It’s been a fortnight since I blogged. I’ve been very busy particularly last weekend when friends from NZ and family came and we had a really full weekend. Time for blogging disappeared. Then off to London this week to see all four days of a county championship cricket match featuring Yorkshire at the Oval against Surrey. A game for the purist because after four days it ended in a draw. So seven days of activity, challenging but I survived suggesting perhaps my new medication is helping and my systems for survival are working. More of that below.
Last Saturday was a time to celebrate my humble little town of Tickhill. M and K are on a short European tour featuring those fabulous cities of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Lisbon, Florence and Rome. Nestled in the middle was Tickhill. Once the second wealthiest town in South Yorkshire, albeit in medieval times, it offers much to see for the new visitor. Saturday saw a tour of the village which started around 3 pm and after 3 pubs, a wine bar and the cricket club, the tour of the picturesque village we got home at 10 pm for a wonderful late BBQ. Great test for the scooter as it took we round all day and was great to use the lights to find my way home so late. It was a lovely day and I was amazed I was still going way after midnight though jet lag was making it a struggle for our guests.
Next day was a late start but we went off to York, a must city if you come to Yorkshire such a beautiful place and so much to see. Unfortunately still not got my car so I tired quickly and retreated to a coffee bar whilst the rest of the group looked at the Minister, the walls, Shambles etc etc. We came home and enjoyed a lovely Italian meal to end a great weekend. Thanks to M and K, H and M and J and S. Next morning they headed for the Dales and the Lakes as their European journey continued.
Working in London on the Monday meant I was set for cricket at the Oval for the rest of the week. Important game to win for Yorkshire suddenly finding themselves in a relegation battle. I said above this was a game for the purists. Opinion is becoming divided in cricket about what is the more likely game to unfold in the future. The money, younger audiences, instant action, excitement and engagement, rests with the T20 game. Across the world fixture lists are being organised to bring central stage the major T20 tournaments like Indian Premier League, the Big Bash and in the UK, the Blast. Franchise cricket is due to arrive in the UK in 2019 when new loyalties will have to be found so we can cheer for one of 8 city teams deemed to have the finance to mount a team, composed of players from around the world who will be paid for. For many people, including myself, it is a bit of a nightmare scenario. Loyalty to your club is part of what makes sport so engrossing, why else would you spend a lifetime supporting Barnsley FC, yesterday celebrating their 130th anniversary. But Yorkshire is my cricket team not Leeds nor Birmingham nor any other make believe team,
But the first class County game, this year marginalised to April/May, cold and wet and September colder/wetter is seen as an irrelevance almost. Different crowds appear at T20 to county matches if any crowd appears at all to the latter. And yet the excitement of a four day festival match at Scarborough is remembered long after the cheap thrills of T20 have withered away.
I know I am an anachronism in terms of the cricketing future and many sports have adapted to shortened forms of the game. But would the rugby union buff really prefer a Sevens tournament to the excitement of a Lions tour. Penalty shoot outs in football are exciting, tie breaks in tennis likewise, but you have had the full version first. What will it do to skills development? This summer we have already seen England struggling to find test quality batsmen despite the same players whacking runs with great rapidity in T20, Alex Hales for instance. I enjoyed my four day draw at the Oval. I sat through nearly every ball and though it was difficult to see Surrey get nearly 600, the centuries by Stoneman and Sangegara were a joy to watch particularly the latter. After he got his century he hit the ball with such precision it was wonderful to watch. Yorkshire battled hard and though were forced to follow on it made for a challenging, tense and interesting final day. Big record breaking partnership and centuries from return-to-form Lees and departing Aussie Marsh secured the game and I went home satisfied.
But I can see why this form of cricket may not be viable, £20 entry with no concessions, I guess because most watching were at least over 65. Even the last day same price. Inside the pricing on the one van offering food was laughable. Fish and chips £11.50, tea £2.70. Chips alone £3.70 at 4.27p per chip. This may just have been London but wow need a mortgage to watch there regularly. Great meal out with H and J just round corner from my Travel Lodge at Balham which made access to the ground easy and quick. It is remarkable how specific dangers like terrorism can be. I travelled to the ground the morning of the Parsons Cross incident and it was not until friends texted that I was aware anything had happened.
Finally systems of survival. I now go away even for the day with such military planning and precision. Gone are the days when I simply threw a fleece in the car in case of bad weather and off we went. Now there is a checklist – medications, CPAP mask (for sleep apnoea), checked routes to ensure easy access to toilets, spare clothes just in case, testing kit for infections, card in case of sudden illness to give to paramedics, walking stick, two fleeces because get colder etc etc. I recall going out with my kids and having to pack a range of items to cover their every need now I do it for myself. When I forget panic sets in but usually my bag is full for every eventually as long as any train strike does not last for more than 48 hours! Have a good week, a bit of rest for me.