Rain starts play (a 1983 ‘Thunder Match’ report)

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Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. 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.)

Herbert Ackgrass, the official cricket biographer of regular King Cricket contributor Ged Ladd writes…

In 1983, within days of the second of Ged’s three matches for “The Players Of The Left”, it now transpires that our Ladd was at it again.

I interviewed Ged’s dear, eccentric friend, Fletcher Lyons, on the matter of the heatwave at Keele that summer. Ged had mentioned stifling weather breaking and subsequently students running out of their flats to dance on the playing fields in the rain.

“Indeed! I remember it very well and often think about it,” said Lyons. “I had just secured a year off for the following year and was in an anarcho-celebratory mood. It was a bright, hot evening that suddenly went dark as night. There was thunder… lightning… the way that we loved it was frightening. We even played bad wicketless cricket in it.”

Naturally I asked for more details on the cricket. Ged claimed almost zero memory of that cricket match, while King Cricket readers expect and deserve excruciating detail.

“Knock on wood. Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” said Lyons. This interview was clearly going to require another pint of beer with a silver shilling at the bottom of the glass. 

“The 1983 Thunder Match took place in the affluence of various influences,” he continued, as the beer cleared his mind and the shilling purchased his tongue. The various influences in 1983 would no doubt have been gaseous herbal remedies as well as fermented liquids.  

“More misses than hits, more sliding than running, more laughing than ‘howzat,’ more singing than cheering. We all won.”

Sadly there is no video evidence of this 1983 event. However, I have uncovered a famous video clip of soaking wet dancing from that year which I can safely say bears no resemblance to the Keele students thunder dance.

I have also found a more recent cricket clip that illustrates “rain started play” cricket in all its glory.

Featured image: Dark skies, CC licencsed by Dennis Amith via Flickr.


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  1. Fletcher Lyons sent me a two-word comment on this piece: “Love it!”

    That Ackgrass is an inquisitive so-and-so. I dread to think what he’ll dig up next from my cricketing past.

  2. As we have now reached the “in other news” stage of these comments…

    …Daisy and I enjoyed following yesterday’s ODI between West Indies and England, despite the frustration of seeing what seemed to be a winning position for England ebb away.


    “It was a victory of Hope over expectation”, I said. Daisy did not look pleased.

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