Northamptonshire v Essex, Wantage Road, County Championship, Friday 22nd April 2011
This is the time of year – before the onset of Internationals – when we Small Cricket-Bloggers have competition from the Professionals. For instance, Mike Selvey of the Guardian was at the County Ground, Northampton on Friday.
I can’t fault his coverage –
“This is how county cricket was meant to be. The sun blazed down with unseasonal warmth, and a small crowd basked as the batsmen prospered and the bowlers toiled. Away to one side of the ground, the Galloni van ran out of ice-cream.”
He neglects to state that “the crowd were in Bank Holiday mood”, which I thought was obligatory, and doesn’t speculate as to what it was about the ice cream van that might have prompted so many elderly men to come back for another couple of vanilla cones. So neither shall I.
He rightly observes that Lopsy Tsotsobe, the South African quick, who has arrived as a last minute replacement for Tim Southee, needs to adjust his length for English conditions. The Man on the Tannoy, too, clearly needs some time to adjust his pronunciation (Lopsy not Topsy – nor Flopsy, Mopsy or Cottontail).
But there was one important incident that Selvey missed from his vantage point in the Press Box, and this, I feel, is where the Blogger on the Boundary has the advantage. At about 11.30 a squirrel ran on to the pitch. I think it must have made its entrance from in front of the old scorebox, but swiftly made its way across the outfield towards the pavilion. For several minutes it entertained the crowd by threatening to leap over the boundary hoardings into the members’ enclosure, but eventually thought better of it, turned tail and exited from whence it had come. On any other day, I could have provided photographic evidence of this event but (as I may have mentioned before) I’ve lost my camera. I have tried to recreate the event in the picture at the head of this post.
Perhaps this is just my imagination, but I’m sure these kinds of incursion on the pitch by the animal kingdom are much rarer than they used to be, and only seem to come from wild animals (we quite often see foxes on the pitch, for instance). My mother was never particularly interested in watching sport on the television, but could always be summoned with a cry of“Dog on the pitch!”. I suppose security is much tighter these days.