Jock­strap con­tor­tion and per­sonal teas sig­nal re­turn of club cricket

Only a vol­cano has wiped out a sea­son in the past. Covid-19 tried its best but Tele­graph cam­paign en­sured no re­peat

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Cricket - By Scyld Berry The Daily Tele­graph

Noth­ing like it. Noth­ing like be­ing out­doors in the coun­try­side with your team­mates, do­ing some­thing that is ab­so­lutely use­less in all ma­te­rial terms, but does ev­ery­thing for your sense of well-be­ing.

Not since 1816, when an In­done­sian vol­cano spread ash over the Earth, has a sea­son passed with­out cricket be­ing played in Bri­tain. And nor shall it go un­played this sum­mer. We should have 10 weeks left. With­out cam­paign to bring back club cricket, it would have been less.

The Covid-19 re­stric­tions have more of an im­pact off the field than on it. Get­ting changed at home is a tricky one. A kit­bag, like a hand­bag, is not to be in­spected by some­one of the op­po­site sex, es­pe­cially if it has lain in the bot­tom of a cup­board since last Septem­ber, items of cloth­ing still mixed with grass and mud.

What on earth is that? It is called an ab­dom­i­nal pro­tec­tor, or box, for short. Have you sani­tised it? Well, no. Do you not think you should? Well, I have had it for five years and never sani­tised it yet, and I do not think there is any­thing in gov­ern­ment guide­lines about spray­ing it. Be­sides which, it would be painful if the spray got in the wrong place.

Young bats­men wear briefs into which they can stick a box, but if you wear a jock­strap, do you re­ally have to put it on at home? It can feel tight af­ter a few hours. Be­sides, putting on your jock­strap in the car is a feat of con­tor­tion­ism; at my age, you are li­able to pull sev­eral mus­cles. What ex­actly are the gov­ern­ment guide­lines on jock­straps?

Then, you have to make your own tea. Ob­vi­ously, no min­is­ter has played cricket at a club who of­fer hot sausage rolls in ad­di­tion to those home­made sand­wiches, and cakes, and straw­ber­ries and cream, which our club, Hin­ton Char­ter­house, do. It is that smell of sausage rolls as much as any­thing, waft­ing out of the pavil­ion af­ter you have been field­ing for 40 overs.

Be­ing shut out of your dress­ing room is a bit rough when it has been your home from home, but tol­er­a­ble on a hot July af­ter­noon (no sweaters for the umpires to hold, no longer al­lowed). We con­gre­gated un­der the lime tree be­side the pavil­ion, so­cially dis­tanced of course, and the cap­tain took round the spray to make sure we all sani­tised our hands be­fore the start.

We were not too rusty: on the two pre­vi­ous week­ends, we had played “sixes”, whereby six play­ers were al­lowed to take the field, like souped-up mid­dle prac­tice.

It is the team el­e­ment that has been miss­ing this sum­mer. The

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