Cricket, even when played by the likes of Merv Hughes, is the most civilised of sports. Yes, the brashness of twenty-over cricket brings a less genteel dimension, but the sound of willow striking a shiny, red Kookaburra (or vice versa) is the most satisfying “thwack” imaginable.
That, and the hopeful shouts of: “How’s that?” are the sounds of a cricket field. Polite claps, following a good shot, or good bit of fielding, or anything else noteworthy, are the aural contributions that spectators make.
One of the benefits of having flexible work arrangements is that I can park myself next to a cricket field once a week, MacBook on lap, to watch my son’s matches.
So, there I was at the first match of 2011, getting busy with some work, when the calm of the charming, tree-rimmed field was broken by a sound that could only have been produced by a cork exuberantly departing a champagne bottle. And so, with the actions of a couple of fun-loving mothers, started a tradition that has continued into a second season (and even gets a mention in the school magazine!).
It may well be indulgent of me to allocate a couple of hours during a workday, and frivolity of the bubbly aside, it’s something that I find hugely rewarding. During the season, the team also managed to finish two matches on tied scores, which were two of the most exciting limited overs matches I have ever watched (internationals included).
And, when either the work or cricket is boring, there is always the conviviality of sharing a bottle of chilled bubbly with other parents.