Send your match reports to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re only really interested in your own experience, so if it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. (But if it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.)
I haven’t actually been to the cricket that much. You could count the number of visits on one hand and have change, and that’s only partly due to the scheduling. It does mean, however, that every game I go to feels like an event – a principle that this blog has cottoned onto and that the international cricket schedule steadfastly ignores.
Also at every cricket game I’ve been to, there’s been at least one newcomer to the sport, a cricket convert waiting to be made.
(My previous two visits to Lord’s are recorded in these hallowed webpages here and here. I also attended a Blast game at the Oval with colleagues. There was fire, a woman wore a blue wig, and you couldn’t BYOB and the drinks were grossly overpriced. There’s your bonus mini-match report.)
The party this time then consisted of me, my partner Mummer (see last time), Pevets, and their partner Jongleur. Also marshmallows. (More on those later.)
Pevets is a friend of Latvian origin. Latvia aren’t known for their cricket. Fortunately, Jongleur is more sporty than I am, so persuading the two of them to come along wasn’t the hardest thing in the world. The difficulty would be persuading Pevets that cricket was, in fact, good, when we arrived, something I hadn’t been overly successful at with Mummer last time out. The game’s progress over days 1 and 2 had also left me somewhat worried about how much they’d actually get to see – as had the weather.
On that point at least we were fine. The day proved to be less about dodging rain or bad light, and more about four intensely pale people trying to stay out of the solar glare.
I’d sold first-class cricket to Pevets as, “an excuse for a day-long picnic,” so roughly five minutes after sitting down we cracked open the menu: M&S’ finest to start off the day. Sun-dried tomatoes in focaccia, coronation chicken rolls, and chocolate-chip brioche washed down with thermos-flavoured tea. I don’t know what Jongleur and Pevets had, to my shame, but it won’t have been chocolate-chip brioche. Pevets hates chocolate. Our friendship is built around me offering them chocolate and them threatening to bite me in return.
We’re getting to the marshmallows. Patience.
With supplies on hand, Jongleur doing a much better job of explaining cricket to Pevets than I could hope for, and Mummer resigned, I was able to take in the action on-field and the cheering number of kids brought along. (The number was cheering, the kids were more reserved.) Who says the County Champ is only for the retired? Apart from the ECB and the grim number of days actually played on weekends, that is.
At lunchtime we fled the ever-encroaching sun, from the top of the Edrich to the bottom of the Mound. Tea was replaced by wine, which was replaced by fizz (Home of Corks and all that) and strawberries. Also, finally: marshmallows. You may be wondering, do marshmallows go with fizz? It is my personal opinion that they do not.
Pevets has been known to refer to me as a marshmallow, for my generally sweet and squishy demeanour. I think I go okay with fizz.
Things happened on the field, resulting in an only slightly premature end to what had been an ideal day at the cricket off the field. We decamped to a local pub and took stock. After all that, had we made a cricket convert? Here are three of Pevets’ paraphrased takes on the day.
- “I mostly look up when [Jongleur] makes a noise and miss whatever’s just happened.”
- “I can’t see the ball most of the time.”
- “Not sure if I’m much better at assessing cricket, but I can attest that cricket is a good background noise.”
So: maybe! Hooray! But possibly they’d be more fond of, or at least more likely to follow, pink ball cricket. Even if at this stage the ball has the consistency, as well as the hue, of a marshmallow.