Leicestershire v Hampshire, Grace Road, 26 April 2009

Off to my adopted home (Grace Road) for a Friends Provident Trophy match between Leicestershire and Hampshire.  Everything goes smoothly – beautiful day (bright but chilly), trains run on time, bus driver helpfully charges me 80p less than the last one did for a Grace Road return …

Arrive about 30 mins after the start, having missed the opening spells from two of the more exotic players on offer – Cork and Tremlett.  Day unfolds not unpleasantly if predictably. This year Leicestershire have adopted admirable policy of trying to cut down on use of overseas players (rather like Bridget Jones – 2 Kolpaks played today – vg!) – and are using young (very young) English players around  a core of experienced players.  Today 2 most experienced players (Ackerman and Nixon) out for not too much, but one of young players (Matt Boyce) and other exp. player  (Diepenaaar) come up with the goods, so decent total set.  Hampshire make shaky start … at which point I have to leave …

Can’t help thinking about lack of stars visible: in mid seventies could have seen B.Richards, Greenidge, Roberts, Gower (possibly not all in  the same match) – today in the absence of Pietersen (who can hardly appear for Hants at all) and even Mascarenhas (off at IPL too) maybe no one who would appear to the floating voter to be worth the price of admission.  Still, great day (from my – slightly odd -point of view ).  Leicestershire lost, by the way.

Man in ice-cream van at the ground reading biography of retro gangster Jack Spot in between sales – what is it about ice-cream vans and gangsters?

On the bus  back from ground to station: young lad in full army kit with huge pack on back and face blacked up (in commando sense rather than Al Jolson style), looking rather grim.  On way back from cadets exercise?  Heading back to Afghanistan via public transport?  Who knows.

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