Surrey v Lancashire County Championship match report

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Sorry about this morning’s aberration where we actually contributed something to the website. David “Pappus’ Plane” Barry’s here to redress the balance with a match report:

This was my first experience of cricket in England: the opening day of the 2008 County Championship. One notable difference from Australia was clear at entry to the Oval – the price of the ticket was £12. Twelve pounds! There are days when the exchange rate makes that more expensive than a day of Test cricket in Australia. Queensland Shield games cost $8 at most.

Nevertheless, I paid for my ticket and sat down in the Bedser stand, about half an hour before play was scheduled to start. Much of the centre wicket area was under a plastic cover. The problem, as far as I could tell, was that the sun was out. After inspections at 11 o’clock and 11.30am, the umpires were confident that there might be dark and overcast conditions by 1.10pm and that was indeed when play began.

Three Wigan lads behind me were creative. They had brought a packet of Lancashire Tea, and were hoping for the Lancashire stars to sign it.

I was lucky to be there on day one, when the temperature soared to twelve degrees or so. There was once a day in Brisbane, in 1965 and in the middle of winter, when it was colder. And yet, day one was the warmest day of the match. It was eight degrees on day two. That’s cold football weather. Only in England would some people play cricket in such conditions, and thousands of others actually pay twelve pounds to freeze while watching it.

There were various people with their own little scorebooks, studiously keeping score. The reason for this, I realised, is that the scoreboards at the Oval don’t actually tell you anything. Want to know who’s bowling? No good looking at the scoreboard. Want to know which batsmen are out, how many runs they made, who took the wickets, and who’s left to bat? The scoreboard won’t tell you. And I don’t mean that it doesn’t tell you all of those things. No. It doesn’t tell you any of them.

All up, it was a successful day. The Wigan lads missed out on Freddie’s signature, but they got Mal Loye, Stuart Law, and Brad Hodge to join Sajid Mahmood in the most Lancashire-signed box of Lancashire Tea. I had seen Stuart Law and Brad Hodge for once on the same side, wearing the same team’s shirts, and jumpers, and whatever goes over jumpers.

I was really cold by the end. I needed a second jumper.


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  1. Are you sure that was from David Barry? I understood it all and I have NEVER understood anything he has written before

  2. It’s from *a* David Barry.

    He never got back to us to confirm that he is indeed David Barry of David Barry fame.

  3. Jrod presumably the cost of a cricket ticket far outweighs the cost of a public transport ticket, so everyone bought a public transport ticket and drove?

    David Barry, you were 7 mins away from my house! and you didn’t come and say hello.

    The scoreboards at the Oval are UTTER SHITE. I spent an entire 2 days at a test working out what 2 particular numbers meant, as they didn’t change very often, before realising (and that was by overhearing other people) that they were the bowlers’ squad numbers. Maybe they’re trying to get the crowd to talk to each other. Maybe it’s all one big dating scene. Because I certainly spend half my time saying to strange (as in unfamiliar) men “who’s that? Who’s that tall bowler now? Who was the last bat out? How many balls has he faced?”.

    Also, my eyes are fine but the old scoreboard is too far away to be seen from some of the new seats and the new one is at the wrong angle. I have to take a photo of it zoomed in, and then zoom in on that photo, in order to see it.

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