We Don't Like Cricket - We Love It
Looks like the pendulum is swinging my way on the subject of cricket teas.
About time too. I have borne the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and hoots of derision far too long for suggesting that the tea interval (and the tea itself) is not really necessary and may be actually counter-productive.
Writing in the Eastern Daily Press under the title “Let then eat cake? It's just not cricket”,
Sharon Griffiths, a regular columnist, makes the case for dispensing with teas altogether.
“Cricket teas are under threat because they cost too much to prepare and take too long to eat often up to forty minutes.” (Even with the extension to 30 minutes in the NCA teas can last the 40 on occasion. The NCL still specifies 20 minutes for tea.)
This makes a long game even longer and young chaps less inclined to play. They have better things to do than eat cake, even on Saturday afternoons, so some clubs are thinking of cutting rations and cracking on.” Unfortunately, she does not specify the “some” clubs.
Amazing, really, the cricket teas still exist. Many many years ago I was besotted with a batsman and spent Saturday afternoons gazing adoringly at him . . . buttering my way through loaves of Mother's pride and pouring gallons of tea. . . Other wives and girlfriends were there too . . .the men played and the women fed them, admired them, and the children got bored and everyone waited until the men were ready to go home.
Well that was not going to last for long . . . The Sixties began to swing, bras were burned and women found they had other things to do with their time.
Thirty years later I had a brief stint of turning up with plates of sausages when my boys were playing in the local village team. By then mothers swooped in with their offerings and out again . . . no-one expected them to stay and watch an entire match.
At a wedding once I met a lovely lady who'd won a competition for cricket teas (Rocklands CC?) and had been invited into the Test Match Special box at Lords. Wonderful. She was rightly proud.
But that was then. No one starting from scratch would put a great big tea in the middle of a sporting match. Pretty bizarre, really. Other sports get by with nothing more than a slice of orange and an energy drink. Anyway, now the boys play cricket in the sort of leagues where they all go to the pub. Which probably seems a much better idea all round.”
I have been banging on about this for years. Essentially the cricketing fraternity is subsidising Tesco, Morrison's and Sainsbury. Money which could be used to improve the clubs is going, instead, into the “hard-pressed” Supermarket's coffers. This is crazy.
Clubs which still choose to provide teas should charge the opposition, say £2 a head. Clubs which do not choose to provide tea should provide a drink, tea or squash. If you want anything else, bring it yourself. Match fees can be reduced to account for the reduced cost. Time can be saved by only having a ten minute break. Get your drink, munch you home-made sandwich, crunch your crisps and get on with the game!