Just Not Cricket

I mistimed my arrival at Vauxhall this evening, having forgotten about the test match being held at the Oval. My first clue was when the train pulled in to the station and about 500 beery men, some of them in hawaiian shirts, tried to get on. Even then, it wasn’t until I got to the concourse and saw a few people wearing white floppy hats that I twigged it was the cricket. There were hundreds of people milling about – some of them in football strips – and as I left the station the sound of chanting could be heard wafting from the platforms above.

When did this happen? Cricketing crowds used to sport blazers and panama hats and if they consumed one or two Pimms too many they would go home in a cab, not reel woozily down the platform with their mates. Last weekend we ended up on the Wembley train with the football crowds going home, and they were the nicest and most well-behaved bunch you’d ever hope to share a crowded tube train with, albeit a little dozy about the escalators. Has some sort of reversal taken place? Have I slipped through a crack in the space time continuum?

I blame Sky, frankly. The cricket you get on Radio 4 longwave would never attract the hawaiian shirt brigade. I shall be sticking with Johnners and Aggers and the long shadows stretching across the grass as the game draws to a decourous close with a final delivery from the gas works end. And leave the sledging and the jelly beans and the lurid shirts to the people who can actually see what’s going on.

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16 responses to “Just Not Cricket

  1. London City Soul

    2005 The Ashes and a rush hour Northern Line train

    did that make sense, idk, what I know though is, that a million (felt) cricket fans in 1 northern line carriage at rush hour is an experience I could have easily done without….
    that reversal is interesting though… it makes you wonder whether the climate change actually affects human beings directly…

  2. Oh, My dear old thing, simply ghastly, isn’t it? Certainly nothing like this when I was playing, the closest you got to a Mexican Wave was when we were met by a delegation from the Mexican Embassy before a test.

    I agree, not that I have sky, but even if I did, I’d still want my cricket served up by the gentleman on TMS, they’re so calm and relaxed about things, I think Henry Blofeld is possibly the best commentator any sport has ever seen. And I love the random discussions about pretty much nothing.

    I’m rather annoyed you ran into the crowd today, because it reminds me that of the three tests on this tour, London got two of them. I must thank the ECB again for remembering the cricket fans in the rest of the country again.

  3. I used ‘again’ twice in one sentence, and it’s eating at me. Sorry.

  4. I used to work one Metro stop down the line from Lancs CC (Old Trafford).

    When the Aussies were there playing England in the Ashes the Metro was a version of hell not even remotely imagined by Dante.

    Nice people do not go to cricket matches any more (or if they do they drive, just to get away from the plebs).

    The week after next I start a commute from Bromsgrove to Swindon.

    I’ll miss all weekday sporting events thankfully, but it’s a car or motorbike journey (travel time 1 hour) as opposed to the train (planet stupid travel time).

  5. Pete – move south, you know you want to.
    LCS – a million anything in one northern line carriage is hell. In fact, just the Northern line carriage itself …
    Brennig – I did go to a cricket match once, but it was Lords. That seemed fairly civilised, but it only made sense because I had brought my trusty longwave radio with me.

  6. Disgruntled, believe me, were it a feasible option right now, I’d be there quicker than you could say “many northerners suffer from inbreeding”.

  7. er … you said it. I would never say such a thing.

  8. Indeed it was at Lords and it was Sri Lanka on their first test match status tour of England. No one really bothered to turn up and It was your companion rather than your radio which made the sense

  9. PS

    Oh Pete. You give away your age or lack of it. Ever heard of John Arlott?

  10. You wouldn’t? You should, it’s liberating. But don’t say it too loudly around these parts, some people think its offensive.

    Huttonian, nope, I haven’t, but wikipedia informs me he died when I was 8. Blowers is where its at 😉

  11. *frantically works out Pete’s age*

    Huttonian – I’m confused. Which match was this?

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  13. Maybe it was a cunning ruse so you don’t realise that I’m actually Geoffrey Boycott in disguise.

  14. Yeah – I can see why you wouldn’t want to admit you were him…

  15. Cricket has as bad hooliganism as football does – it seems strupid really.

  16. Was that a cheap dig at Boycs? Tsk 😉

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