Sunday, 28 November 2010

Snow stopped play?

Well it didn't year, too long ago to mention, Fantasy Bob was playing in the opening league game of the season for his then club Royal High.  The match was at Freuchie, who round about then won the small club championship final at Lords.  It had been cold that week, but maybe no colder than many other opening weeks of the season, or weeks in the middle of season come to that.   Freuchie's ground was not as exposed as many others, but it generally wasn't a warm place either.  Now those were the days before Skins and thermal base layers and all that techno stuff, so FB usually found himself bound up in several sweaters - at least 5 until well into June.  A modelling contract with Michelin was always promised but never delivered.

As RH took the field the temperature dropped gradually, until 15 overs or so into the innings, snow flakes began to dance in the icy wind.  It was not clear if this was a hindrance more to batting or bowling, and the game stituation was evenly poised, so the umpires just thrust their hands deeper in their pockets and play continued uninterrupted.  Men were men in those days.  Even so, FB was standing at slip and the thought crossed his mind that if the ball came fast to him one of the icicles that were his fingers could just snap off.  It seems common sense that only in blizzard conditions should play be stopped - gentle snowfalls are well within the range of playable conditions.  Notwithstanding his 5 sweaters, FB has never found tea more welcome than on that day.

Cricket, of sorts, has been played in the snow, rather than while snowing. 

In 2009, Kapil Dev and some others played a 6 a side match 6,000ft up in the Swiss Alps.  View the link to assess how serious this stunt actually was.  FB is not confident that it had the tourism impact it hoped for. More authentic is this Canadian report of cricketers in St Lawrence

The splendid book Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thomson contains a description of an attempt to play cricket in the Antarctic.  (If you haven't read the book, there is a very sad sting in the tail).  And there are reports of 18th and 19th century games being played on skates.  So that feeling of England being on thin ice may be older than you think.

Carlton's Grange Loan ground - 27 November 2010 - with thanks to John Boyd

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