Cricket in the Park

I was walking home a couple of weeks ago and noticed that there were several cricket matches going on in the Park, just over the road from my house in Cardiff. I stopped to watch a few overs, taking one or two experimental pictures with my phone, and was quite impressed at the standard of play. Two distinctly lively quick bowlers were causing the batsmen quite a few problems, though they were not just blocking  but also taking every available opportunity to score. It was attritional, but absorbing stuff.

The use of these fields for cricket was interrupted in 2008 when the National Eisteddfod was held here in Cardiff, on this very spot. It tipped down with rain for the entire week and the fields turned to mud. It has taken the best part of two years for Cardiff City Council to repair the damage and get everything back to working order so that the many local clubs that use the fields here could resume their sporting activities. Of course they had nowhere to play for all that time, thanks to the fools at the Council who totally underestimated the time it would take, not to mention the amount it would cost. You can see in the foreground that some of the grass is still in need of attention.

Just a few hundred yards to the South (right in the picture) lies Sophia Gardens, and the SWALEC stadium home to Glamorgan Cricket Club, currently at the top of the Second Division of the County Championship. I hope the good weather stays with us long enough that I can actually get to see a decent amount of cricket once term finally finishes.

Incidentally, the view is roughly eastwards.  The River Taff flows from left to right, concealed by the trees which are part of the landscaping performed by Capability Brown. They don’t show up too well in the photo, but they were clearly carefully chosen to provide a variety of colour and texture, especially in the changing light of the spring sunshine.  Also hidden  is a weir (Blackweir), where the Dock Feeder Canal is taken off the river to supply water to the docks at Cardiff Bay, and a small bridge. On the far side of the river is Bute Park and, further South, Cardiff Castle.

I may not have a very big garden, but it’s lovely having this beautiful park just a short walk from the house. I hope the Council learn their lesson and stop buggering about with it.

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8 Responses to “Cricket in the Park”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    I’m not surprised that fastish bowlers were causing problems on a surface that has taken such a beating. Were the batsmen wearing helmets?

    The first Test of the season is imminent in St Johns Wood, although I don’t think Bangla Desh are worth a pilgrimage to Lords. They don’t have a competitive internal first class setup (unlike Sri Lanka when they joined the big league), and without that there is, sadly, no real prospect of their improving. Eoin Morgan will get a Test for England though, and it will be interesting to see if he can follow Kevin Pietersen from one-day to 5-day international success. He was a star of England’s heartening 20/20 World Cup winning team.

    Anton

  2. telescoper Says:

    Anton,

    They weren’t wearing helmets, just old-fashioned caps…

    I actually played on one of the pitches by Blackweir in 2007, before they got trashed, and before I moved into my house here in Pontcanna. Someone living in the block of flats were I was renting put a notice up asking for emergency players and I decided to have a go.

    I optimistically described myself as an “all-rounder”, but I hadn’t played cricket for at least a decade. I bowled two overs of legspin, erratically, but the ball bounced and turned all over the place. When our side batted, I came into bat with 6 wickets down and 20 runs to get off 3 overs. I hit two fours off my first two balls (one authentic, one an edge). The third ball climbed up off a length and hit me on the point of the shoulder (painfully) and looped up to the keeper. I was given out caught behind despite the big red mark at the top of my sleeve where the ball had hit me. The umpire’s decision is final. I never played again.

    They were lively pitches before they were bashed about, so I definitely wouldn’t like to bat on one now!

    Peter

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Did you try any umpire-sledging along the lines of “How’s your dog?” (When the umpire asks what you mean you say that you thought all blind men have one.) And did your team get the remaining 12 runs off 15 balls?
    Anton

  4. telescoper Says:

    No, I was the epitome of good sportsmanship, but I did point to the mark.

    The game situation was a little different than I perhaps implied. I came in at the end of an over, with three full overs left and 20 needed, but I wasn’t on strike. The other batsman, a chap called Dennis, one of our openers who was still in, scored a four and there were then four legside wides. He then took a single which put me on strike. By then we therefore only needed 11 and after my two boundaries it was down to 3 with two overs left. Dennis hit the winning runs with a four in the next over.

    I remember it very clearly, whiich is just as well as it’s probably the last game of cricket I’ll ever play..

    Peter

  5. Anton Garrett Says:

    There is an incredible moment during the bodyline series when England’s premier quick beams one of the Aussies and the (English) commentator says, “…and Larwood is the unfortunate bowler”!

  6. telescoper Says:

    Yes, I remember that. Very amusing.

    I’ve seen a few classic cricket clips on Youtube, including the awesome over Michael Holding bowled at Boycott in 1981, setting him up for the kill in truly savage style. That kind of thing puts it all in perspective. I’d struggle to react in time against medium pace, but at Holding’s speed I doubt if I’d even be able to see the ball! Not sure Boycott did that day either.

  7. Anton Garrett Says:

    I faced a bowling machine once. Up to about 70mph I could keep the ball out but not score (I am a natural night watchman), but above that I couldn’t react in time. I was about 40 years old at the time.

  8. Anton Garrett Says:

    PS If you can manage it, spare a thought for the umpire, who was probably feeling ghastly after he saw the mark on your shoulder. The laws are above the umpire as well as the players, and he couldn’t call you back. I once made as bad an umpiring decision myself and the beer turned to ashes in my mouth afterwards, as it were. At least your team won – Anton

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