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.