Friday, 8 August 2014

Monkey's first test match

It may be summer in Manchester, but we all know Manchester and rain is inextricably linked. Going to cricket at Old Trafford is therefore a big risk, but last week, I won two tickets to the first day of the England vs India test match on Twitter and hastily rearranged a few things so I could take Monkey. I'd never been to a first class cricket match, let alone a test match and cricket is Monkey's new obsession - he plays for a under 9s team and has even talked Missy Woo into joining in too. 

The weather first promised rain, then it didn't. Even early morning, there looked like no rain in the forecast but as we drove down the motorway, the sky didn't look promising at all. We got on a tram and sure enough, by the time we got to the city centre, Manchester reverted to type and it was raining. Thankfully, all it did was delay start of play just enough for us to queue up for our tickets and find our seats, Monkey having mugged me for a commentary radio on the way in. 


The sun came out, but then the dark clouds gathered again. It tried to rain but didn't further delay play. As the teams came out with India batting first and play begun, I took another picture. 
Anderson to Vijay
Within minutes, England had a wicket. It tried to rain. We got another wicket. And another. And another. Half an hour in, I texted husband to say "Monkey is loving this - 4 wickets in 6 overs!"After that, things settled for a while - apart from Monkey wanting constant food and me buying draught Diet Cokes from the bar which blew their tops off whilst I was waiting for the over to finish. 

Another wicket arrived before lunchtime and the weather finally picked up so we decided to go on a wander around, mainly to find more food for Monkey. Waitrose came up trumps with some great freebies in the shape of pork and picallili pies to sample and goody bags filled with a free box of chocolate cookies. We also bumped into this guy. He's so Lanky I chopped his head off! (and he came to cricket practice recently!) 


Having bought some lunch and looked at most of the stalls, we came back for afternoon session. A few balls in and Anderson took the wicket of Jadeja, who had been roundly booed by the crowd on his arrival at the crease. The wicket was Monkey's best moment of the day. Not long after that, I got a text from our neighbour and mother of Monkey's best friend asking us where we were as her son was looking for him. He went down to the front to try and spot him, whereupon he then apparently said hello to Stuart Broad when he fielded a ball down on the boundary and he said hi back - Monkey's second best moment of the day. 

We encountered this fellow spectator. 



We then had to go see his friends who were taking a walk around, playing the bowling games and I got conned into buying a Team England shirt. We missed two wickets then went to go back in via a trip to the toilets, whereupon we heard another wicket and the final wicket I saw through someone's legs waiting to go in between overs. 

Monkey then decided we were going to sit down by the boundary. 


And watched the start of the England innings. We managed to say there for about 2 hours, and I actually got to listen to the radio I bought. We saw two England wickets but we also got to see some great batting from Ian Bell and Gary Ballance (Monkey points out Ian Bell uses the same model of bat as him!).

And the sun shone!


Monkey is a little obsessed about journeys and worries we will miss trains, trams etc or have to wait ages for them so we left before the end to get our tram back to our car before the crowds got there too. 

A day that started with rain ended with sun along with 13 wickets - even though we missed 5 of them - and a very happy 9 year old who'd been to his first test match. 

A big thank you to Lancashire Cricket Club for the tickets to the match, which I won from their #TestMatchThursday Twitter competition (and to Jimmy Anderson because he was the correct answer to the question!) for making a 9 year old boy  - and his mum - very happy. As we drove away from the station, Monkey turned to me and said "You know, this was the best day of my life". 

Can't say fairer than that. 
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