Manchester folk don’t have a lot to smile about. They get the worst weather in the northern hemisphere and they get invaded by thousands of Japanese tourists every time one of their football teams (the one that wears red) has a home game. Those who attended the county championship division one encounter between Lancs and Notts on Tuesday had even more reason to reach for a noose and the nearest chair. Having endured apocalyptic rain all morning, they finally got to see some cricket at 4pm, only for good weather to ruin their fun. The problem, as has happened at Old Trafford in the past, was excessive glare from the sun behind the bowler’s arm. Play was therefore abandoned in the best weather Manchester has seen since before the industrial revolution.
Those with good memories might remember a test match at Old Trafford being interrupted in similar circumstances a few years back. On that occasion sunlight was reflecting off nearby glass within the batsman’s field of vision. The problem was eventually solved when Dickie Bird asked for a tarpaulin, or something similar, to be draped over the offending object. This time, however, the circumstances were even more farcical: as it was getting late in the day, the setting sun itself was deemed to be the problem. Other than erecting a five hundred foot sight screen, there was little the umpires could do. In the end, they had no option but to wait for the sun to disappear behind the pavilion – a solution that was hardly ideal, since nightfall usually follows a sunset.
Although play eventually resumed, the mood of the crowd was not improved when the players trudged off after a couple of overs – even though the weather was good enough for another fifteen minutes or so. The problem this time was that regulations stipulated that play couldn’t go on past 6pm. What bright spark thought of that?! As a result, the players left the field in near perfect playing conditions with Notts on 89-2. Apparently, the fact that five out of six sessions in the match thus far had been lost to rain, and the spectators had paid good money to enter the ground, seemed totally irrelevant.