Yesterday I went to the T20 game at Lords between Middlesex and Sussex Sharks with Ivan Conway. Neither of us are devotees of this format and nothing we experienced yesterday altered our view.
Why so? First there is the noise. Ivan said it was as if we went to a classical music concert of say Mozart but finished up at a Status Quo one with head banging sound not melody. The sound takes the form of back drop of loud disco music – Sweet Caroline was especially popular with the fans joining in and swinging their arms. Stadia can be noisy, especially football ones, but normally there is a connection between the chanting and the play. Here it is orchestrated by whoever selects the music.
Then there is the obsession with being photographed and seen. On the scoreboard an attractive lady interviewer was being photographed with fans. The questions posed had little to do with the play. Most of all there was lack of engagement by the fans. The mantra is that T20 introduces a new young audience whilst the red ball format is stuffy and too long. There were a few kids there but – with a 9-30 finish beyond most bed times – not that many. It was more an excuse for a booze up with some not following the match at all.
As the match progressed to an exciting finish with Sussex needing 2 runs off the last ball there was a group of 4 drunken ladies in perpetual animated conversation their voices, fuelled by drink, high and shrill blathering away in our ears.
A few things did stick out cricket-wise. Sowter of Middlesex was a fine constraining spin bowler, Chris Nash – in a rich vein of form for Sussex – scored 69 but only Van Zyl also made double figures. Ivan was mystified by the omission of Luke Wells who is also scoring prolifically. The curry buffet with a bottle of house wine was expensive at £55 per head.
Best of all was the fine stadium that is Lords. Here is a pic I took with a setting sun over the Home of Cricket.