Saturday, 27 August 2011

Cricket ... and the Art of Patience

If you love or understand cricket (and the people who play it and/or watch it, read on. If not, then you might find the rest of this blog entry a little boring.

Yesterday my wife and I went to Canterbury, Kent, to watch a one-day match between the Kent Spitfires and the Indian touring side. The game was sold out, and although play was not due to start until 2.30pm, we were warned to get there when the gates opened at 12.30pm ... so we did.

When we left London, the rain was torrential, but the weather forecast for Canterbury was 'sunny with possible showers' so we took shower proof clothing as well as our picnic lunch and tea. By the time we reached the River Medway the weather had improved and the torrential rain had become a series of light showers, and by the time we had parked our car near the Kent County Cricket Club's ground in Canterbury, all that we could see were some dark clouds on the horizon. By the time we had got into the ground and found suitable seats, the clouds had come a lot closer, and at 1.15pm it started to rain.

At first the rain was a light drizzle, but almost as soon as we had begun to unpack our umbrellas it had become torrential. It rained ... and rained ... and rained ... and by the time it stopped at 1.45pm, we were soaking wet. Shower proof our clothing may have been, but monsoon-like rainfall was just too much for it.

Because of the rain, the commencement of play was delayed until the umpires felt that conditions were safe for it to start. The umpires inspected the pitch at 4.00pm … but by then it had rained again and so the start was delayed until after a further pitch inspection at 6.00pm. After this the final go-head was given, and the match finally started at 7.30pm … only five hours late!

During this long interval the crowd was entertained by members of the Jugnu Bhangra group from Gravesend. They are one of oldest – if not the oldest – Bhangra groups in the UK, and were formed nearly forty years ago.

Because there was now not enough time for the original 50 overs per side game to be played, the two teams decided to play a Twenty 20 match instead. India batted first and scored 164 for 6. In reply Kent scored 159 for 5, with Joe Denly scoring a century before being bowled by R P Singh immediately after achieving that score. It was a very close thing, and when the match ended at 10.15pm we felt that despite the bad weather, it had been a great day out.

Our trip home was not uneventful. By the time we had got back to our car, the exit from the car park was already clogged up and it took us nearly forty five minutes to get out. We then found our route back to the motorway blocked by the police. Apparently a suspect package had been discovered in the nearby railway station and a small fire had broken out in a large shop in the centre of Canterbury. (The suspect package was subsequently found to have been a very elaborate hoax, and a second, similar package was found in the store that had caught fire.) The diversion we had to take made our journey home even longer, and we eventually got home well after midnight.

Was the five hour wait for the match to start worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes … but I will make sure that I take some waterproof clothing next time!

PS. For those of you have bothered to read this far, may I thank you. After wargaming, watching cricket and listening to Test Match Special is my other main hobby (I am too old to play now, and anyway, I was never that good a player!). If only I liked Science Fiction wargaming; if I did I might just be able to combine these two hobbies into one! (See Krikkit for further information).


  1. Apparently there was suspicious activity at the cricket grounds too. Now Bob, it looks like this, you were at or near each of the scenes at the time, weren't you? Confess man, retirement is too dull for you...

    The fact you enjoy cricket only proves the Crown's case. LOL.

    Sorry for the delays and soaking, glad you enjoyed it all.


  2. Arthur,

    We had no idea what was happening until we left the cricket ground. I will be interested to find out what the 'suspicious activity at the cricket grounds' were; there was a series of tannoy announcements asking for several car drivers to return to their cars, but nothing else that indicated that there were any problems.

    If retirement is going to be as 'dull' as this, I have an interesting time ahead of me!

    All the best,


  3. Interesting post, thanks. I enjoyed learning about 'Krikkit', not come across them before!
    If you like games, and love cricket, you might like to check out, an online cricket management game. I've been playing for about 5 years (15 seasons). Great fun.

  4. Langobeard,

    I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed reading this blog entry. The 'story' of Krikkit was featured in the 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" radio series on BBC some years ago, and I think that Henry Blofeld actually took part!

    The game you mention sounds interesting. and I may well give it a try soon.

    All the best.


  5. I realize you told us the scores, but I have no idea who won.

    the 'for 6' and 'for 5' are obfuscating things for this stupid yank.

    I've heard Cricket was the reason Britain created a world-spanning empire. So you'd have someone to play against.

  6. Gratuitous Saxon Violence,

    India won because they scored more runs (164 runs in 20 'overs' [each over is six consecutive balls bowled by the same bowler]). Kent scored 159 runs in the same number of 'overs'. The Indians lost more wickets (i.e. they lost six players who were 'out' as opposed to Kent, who lost five); this would only gave mattered in terms of the match if both sides had scored exactly the same number of runs.

    Cricket has spread throughout the old British Empire, and is played in almost all the larger countries ... and a lot of the smaller ones as well. It is also played in the Netherlands and Afghanistan, and there are teams in the USA (I understand that the one in Hollywood was started by ex-pat British actors during the 1920s and 1930s) and on Corfu (in Greece, where it was first played during the period of British occupation in the early nineteenth century).

    So I suppose that it is true that the British created an empire so that they could play cricket against other countries ... but until recently it has been the other countries that have been winning international matches against England!

    In India cricket is almost a religion for many people, and over recent years it has become a multi-million rupee sport. If you want to get some idea about how important the best players are in India, just google Sachin Tendulkar and look at the results.

    All the best,


  7. The way I understand it is that during WWII the British used cricket terms in communications much like the Navajo "Coletalkers" used Navajo terms . . . both were completely unintelligible to anyone not growing up with it.

    (note -- the above MIGHT not be true, but I like it anyway.)

    -- Jeff

  8. Bluebear Jeff,

    That is a not a story that I have heard before, although it does have the ring of truth about it.

    A similar story is told about British Officers using radios to talk to each other in French to confuse the Japanese. Apparently their French was so badly pronounced that the Japanese could not understand them, but they could understand each other perfectly!

    All the best,


  9. Bob,

    Why don't you explain Duckworth/Lewis to our American friend?


  10. Tebian,

    I'll let you have that pleasure!

    All the best,


  11. Bob

    As a teenager and young adult I spent many summers visiting my dad and cricket tests were a constant feature on TV, or then followed on the BBC while cruising along the French coast.

    I've long held the opinion that cricket is a arcane, pagan fertility ritual, something along the lines of Morris dancing.

    Hopeing for better and drier days to coming.


  12. Peter Douglas,

    It sounds like an idyllic childhood! Cricket and sailing along the French coast sounds like heaven to me.

    The origins of cricket certainly go back to the 16th century, and may even go further back to Saxon times. As to it being a fertility rite ... well, who knows?

    All the best,



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