… yesterday’s one day international at the Rose Bowl.
Our party made its rendezvous with surprisingly little fuss and we were soon marching into the ground with a steady torrent of spectators, eyes apprehensively on the sky. You think the photos are dark? The day was darker.
We glimpsed the field of play as if through the low door in the wall
and claimed our seats early. The sky loured upon us.
The Australians won the toss and chose to bat. It was good to be reminded that cricket is played on a field, not in a box, when one usually sees a tightly foreshortened view on tv. I had to concentrate, as I very seldom go to a real match, and enjoyed the occasional drama of a nearby catch and an embarrassing run out. With poor eyesight it was a challenge to pick out what was happening in the middle. Especially as the louring continued. The flood lights soon came on.
A September day needs sunshine if sitting still, and this we were denied. I didn’t quite get cold enough for the ignominy of the blanket stowed at the bottom of my day bag. The snippets of canned music seemed almost continuous, and is it just me, or did the loudspeakers’ shouting actually reduce one’s sense of being in that short-lived but occasionally powerful community, the audience? Thank goodness for the big screen though, allowing this dim bulb spectator to catch up on events via the action replays. What with the cold and a respectable Australian start the crowd was subdued, though we sat near a few dedicated Mexicans and and at one point I recoiled from a hairy horrible dressed in a giant size Snow White costume. Aaargh!
We watched the first few overs of the England innings but then had to go. The beer and the blue-clad runners in the middle were enlivening the crowd, and we heard howls rising from the bowl as we walked away. We got home just in time to see England lose.
I glowed gently; it didn’t rain, and my participation in a national ritual has been fulfilled.