Ah, Cricket. It has been said that there are only THREE forms of Cricket worth watching.
1. Prep' School Cricket: Played by very zealous under 14 year-old boys. This game usually lasts for about 2 hours, and is VERY serious.
2. Village Cricket: Played by the village blacksmith, plumber, carpenter, etc. This usually starts sometime in the morning, and ends when the Pub' beckons (see illustration). Lunchtime sandwiches are supplied by long-suffering wives and girlfriends. Played mostly for fun and beer.
3. International Test Cricket: Played by professionals. Each game lasts FIVE DAYS. Participants include England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, The West Indies, and South Africa. International kudos at stake.
At first sight Cricket could be described as a 'bat & ball' game, where you score points by running between two sets of 'stumps'. But in reality it is a game of moral character, of poetry, aesthetics, and exceptional skill; the rules of the game being liberally translated by an 'umpire', who's decision is ALWAYS final.
As such, Cricket has always been a 'gentlemanly' game, where, other than 'leather on willow', the only sound one might hear is that of elderly ruddy-faced retired-Brigadiers whispering 'Well played sir, well played'.
I'm posting this NOW simply because our lads have just embarked on a series of Test Matches against newcomers Bangladesh (which means we SHOULD win something); I have the scent of Linseed Oil in my nostrils.
The illustration shows a game of Village Cricket on the green at Tilford in Surrey; a perfect setting. The pub' (The Barley Mow) in the background was run by one of the world's most eccentric landlords. But that's another story for another time!
N.B. The Pub' name 'Barley Mow' indicates the Barley Half of a Barn; where the beer was brewed (the other half probably held wheat). The word 'Mow' comes from an Old English word 'Moiety' meaning 'Half'. The origin is Latin, but comes via the French word 'Moitié', also meaning 'Half', and still in common usage.