Friday, June 18, 2010

Ireland Australia Cricket Match

This was actually the first live cricket match I ever attended (That doesn't sound right somehow, can you attend a non-live cricket match?). Anyway I've watched lots of cricket from test matches to 20/20 games. This was a One Day International, 50 overs each. The ground was full, the weather was fine and the cricket varied from very good to not so good.

The Irish bowling was good and limited the Australians to a not very impressive total. The Irish opening batting was excellent and started at a great pace. The lower order batsmen disappointed and gave up wickets too easily. Tail ender John Mooney gave the Irish followers something to cheer about by making a stand of 38 and they went home happy talking about what might have been.

It started at 10.45 and ended about 5.40 with a 45 minute break for lunch. It's a great contrast to the rush and puff of those shorter 80 or 90 minutes long games. It changes every few minutes as one side then the other takes control. It's one against man in the centre and each new ball is a new test.

I'm not going to write a poem about cricket you will be delighted to hear though there is a cricket poetry competition here. Anyway I wouldn't be able to enter because I do not reside in one of the full ICC member countries!

This verse from by Vitai Lampada by Henry Newbolt is one of the most famous poetic pieces on cricket. It is also an example of that pre-World War One glorification of war and empire and associating sport with war and bravery. The Great War put paid to that. It refers to how a future soldier learns stoicism in cricket matches in the famous Close at Clifton College:

There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of the ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote -
'Play up ! play up ! and play the game !'

Brendan Behan's Captains and the Kings satirises this attitude well.

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