Wet Playtimes: When rain stops cricket at Old Trafford

Wet Playtimes: When rain stops cricket at Old Trafford

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A cricket journalist's worst nightmare. Pic: @SurreyCricket on Twitter.

Those white sheets. Their emergence from the boundary edge brings with it that crushing sense of misery. That knowledge that the very thing you’ve been looking forward to has been snatched away courtesy of the Gods.

When those misery-inducing white sheets were dragged across the outfield during one particular Old Trafford lunch, thoughts drifted back to those distant primary school days.

The clock ticks to the appointed time, the daily joy of the time for play outside has arrived. You look into the teacher’s eye and instantly know that the look you’re getting back says one thing. One glance out of the window confirms those grim, desperate fears. Wet playtime.

Now while the media centre at Emirates Old Trafford contains far fewer colouring crayons, jigsaw puzzles and (thankfully) Digimon trading cards, the principle is very much the same. As the rain comes down, something is needed to fill the void.

At first you content yourself with a purposeful, though largely unproductive, stare out of the window. You note, with great dissatisfaction, that those misery-inducing white sheets are getting wetter by the second – before reasoning that it’s probably a phenomenon being caused by the rain that is falling from the sky. Michael Fish, eat your heart out.

So your eye moves on. At this point you consider suggesting a game of ‘Eye-Spy’ among the assorted press before remembering that this is not in fact that primary school classroom and chastise yourself for such a ludicrously unprofessional train of thought.

Hang on, has it stopped raining? It has you know. Those misery-inducing white sheets might be coming off. Oh no wait, no it’s still raining. As you were.

Mercifully there is building work happening just to the right of the pavilion, providing a valuable outlet for the eye of a low-boredom-threshold beholder.

After watching an orange digger do what orange diggers do for what seemed like an age, it was noted that despite much skilful twisting of the mechanical arm, nothing productive seemed to be occurring.

The conclusion is reached that either the digger operator was equally as peeved by the emergence of the misery-inducing white sheets or this cricket writer is lacking awareness of the process required for building a hotel.

After much soul-searching, and despite a fervent love of a hard hat, the latter was adjudged to be the more likely.

Hang on, has it stopped raining? It has you know. Those misery-inducing white sheets might be coming off. Oh no wait, no it’s still raining. As you were.

After several trips to the toilet, where a Sachin Tendulkar quote on the wall now reads ‘chin Tendulkar’, and a dangerous number of ventures to make a polystyrene cup of tea (including on one occasion forgetting the teabag and returning to the laptop with a thoroughly unappetising vessel of hot water) it was back to staring unproductively out the window.

The time had come to uphold that great British tradition of people-watching. Unfortunately, as is the case with County Championship cricket, there are few targets to analyse. So it became a case of people counting.

A tally of 25 people was reached with the acknowledgement that others were sheltering from the showers and the admission that the guy with the umbrella that emerged from the stairs might have been counted twice or possibly not all all.

But disappointingly not one of the 25(ish) spectators in view were sat out uncovered. A greater fortitude has come to be expected of Manchester sports fans and usually there are at least one or two who refuse to be budged whatever the weather.

The words ‘prawn sandwiches’ came to mind, though were deemed to be to harsh a verdict.

Hang on, has it stopped raining? It has you know. Those misery-inducing white sheets might be coming off. Oh no wait, no it’s still raining. As you were.

A magpie lands on the now sodden misery-inducing white sheets, attempting gamely to do its best impression of a seagull but succeeding only in near death by drowning.

The orange digger is still doing what orange diggers do but has now been joined by a cement wagon which is doing what cement wagons do.

And then, with a crushing sense of realisation, comes the admission that yes it’s still raining, and no those misery-inducing white sheets are not coming off any time soon.

“Actually, does anyone have any Digimon cards?”

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