Ah, the sound of leather against willow; the sight of two teams, dressed in whites, playing for world domination in the guise of games of bat and ball. To paraphrase Bill Shankly, “Cricket isn’t just a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that.”
Anne and I had been to grown-up cricket matches before, the ones played in proper grounds with seats, toilets and everything. We’d seen England play before, predominantly against India in Test Matches; tickets to one day out of the five, when scores can reach four, even five hundred if the bowlers are particularly misfiring. We’d been lucky to have been gifted those tickets (thank you Charlotte for getting the tickets no-one else can get and Victoria, for giving them to us between you) as we’d never have managed to get them otherwise. A full day at a test match is like a day in the country, with beer and food on tap and with a constant competitive performance as the backdrop. But we’d never been to a one-day game. All that excitement and exhilaration squeezed into fifty overs per team. 1 day, 1 result, 1 winner.
So off Anne and I went to the Oval to see England on a dry and sunny day, tickets again courtesy of Victoria and Charlotte. Of course, if you’re going to see a one day international (ODI), who better to see hammered than Australia, especially after the 4:0 drubbing in the test series in Australia earlier in the year. The anticipation was heightened after England, supposedly the best ODI team in the world, lost to Scotland (who?) only days earlier.
We sat, we cheered, we drank, we cheered, we ate, we cheered, England won, and we cheered.
As it transpired, England won not only our match but the whole series; a 5:0 whitewash. Cheers.