Sunday, 17 July 2011

A guide to weather for cricketers

Rain stopped play on its way
 Weather is interesting stuff and in Scotland there is lots of it, all the time.  As a sailor of modest ability, Fantasy Bob has had to study weather and can confirm that knowing how and why it happens is as interesting as it actually happening.  It is all pretty scientific, but at the end it is mixed up with a good bit of guess work.   A bit like umpiring.

Carlton cricketers have a simple but infallible forecasting system. It is not necessary to hang a bit of seaweed outside the pavilion, far less query the senior players about how their rheumatic knees feel - if they can't see Arthur's Seat it's raining, if they can see Arthur's Seat it is just about to rain. 

But if this is too simple for your inquiring scientific mind then you need to know that weather has all got to do with heat and air pressure.  Warm air rises, lowering air pressure.  Cold air sinks increasing air pressure.  Warm air carries moisture; cold air doesn't.  The sea retains heat, the land doesn't.  Knowing this you can work it out for yourself whether rain will stop play tomorrow.  All these factors come together in the Atlantic as the tropical and the polar air masses collide.  Depressions are formed on the pressure differential and the weather as it passes over the UK reflects the life of the depression.  The basic pattern is that the warm front brings rain, then after a bit the cold front brings rain.  Sometimes they get mixed up as an occluded front which brings rain.

Progress of weather fronts
 The Life of the Depression is therefore not an obscure 6 hour long film by Ingmar Bergman but a truly wonderful natural phenomenon bringing a predictable weather pattern that all cricketers should understand.   It is summed up in many of the old folk sayings about the weather eg
Red sky at night, batsman's delight.
Red sky in the morning, seam bowler's warning.
There is a lot to understand here so to make it easy, FB thought it would be helpful to define commonly used weather terms for cricketers:

  • High pressure - 3 overs to go 12 runs wanted only juniors left to bat
  • Low pressure - bloody pavilion showers not working again
  • Warm front - feeling from team mates when you return having blasted the winning boundary
  • Cold front - feeling after your umpiring spell has lead to 2 LBWs including the skipper
  • Isobar - place to go when you face cold front
  • Occluded front - pay attention - as everyone knows this has no cricketing sense but is a complex frontal system that occurs when a cold front overtakes a warm front.
  • Cyclonic - need to think about transport to Saturday's away fixture
  • Anti cyclonic - no cycle racks at away ground
  • Dew point - point at which Graeme Swann becomes stroppy and blames someone else for his crap bowling
  • Wind backing - someone in the slip cordon had curry last night
  • Wind veering - close fielders are now being spread
  • Fog - the feeling when batting against leg spin bowling
  • Freezing Fog - facing leg spin bowling in the first match of the season
  • AnaBatic and KataBatic - Eastern European twins recently employed by club as bar staff and with whom all the second eleven are in love
  • Jet Stream - the path of a short pitched delivery as it comes towards your unhelmented head
  • Leeward - anxious about facing Brett Lee
  • Maximum Temperature - a phenomenon unknown during the cricket season in Scotland
  • Ozone - that part of the pavilion reserved for those who have got out for a duck