We don’t like cricket: a souvenir

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.

A bit of cricket practise
Dad and Jack practising cricket in the park, using a stick for a bat.

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.

Apple/cricket ball
Not to be mistaken for a cricket ball…

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.

Trent Bridge
Our view of the match; the green and red of Bangladesh fairly prominent.

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.

Jack in his fan gear
Made it to the Australia broadcast!
We made it on TV! And I will explain why I look so serious when I write a blog post about Lord of the Rings, and all things Middle Earth. 😀
Photo credit: Alex Kaethner, one of dad’s cricket mad mates.

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.

Us at the cricket

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.

Go Australia!
Waiting for Australia to make an appearance…
Waiting for the Aussies... c'mon Aussie c'mon!
Still waiting… c’mon Aussie, c’mon!

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.

At Trafalgar Sqare
Cricket at Trafalgar Square

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.

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  • Reply
    Gabby Francis
    July 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Fun memories, beautifully written ?❤

  • Reply
    Dan Murphy
    July 28, 2019 at 4:57 am

    I really enjoyed your report Trudy. Keep cultivating your skills. That means write, write and write more. I love sports but cricket is beyond my experience. Basketball is my passion. Your dad blocked one of my shots last year in a pickup game and cast an indelible blotch on my psyche. I just finished a book titled “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. Definitely good literature and a timely subject matter. I especially appreciated his treatment of the themes surrounding guilt, remorse, and redemption. Dan Murphy

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    Lacey Smith
    July 30, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Sounds like heaps of fun Trudy! Kinda jealous that you could see Australia win live – and get on TV!! ??

  • Reply
    July 31, 2019 at 7:27 am

    I love the way you put this post together Trudy. Informative, personal, humorous, interesting. I’m with you about watching sport — I’m not a big fan in general but live sporting events do hold a certain appeal.

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