It is sometimes said that the whole world is on YouTube, certainly it has the interview with John Cleese by Cricket World, who recalled when his first trip to Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare, was the most exciting thing in his life and when playing the game was more about honour. The Spirit of Cricket well remembered.
In 2017 many Championship fixtures were drawn, so credit to the players who continued to work hard, even when the games were going nowhere and spectators in attendance were sparse.
The T20 Blast drew crowds of 20,000 plus to the Home of Cricket on more than one occasion and when Middlesex took a game to Old Deer Park, a record number turned up there as well. It would be fair to add there were some obvious limits to the interest of a cosmopolitan crowd in the capital on a night out, large numbers were not turned away from ODP (gate 4,000 that evening) and a very noticeably smaller number attended Surrey’s quarter-final against Warwickshire, the Friday evening before a bank holiday. 14,000 tickets were pre-sold said the Sky commentator rather anxiously as the cameras panned the empty seats. As for the wisdom of two t20 domestic competitions from 2020, this seemed a bit bonkers at the beginning of the season and still seemed that way at the end of it.
A first for the blogger was an afternoon watching a WCSL fixture, Surrey Stars versus Western Storm, £5 a bargain. Plenty of free hitting and a highly competitive match. In the afterglow of winning the World Cup the women’s game looks like it could grow and grow; spectators who were new to the game of cricket came as did those who have been before, touches of colour appeared in parts where, so far, in the men’s game it hasn’t.
Not good was the day when a nut with a bow let go of an arrow. It landed on the Oval, the players took cover and the pigeons moved over. It could be said that all is well that ends well although, security wise, some things can always go better and hopefully they will, if one day they be needed.
And finally, Rory Burns was out, and also off, 30 minutes or so from the end of the Surrey v Hants Championship match in July. The Surrey captain and opening bat was stumped by Lewis McManus off the bowling of Sean Ervine for 68; Surrey were following on after he had carried his bat in their first innings making 219. Some staying power in the era of T20 cricket; it was a becalmed afternoon in high summer in a game that was still a pleasure to watch.