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.
We went to the moon fifty years ago. We perform major brain surgery. We can make cars that can exceed 250 miles per hour. We can use our tiny mobile handsets to post comments on websites that are immediately available to everyone in the world with a computer and a telephone line.
But we still can’t re-start a cricket match when it stops raining. We still have to have inspections, then further inspections then we might be able to start in another hour if it doesn’t rain again.
I did take one day off work last week, planned long ago to watch the match referred to.
After all the weather is often better in September than any other month.
I’m glad that I didn’t compound the error by actually leaving home to go to the ground.
I am not asking all county clubs to get roofs over the ground, that would be too expensive, so clearly the game will have to stop while the rain is on.
But it really is time that a solution was found to allow cricket to go ahead immediately the rain stops.
I have watched cricket for 30 years. For at least 10 of those, I only left my local county ground when I had to go home or to work. A little less recently as I have less time now that I have children and I have found another sport that I prefer which is more easily fitted in to a busy schedule, and is preferred by my boys.
Between the weather issues and the betting scandals, I had decided that I wasn’t going to take another day off work ever (or for many years at least) to watch a days cricket.
If I hadn’t already made that decision, James
Anderson’s antics would have confirmed it anyway .
Thanks Richard – very interesting observations. Geoffrey Boycott once made a brilliant point about the clear-up after rain, which is performed by two little sopper buggies. Why don’t they have ten of them, and get the job done much more quickly? At times like this, cricket seems like a 1970s union-controlled factory – stuck in the past, working to rule, and completely unable to take the initiative. The principal aim of this blog is to make the point that cricket supporters should come first in almost every consideration. We *are* the game – without is there is no context or meaning, nor parents of future professional cricketers. But far too often, we’re treated as an inconvenience.