An important lesson on how to successfully embarrass yourself at the home of cricket (and still have a good time)
Have you ever been into cricket? Me neither. In fact, I’ve always been very vocally anti-cricket. Yet I somehow ended up at a T20 match at Lord’s this week and even more incredulously, won Fan of the Match. How, you ask? Ha. Let’s rewind a little…
I grew up in Melbourne. The home of sport. Lived down the road from the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Yet never, not once, had I even considered going to a cricket match.
Like many of you, I’m sure, just hearing the word ‘cricket’ managed to instantly shut down my attention span.
Then I spent the last two years working on a cricket sponsorship with some of the world’s best players and tried to get my shit together by learning the difference between a Test match, a T20 and an ODI. I learnt which key players are batsmen vs bowlers, and even got some idea about how the scoring works. Though not entirely.
Still hadn’t watched a match though.
After two years of working on cricket shoots, the best chat I could come up with over lunch with an intimidatingly successful Joe Root was always gravy or holiday related, in that order. Then there was that time I had to awkwardly sit on my own with a mildly pissed off Ben Stokes in a school cricket club hall, for 35 minutes, because my team had accidentally taken off with his car keys. I’d never been more desperate for some cricket knowledge in my life.
Still didn’t watch a cricket match.
Two weeks ago I got an email from the team at Lord’s, inviting me to come see the T20 Blast match. Only this time, I didn’t instantly nod off at reading the word ‘cricket’.
That’s how I knew.
It was time.
Had I finally graduated to a person who could actually watch a cricket match and, dare I say it, enjoy myself?
Thursday night rolled around and – aside from a mild hangover – the conditions were perfect. The sun was out, I was sitting front row at the Tavern Stand at Lord’s – the home of cricket, and the bf was next to me, patiently explaining everything that was happening. Play-by-play. We’d even packed a picnic of salad, cheese and crackers, strawberries and a bottle of wine (it’s BYO everything ? and I love this country for it).
A Twenty20 match is different to the slow-burning 5-day test matches that I’m used to hearing about…
- Firstly, they’re in the evenings;
- Secondly, they only go for about 3 hours;
- Thirdly, because they’re so short, the teams really go for it with every shot and it makes the game a hell of a lot more interesting to watch. The scores tend to be much closer together too, adding a bit more suspense to the whole thing
So there I was, well into my second pint of gin & tonic and enjoying finally understanding what on earth was happening, when a man wanders over and whispers that I’m about to be picked as Fan of the Match…. ?
Now, I’m not sure if what won them over was
a) my vacant look of ‘I don’t know what the hell is happening’ that I was wearing for the first half of the match; or
b) the turnaround after 2 pints of G&T and some insight into how the game actually works
Either way before I knew it, the bf and I were asked to stand up, had a microphone shoved in our faces and were interviewed by the Sky Sports presenter.
What he asked us I couldn’t tell you. Between the screaming crowd behind us and the embarrassment of catching a glimpse of my excited face on the big screen, I could barely remember my own name. I then proceeded to kiss the bf out of excitement which led to an enormous cheer eruption from the entire stadium. My face has taken on a permanent shade of scarlet-red since !!! ?
For all the fellow cricket non-fans who are toying with the idea of going to a match, my suggestion is
a) Definitely give it a try, it’s a really fun way to spend a summer’s evening in London; and
b) Go to a T20 match first. An evening match at Lord’s was definitely the best place to start for me. Convenient (and beautiful!) location, low time commitment (in case I hated it), maximum potential for an exciting match
There are another 3 T20 Blast matches happening on Thursday nights in July and August, and tickets are about £20 each. Pack yourself a picnic, a bottle of your favourite wine, and soak up some sunshine after work. You can check out the Lord’s website for tickets and details.