As some of readers may remember, amongst the many sports I follow, cricket sits large amongst them. In the main because it’s one of the few (perhaps only) sports I was even passably good at. After around 17 years devotion to the cause of Corstorphine in one guise or another, I found myself in the unusual position of having to attach myself to a new club. A circumstance brought about after I moved from Livingston into the wilds of Nottinghamshire.
This has meant coming to terms with a few differences. As a country, Scotland is not exactly open about it’s cricketing heritage. We’re a dirty little secret, best kept under the rug. Indeed, at times it felt it would be easier to come out as gay, than to come out as a cricketer. When petty and ill-informed MSP’s are questioning whether matches should be shown on TV in Scotland you start to feel a little unwelcome.
So after a work and family induced move to the “dark lands” south of the wall, it’s a novel feeling to be involved somewhere where people other than the players know about their local club.
I’ve brought my scorebook keeping talents to Caythorpe, a small village in central Nottinghamshire who’ve had a club off and on for over 100 years. The first XI play in the Notts Premier League, whilst the second XI (for whom I score) are in Division 1 of the Bassetlaw & District League. The B&D is one of two feeder leagues for the NPL, covering the northern part of the county.
The first big difference I noticed was that there are always more people around on a game day than just the 22 players on the park. Every match has two independent umpires, and each club has a scorer, yes, even at second XI level. Not only that, but people actually come and watch. OK, not huge crowds, but a couple of weeks ago we played at Edwinstowe, and there were never less than 30 or 40 people sat around the boundary. Having a bar that’s open does marvellous things in terms of supporters, and funds! The vast majority of clubs are village sides, with picture postcard settings, but even here there are professional players brought in. The West Indian Cavaliers side visited Caythorpe for a cup match last weekend, bringing with them, ex Notts and England player Usman Afzaal and the Saqlain Mushtaq!!
There are quirks too. The draw exists in league matches here, it’s 46 overs maximum for the side batting first, but the side batting second gets the balance of the 92 overs if any are unused. Points are shared in the event of rain/cancellation, so no need for percentages. Most strange of all is the fact that matches start at 2pm. Most of the villages in the area were built up around the coal mines, with matches timed to start to allow men to finish off a shift in the morning before playing in the afternoon. So, despite the fact that Mrs T finished off the mining industry round these parts in the early 80’s there are still enough traditionalists around to prevent the start time from changing.
So, instead of sitting in a green metal container squeezed in beside kit and a stale old bloke from the opposition, I sit in a large comfortable, electronic scorebox where there’s a better than average chance my counterpart will be female (women are heavily involved around the clubs down here) and whisper it quietly so none of the presidents of Scottish clubs hear I even get a bit of beer money thrown my way for the pleasure of doing it. Cricket, god love it.
There are some things not to love about cricket. Match fixing, the length of a World Cup tournament, the ICC (the one body to make FIFA appear competent) to name but a few, but the chief irritant has to be Charles Colville. The smug twat’s smug twat.
He has the world weary air of someone for whom everything came to easily, his condecension of those who fail to meet the standards of his favourites is renowned. He is the single reason for watching Sky’s domestic cricket coverage with the sound off….well, OK, there’s Nick Knight too. Even Mark ‘Lawro’ Lawrenson looks professional next to this guy.
Colville is the token non-England player in the Sky team, indeed, he never made it to county level. He must be a contributory factor in Bob Willis’ biblical level sulk, one which is now entering it’s 10th year.
I can only assume this puffed up, patronising, wouldn’t look out of place at a Tory function with Flashman, Gideon et al, has some pretty good dirt on the head of Sky Sports.