to go away. That’s what our county wanted us to do when I went with young alex.
    A lot of counties have employed the same consultant in order to make going to a day’s cricket as unpleasant as possible. In fact, you’re lucky there was any play at all during the holidays. Preposterous fixture lists are one of their chief weapons.

  4. I am most terribly sorry, Ceci. I really didn’t want to offend anyone, and if I have upset you and SixSixEight, please accept my apologies. In certain lights his hair does look more “mousy” than “blond”.

  5. Don’t worry Bert – I’m not hunting down anyone who has the good sense to see Durham play! And I like the lads style – excellent player choice. I would suggest a late season match for the full ‘sun enhanced’ blond effect.

  6. Ah, memories. My old man took me to watch Gloucestershire play the West Indies at Bristol in 1995, ostensibly with the goal of teaching me how to score so I could do it for his Saturday side, I think. I got very good at writing little 4s next to Andrew Symond’s name, and “b Sheeraz” next to the West Indian batsmen (a career best 6-67 in the first innings).

    Lowlights of the day were also curiously autograph related. I distinctly remember running across the pitch at the end of the game, only to be told to “Leave me alone man” by Curtley Ambrose, and writing “Sol Campbell” next to Sherwin Campbell’s signature. Actually, Sol probably would have been more useful with the bat in that match.

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