We don’t like cricket… we love it!
This “souvenir” is for those who enjoy sport, particularly cricket, (I’m thinking of my friends Felicity, Tara and Drapes), or just competition in general (thinking of you, Molly!).
My brother Jack loves cricket. He’s obsessed with it, and anyone who spends enough time with him quickly finds out that he can talk for hours on end about his beloved sport.
As it happens, the Cricket World Cup was on in England at around the same time we were there. Not without a bit of trouble, Mum managed to get tickets to a game: Australia vs. Bangladesh.
It was the highlight of Jack’s trip before we even landed in England.
I can tell you, I’m not a very sporty person, and while I can enjoy watching the cricket, I definitely don’t get thrilled by it quite the same as Jack. But as my mum often says, live sporting events are fun even if you’re not into the sport.
I completely agree. The atmosphere at this cricket match was incredible. Even from the start, on the train to Nottingham with both Australia and Bangladesh fans in the carriage. Leaving the train with the driver wishing that Bangladesh win, and we have a fun day, and going to the gates and having postcards and stamped apples pressed into our hands by officials was a fun way to start the day.
We arrived at the stadium with plenty of time before the match started. This meant plenty of time to watch the players warm up… and watch the Bangladesh fans pour into the stadium. We quickly realised we were as outnumbered as all the officials had predicted us to be. Surrounding us were rows upon rows of some of the most enthusiastic Bangladesh supporters, with a couple of other Australians and a small group of neutral observers.
This severe lack of Australia supporters may have been the reason why the cameras kept coming back to focus on Jack; but I’m sure his Australia shirt, flag, zinc and green bucket hat may have helped him out a bit.
And so the day went. Thunderous cheering from the majority of the crowd at every good shot from a Bangladeshi batsman or wicket against Australia. Us trying to cheer Australia but finding ourselves a bit alone. It was ridiculous fun. We tried several times to call out “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”, but the silence was deafening and we giggled at ourselves.
Of course, there were also the fun moments that involved the whole crowd. Such as the successful Mexican wave that passed around the stadium a few times. Chuckling a bit when the ‘snooze cam’ sought out people who had dozed off to put on the big screen (and hoping it wouldn’t be you up there when the action lagged a bit).
One thing, however, that I found disappointing was the heckling from the audience directed at the Aussies, particularly the players who were involved in the sandpaper scandal a while ago. While what Smith and Warner did back then was disgraceful, I do not believe that makes them deserving of insults thrown at them after they have carried out their punishment: not from the neutral English, and especially not from some of the Aussies in the crowd. Apart from singing along to some of the classic Aussie anthems playing at various intervals, the calls of “cheat” and the like was nearly all I heard from some of the Australians there. On a good note, Mum was getting fed up with the insults, and so yelled out “It’s okay Warner! You batted great today!” 🙂 That was my sister Gabby’s favourite moment of the day. While I doubt David Warner could hear what she said, it sure made the booing stop for a while.
Despite the general lack of support for the Aussies, we won by 48 runs! This finished the day really well, particularly for Jack. Actually… it wasn’t quite what finished the day. We spent quite a while waiting at the gates for the Australian team to make an appearance for signatures and photos. We waited while the Bangladesh team went through and we were left with a few other of the loyal Aussie fans. We eventually had to leave to catch our train, which was a minor disappointment. But, oh well. I think it was more the team’s loss, as Jack was perhaps one of two extremely dedicated fans there.
Anyway, that wasn’t the end of our cricket experiences on our trip! After being a bit disappointed watching Australia lose in the semi-finals while we were in Nairobi, we were back in London for a day when the final was happening: New Zealand vs England. (There was also a disappointing but tense State of Origin Game 3 tucked in between, but anyway… Go Queensland for 2020!)
It’s great having our bro, New Zealand, to support when Australia isn’t around! We were busy squeezing last minute sightseeing in most of the day, but still managed to catch the best parts of the game. First, we happened to pass through free, live public screening of the match in Trafalgar Square just in time to catch an awesome wicket taken by the Kiwis, putting us in a good mood for the rest of the afternoon.
When we got to the airport several hours before our flight out of London, the Wimbledon final (Federer vs. Djokovic) was on the minds of Mum and Dad. Imagine our luck when we made our way to the Qantas lounge to find two side-by-side TV screens, one playing the tennis and one playing the cricket. We settled ourselves in, Dad and Jack conveniently positioned in the middle, Mum more on the left with the tennis, and my sisters and I focusing more on the cricket on the right.
People began to crowd around, hovering between the screens, darting their eyes from cricket to tennis, as if following a tennis ball from one side of the court to the next.
I can’t say I was particularly focused on the tennis, but the cricket held my attention captive. This was particularly due to some incredible luck the English were getting, making the game incredibly close. We watched as a New Zealand fielder missed a catch by stepping off the boundary line a microsecond too late, resulting in a six for England. We groaned at the insane (and controversial) six England were given due to an overthrow when the ball bounced off the batsman’s bat when diving to the crease.
It felt like night had been scripted when the tennis went to a tiebreaker at the same time the cricket went into a super over. By this stage, the usual library-style atmosphere of the respectable Qantas lounge was feeling more like a pub, with a bunch of boisterous Aussies yelling at the TV. The majority of the captive audience were cheering for Federer and New Zealand; if there were any Djokovic or England supporters out there, they were wise and kept quiet.
Due to some incredible, well timed wickets from both New Zealand and England, we saw the game end in a tie. The win was handed to England for having scored the majority of boundaries in the match (ridiculous rule I think!). This was only shortly after Djokovic won the tennis. That meant we all left for our flights feeling a bit gutted, having two losses at the same time. However, the incredible experience of the atmosphere in the lounge was worth it, I think.
Well, so there you have it. Two amazing cricket experiences from England! I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.