Cricket. A gentleman’s game, or so they say. But as a cricket-playing girl, I always disagreed, and as a woman I feel the same way.
For me, summer just isn’t summer without the thwack of leather on willow.
As usual, I can’t wait to use my annual membership at Trent Bridge, home of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club (NCCC) and occasionally England.
A few years ago I took my partner to her first NCCC cricket game. She was apprehensive and wasn’t convinced that she’d enjoy it. I promised to try very hard not to lose my patience and to explain what was actually happening. The fact it was a sunny afternoon and I let her take a book helped.
Summer just isn’t summer without the thwack of leather on willow.County cricket in England comes in three formats: county games lasting four days, the one-day game and the Twenty20 (T20) bash which lasts about three hours.
As I wanted my partner to enjoy it, we went to the T20, complete with our picnic in the cool bag and the promise of a pint of cider. The seat cushion, blanket, hat and sun block came too. Well, it was summer after all.
The professional rules of cricket are complex and to be honest, unless you have ambitions to follow in the footsteps of the great umpire Dickie Bird, then don’t worry too much about trying to understand them fully. The basic rule for T20 is the team that scores the most runs win.
The game itself can be complex and full of tension, a colourful festival of sound and vision with fun-loving crowds of young and old alike.This short format of the game was created just over a decade ago to increase the number of spectators at matches. It really does work. My partner thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon’s entertainment – I know this because her book stayed securely in the bag.
For the established cricket fan T20 is fun and I do enjoy it. However, I think it’s the more relaxed, traditional format that most appeals to me. It’s all about two teams, both in white, playing in the sunshine in a dignified atmosphere.
There’s no music blaring across the speakers, just the members grumbling that Derek on the PA continues to be inaudible. A quiet mumble can be heard in the pavilion as the front row question where Dorothy is today or Brian questions the merit of our strike bowler. Then, late in the afternoon, we hear the announcement that it’s time for tea.
A traditional sport that can be enjoyed by everyone, whether playing or watching… definitely not just one for the boys.
Interested? Here are some cricketing terms to get you started.