Youth And Age At Fairfield Road (with a Poem by Norman Nicholson)

Equinox.  The last of Summer, the first day of Autumn and the last of the cricket season.

It didn’t feel particularly Autumnal at Fairfield Road yesterday, where Harborough beat Kegworth in their last competitive fixture.  There were a few fallen leaves, but the outfield still seems to think it’s June.

Leicestershire U-15 seamer Patrick Sadd (who seems to have grown about six inches since the start of the season) made his 1st XI debut, taking three wickets and – at the other end of the spectrum – Rob White (who has just left Northants) – made another nonchalant century, ending the season, and winning the match, with a huge six into the new pavilion.

I think I’ve derived as much pleasure from watching Harborough this season as I have from watching County Cricket, and considerably more than trying to follow the seamless circus of International Cricket.  So here, partly to celebrate the fact that – just in time for the end of the season – I’ve finally got around to buying a camera that doesn’t have a severe case of floaters, is a brief record of the day’s events.

The batsman takes evasive action against Sadd …

… mid-afternoon – an unsuccessful appeal against White …

… looking at the Big Sky …

… spot the ball (it’s in the pavilion) …

a last handshake …

… White returns triumphant …

… a last look back, as darkness falls.

And here – to mark the end of the season – is a poem by Norman Nicholson.  Millom (an industrial town in Cumbria) was his home town.



The soft mouths of summer bite at the eyes,

Toothless as a rose and red as the ragged robin;

Mouths on lip

Rouse to sleep

And the green of the field reflected in the skies.

The elder-flower curls inward to a dream,

And memories swarm as a halo of midges;

Children on the grass,

Wicket-high, pass,

In blue sailor jackets and jerseys brown and cream.

Among the champion, legendary men

I see my childhood roll like a cricket-ball.

To watch that boy

Is now my joy –

That he could watch me not was his joy then.

Winter well, one and all.

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