Friday, May 11, 2012

Rain/frost/incompetence stopped play

It's a fairly pleasant, sunny afternoon at Chelmsford and a cricket match has suddenly broken out between Essex and Kent. This came as a surprise for me, having seen little more than drizzle for the past two days. Indeed, my entire season has been pretty much washed out.

As I wrote in this morning's Times, 2012 is shaping up to be one of the wettest cricket seasons on record, up there with 1879 (described as too wet even for coaching), 1888 ("June was detestable, July indescribable", according to Wisden), 1903 (almost half a metre of rain fell in the season), 1912 (June and July had twice the annual average rainfall, August was worse) and 1954 (lost revenue cost the counties £1.6 million in today's money).

On the first day of the match I am covering this week, there were fewer than ten overs possible between showers. Yesterday, there were only ten balls. That is still ten balls more than I had in the entire match between Surrey and Durham two weeks ago, which was abandoned without any play, while Monday's one-day game at Lord's looks arid by comparison as only two hours were lost.

For a sportswriter, I'm not seeing an awful lot of sport this year. Even when the weather is hot, the players are not. In January, I was in the UAE to cover England's Test series against Pakistan, in which thanks to our boys' inability to play spin, four days of the series were not needed.

In February, I was sent to Paris to cover the Six Nations rugby match between France and Ireland. The temperature plummeted to -10C and it was called off ten minutes before the scheduled start because of a frozen pitch.

And then there was the Boat Race, which was completed despite the best efforts of fate, which threw a swimming protester and a broken Oxford oar into the mix.

I'm starting to wonder whether I might be a bit of a sporting Jonah, chaos following wherever I go. At this rate, expect an asteroid to strike Wimbledon, the Open golf to be washed out by a tsunami up the Irish Sea and the Olympics to be terribly inconvenienced by a plague of locusts.

No comments: