I know I may sound like a terribly pushy mum, but to be frank, although I like to watch a bit of the cricket, I'm afraid I am fair weather attendee and I see it as an opportunity to get a little sun and participate in a little polite chatter with other parents.
Attire is not the main focus, and layers are sensible as the pitch is quite exposed and the temperature and wind tend to fluctuate, naturally there are some schools when clothing is a little more considered and this was one of those matches, so I went for some Gstar jeans, t-shirt underneath a Michael Kors over sized cashmere cardigan and my oh so comfortable Bensimons and all topped off with my newest purchase, a Eugenia Kim panama hat.
We placed ourselves in a great viewing spot and more importantly in direct sight of the sun, and I began to unpack the picnic not a huge feast as the teas at cricket are magnificent, just a few titbits to munch on.
It was just as I was biting into a Royal Gala, when I saw them marching towards the pavilion, the opposition mothers, a formidable selection of finely tuned, tanned long limbed ladies, with the leader of the pack, a fine specimen of female perfection, barking orders at the others. I was not intimidated in the slightest actually I was amused as I watched their lovely heeled shoes slowly sinking into the grass as they began to quicken their pace in an attempt to avoid getting completely stuck. They planted themselves right in front of the pavilion doors, so boys coming in and out would have to walk around them and the leader delegated the unpacking of chairs, rugs, cushions, hampers, coolers and an enormous umbrella to keep the shade off. All this would have looked at home in some bygone era of the Indian empire, but here in this world it all looked rather affectacious.
The match began and the visitors batted first. We politely clapped as they scored the odd run here and there, and did the same when they were bowled out, caught out and on one occasion run out. The opposition mothers screeched and screamed loudly whenever a run was scored, and remained silent and sullen when one of their boys were out. This is pretty poor behaviour for a cricket match, where rules and etiquette are keenly observed. However, I could have gladly dealt with this without being bothered but it was the behaviour of their coach that was highly questionable. I won't bore you with the details, as you may not be familiar with the rules of cricket, but basically there are a limited number of overs in a game and it is normal that whichever team bats first, declares after tea giving the other team the same amount of overs to reach the winning target. For the first time since I have been watching my sons play cricket, this did not happen and the visiting team continued playing until they had played 30 overs, leaving only 14 overs for our home team. This just isn't fair play, just not cricket, not gentlemanly and an outrageous example of bad sportsmanship to set as an example to these boys of privilege.
This turned out to be one of the most exciting matches I have ever watched (except of course the Ashes) and our boys were completely brilliant, our first two batsmen scored fast and furious taking us to within 4 runs of a win with 4 balls left. My son was batting at number 4 and as the other two boys has been batting brilliantly it seemed unlikely he would get walk onto the pitch in order to bat for the school, but with all the excitement, one boy was caught out, and then another boy having scored 3 of the four runs needed was run out, which meant my middle chap on his debut had to come on and score one run to win, with only one ball left to bowl - this was a do or die moment. Now I knew he would be nervous under normal circumstances, as he would want to prove himself more than capable with the bat, but this pressure was immense, what if he was bowled out, what if he couldn't score a run, or was caught. I could barely watch, as I felt a mother next to me squeeze my knee in support as he walked on looking cool and calm and in control.
We watched in silence as he walked to the stumps, lined himself up and looked out. The bowler made his run up and bowled so fast I could not see the ball, but I saw middle chap raise his bat and heard the thump as he smashed it away. We had won and I jumped up and screamed, the other parents in our group all jumped up too and we hugged and cheered and I had tears of joy and pride which I could not hold back.
I turned to the pitch and saw middle chap take of his helmet and raise his bat in victory, he then walked over to the opposition captain and shook his hand and in the true spirit of Cricket showed the opposition there and then how to behave like a gentleman..