Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Ain’t Over…

William and Kate at Wimbledon
“One does not move during overs…”
I know what you’re thinking. It must have taken something deeply significant for my column to spring back into life after nearly a year with seemingly nothing to say for myself, right? Well, no – not quite. For six of you who read this, it might seem like a pretty small issue. For the remaining three of you, it may strike a chord – a C# Minor in fact – and we may be in agreement. Who knows! I certainly don’t… that’s quite evident!

This is something I’ve thought about for more than a week. Since I got back from the Ageas Bowl and a ODI between England and NZ since you asked. Against the backdrop of dazzling sunshine and record breaking, a storm was brewing – if you can bring yourself to see past the angsty teenager-esque hyperbole.
It’s not often I find myself in among a crowd that warrants a “Sold Out” notice at a cricket match (or one in among one that is merely very busy). I’m more used to the sparsely populated Warner Stand and a more genteel spectator experience as Middlesex go about their business at Lord’s. It has, probably and admittedly, led me to have false expectations of watching cricket; expectations all too steeped in romanticism. That kinda thing has happened before.
As Martin Guptill unleashed a captivating knock of 189 against a lethargic home attack, I could just about accept an apparent reluctance to recognise his various, personal milestones from a largely England-supporting crowd. The 50, the 100, the 150… and the forlorn trudge off 11 short of his double ton. I am pretty sure I was one of just a few in my section of the crowd to get to my feet as he departed for the dressing room. It was surely worthy?
But what bugged me senseless all afternoon were those spectators who decided the first ball of an over was the right time to shift half a row of people and head to the bar. And then return four balls into the following over. At times, we were up and down like yo-yos as the match went on without us. If it was an elaborate game of Musical Chairs, it was not the best time and there wasn’t a winner…
In terms of “fings wot annoy me”, it’s up there with those kindly souls who will run for a Tube, making sure they take out a commuter or two in their sprint to avoid what must be an dire fate and squeezing themselves through the last two centimetres of space before the door closes. If only another Tube was a minute away from the station. Oh wait, there’s one now…
Am I moaning about nothing? Am I being too nostalgic for an era that I wasn’t even part of? Or am I talking a little bit of common sense? The over lasts just a few minutes – the bar will still be there, so will the toilets. And I’ll promise that your seat will not be missing on your return. So sit a little bit longer, don’t run for public transport and enjoy the cricket. Until it rains again.

Pete Hayman for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Pete on Twitter @petehayman

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