I went along to the County Ground, Bristol yesterday to watch the last day of the final game of the cricket season (and, somewhat ridiculously, my FIRST game of the season!).It felt a bit like the last day of term.
Despite the sunny weather, the crowd was very thin and those who were there seemed to be members or regulars who were attending simply to bid goodbye to their mates until next season.
From the onset, I knew the game (Gloucestershire were playing Lancashire) was likely to peter out in a tame draw - nearly two, out of four, days had been lost to the weather. The only real “hope” was for both teams to make generous declarations in the hope that one of the sides could secure victory during the course of the afternoon. However, there was little hope of that happening because Lancashire needed only a draw to secure the second division championship. Gloucestershire were bowled out before lunch and, with game was heading for the inevitable draw, the only real challenge was to see if the Lancashire opening batsman, Luis Reece, could score his maiden first-class century… unfortunately, he was bowled for 97 and looked a VERY dejected figure as he slowly trudged off at the end (the captains having “shaken hands” on a draw immediately after his dismissal).
I overheard a conversation of a group of local spectators (all of whom seemed VERY knowledgeable about the game – anoraks might be the word! - and were regularly trying to out-do each other by quoting various bizarre cricket statistics) bemoaning the fact that the last day of the match “isn’t a very good advert for the game”. Obviously, they were right but, for me, it was just lovely sitting on the boundary, watching the cricket and the world go by and enjoying the banter and the sunshine.
I need to do it more often!
Photo: Lancashire’s Reece on his way to scoring 97 runs.
PS: Ironically, I had watched Lancashire’s last game of the season two years ago – against Somerset at Taunton – where a victory had secured them the very same second division title… they were relegated last season! I’m obvious a good-luck talisman as far as Lancashire are concerned and so, for a very large fee, would be prepared to see more of their games!