A Summer First

So, Thursday was a very strange day indeed. A week or so back I was given the opportunity to snap up a couple of last minute hospitality places for the Ashes test matches over the next few weeks and, despite having little or no interest in cricket and literally having never been to a cricket match before in my life, I thought it sounded like a great opportunity to see whether I could say a small thank you to a couple of clients for their ongoing business and support.

So, having booked four places, I took three clients, past and present, to the opening day of the third test at Edgbaston last Thursday.

As should have been expected given the current weather situation, it rained heavily the day before and the ground staff were up all night trying to mop up water from the surface. Despite being tantalising clear and bright en-route to Birmingham, the heavens opened as we arrived at 10:30am and, sure enough, the start was put back, pending the conditions clearing. Consequently, my guests and I headed for the suite we had been allocated and sat down to be offered a bacon sandwich and listen out for updates.

To cut a long story short, play eventually started at 5pm – which, the conspiracy theorists amongst the group alleged would be because 2 hours / 30 overs of play was the minimum required to ensure no refunds were issued and, given the attendance was 22,000 and tickets probably averaged at least £50 a head, I guessed would total about £1.1m for the day.

Whilst we were sat down for long periods I sat on my hands for as long as possible but the two cricket-goers out of the four of us were particularly relaxed about the whole thing, assuring me that this was completely usual and no big deal. For me, I couldn’t get my head around the fact that we had come to watch a sporting event and everyone (predominantly men) sitting around us, were perfectly content to stay put for the duration – just eating and drinking merrily.

Eventually I think the penny dropped and I now equate the whole experience to that of fishing without the proximity to water. The cricket fans amongst us saw the day as a relaxing and social experience where the cricket was integral to but not the sole purpose of the day. I’m sure the quantity and variety of alcohol drunk throughout the day helped enormously but when I eventually saw the light, I must say that I loosened up a great deal.

We did manage to see a couple of hours of cricket fortunately – just one wicket was taken and it is a little frustrating that the first two balls of the second day saw two more fall – so at least I did have a taster.

I’m not sure how keen I’d be if I had sat and watched the whole day of cricket but, as things turned out, I’m considering a couple of tickets for the fourth test at Headingley in a few weeks, to find out one way or another whether I have found actually a new summer sport to break up the months between rugby matches.