Barmy Army

First day of a week off work and an impromptu outing to watch the last day of the third test against the Windies at Old Trafford. Although I follow the cricket closely, I don’t often get to go to watch a match live but this seemed too good an opportunity to miss – despite losing a day’s play to rain on Friday, the match was no dead rubber and looked to produce a result either way.

Our only hesitation was the weather. It was beautiful at home in the morning, but Metcheck threatened rain by lunchtime. Me and Mrs Parrot decided to risk it and we and the rest of the large crowd attracted by the £10 admission shared the most amazing luck in that regard.

We arrived about 11.45 and things didn’t look promising with England on 26 for 2, Trescothick and Strauss being early casualties. It was hard to find a seat in the popular end (Mrs Parrot says she feels more at home with the rowdies) so we found ourselves in the J stand which was pretty full and, well, dull.

Okay, so the two in the middle were not exactly scoring quickly, but then Captain, Michael Vaughan and Robert Key were steadying a wobbly ship, but everyone was so quiet. Me and Mrs Parrot found ourselves whispering, rather than talking, just in case we might wake anyone up, and we saw 26 runs in the 45 minutes before lunch.

At which point, we bagged our seats with Mrs Parrots jacket and went off in search of a beer tent. And that’s when the luck started to kick in. Looking west as we left the stand we saw the biggest, blackest clouds you could imagine. Pints of beer in hand, it absolutely lashed it down ten minutes later and I started to wonder whether we would be heading home early.

But the rain passed and we recovered Mrs P’s now damp jacket and worked out how to get ourselves to the relatively unpopulated M stand next to the members’ pavilion for the afternoon’s play. A much better view, I would suggest, and you actually have room to move your elbows. But you could tell that this is where members normally sit as, bar a copy of the Independent, everyone else read the Telegraph.

And from there, we could see our luck. Bathed in sunshine, to the east and the south black clouds dominated, lightning flashed and there was the rumble of thunder in the distance. At tea we rang home and it was chucking it down while we were in sunshine.

Anyway, it was a great afternoon. I said that I wanted to see Andrew Flintoff come in at four in place of the injured Graham Thorpe, and he did when Michael Vaughan succumbed to the first ball by spinner Chris Gayle; the Freddie whacked the ball, including two sixes; and then the self-same hero hit the winning run.

Great day, great memories. And the gods of cricket favouring England. Or was it the gods of the weather? Whatever, cracking day, eh?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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