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
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