Monday, September 30, 2013


SOTTO VOCE..


And so another domestic cricket season comes to an end, more with a whimper than any roar of finality.   It`s always a matter of regret, of course, as the days shorten and the autumn winds and rain almost of themselves guarantee that play is abandoned.  The summer game has brought us another Ashes triumph, some limitless drama in the limited over games and an intriguing county championship.

And now it`s all gone and I sometimes wonder whether it ever really arrived as it has been impossible to get away from the incessant babble of football.  A succession of international competitions, the livestock auction of the transfer window, the maniacal speculation of comings and goings and the incessant assault on our sensitivities by the rampant commercialism of the product and its brand have all conspired almost to drown out those summer days of leather, willow, cricket whites and teacakes.

And so, looking back once more with the cricket season having ended just two days ago but which already seems a lifetime away, the things I already miss are not so much the heady days of Lord`s, Edgbaston, the Oval but the county games, the village greens, a pace to the sporting life now accelerated by the charmless onslaught from Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, yes and now even St. Mary`s where expectation runs too high and will surely be dashed as the grip of winter and reality takes hold.

But then cricket knows its place in the hierarchy of sport and whilst it may be mid-table in terms of world-wide popularity and commercial clout, it retains values to which its more strident competitors can never hope to aspire - an almost whimsical affection from its devotees, a culture at least in its lower reaches that still relies on fairness, respect and honest endeavour and a backdrop of those bountiful summer days, those homely grounds and a love for a game that no other can inspire.

So cricket has left us once more and we can but look forward to its resurrection, however vicarious it may be, in those corners of foreign fields which seem forever  summer as we become lost in our own winter`s dark age.   Cricket may well have played out sotto voce for now, but play on it will and in a voice that will strike a harmonic chord, almost in rebuke and in defiance of those who fail to understand its true value.  Roll on next summer!

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