Yesterday. Headingley. Stokes.

Great stuff that. Henry Newbolt just about caught the mood.

There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight,                                                                             Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

There’s no need to read the rest. It’s about a British soldier under fire in the desert, who is motivated by imagining he’s Eton’s number 11 batsman against Harrow. Jack Leach was the No.11 yesterday. But Ben Stokes, of course, is the hero. And yesterday epitomises why cricket is the greatest game ever invented.

If I’d been in England, I probably would have gone along. (Leeds isn’t far from Hull.) But I’m still in cricket-starved Sweden. So I missed it; with no-one even to share the moment with me. Kajsa’s ‘that’s nice, dear’ doesn’t really do it justice.

Back from hols next week, when serious blogging will be resumed.

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2 Responses to Yesterday. Headingley. Stokes.

  1. Is it true that the test was played behind a pay wall in the UK, like all games except the final of the World Cup? Interesting on-line LRB piece fairly recently about how the pool of English players has shrunk dramatically, especially in the non-private schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roughly true, apart from a very few protected events called the ‘Crown Jewels’. Unfortunately test cricket isn’t among them. All Murdoch’s doing, I suspect. There’s a petition going around to make test cricket ‘free to air’ again, as it always used to be; but the BBC and ITV can’t compete with Fox’s millions, and the money the counties get from cable TV fees is too valuable to offer much hope. Sigh!

      Liked by 1 person

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