One of the cheap treats available in Cambridge is the arrival of a county cricket team at Fenners to bash the local students in the warm-up for the new season. These days, all those students seemed to come from what was Cambridge Poly when I studies for my Accountancy exams there.
A couple of years ago I saw Jimmy Anderson take 5 for 1 in 5 overs (that’s good, Yanks); this year it was Sir Alastair Cook’s first match since international retirement.
The first “Sir” to play at Fenners, said an excited Old Boy at the gates as I handed over my fiver. I doubt that’s true.
A gorgeous sunny day saw half the crowd of Old Boys and Young Farmers in shirtsleeves, though the cloud passing over saw a dash back to a few cars for jumpers
As someone who thinks cricket is best enjoyed through the medium of Cricinfo commentary, it’s a shock to attend a cricket game and realise;
a) There’s no “Ready to go” or “Thunderstruck” as the players take the field
b) I can’t actually see the ball.
c) The numbering on the score card bore no relation to the numbering on the shirts.
d) There’s no offsides.
More pressingly, I still had two Spoons vouchers left for the quarter, and spent a soporofic morning watching Cook leave deliveries outside off-stump (one scoring shot in the first ten overs) and deciding whether I’d risk a couple of pints in Cambridge’s Tim Towers.
Of course, to not use your full quota of Spoons vouchers would be a dereliction of your duty to cask.
Why not The Regal ?
A dull line-up normally, but here was Adnams Oyster Stout.
And it was (nearly) great, NBSS 3.5+ I noted. Cool, rich and complex, and better than anything I’ve drunk in 20 pubs around Dundee these last 4 days.
And of course this Spoons will never get in the Beer Guide again (I’ll bet ya), however good that Stout and a subsequent Nethergate Umbel Magna were.
Back at the cricket, Cook had moved to 67, the bored lady next to me was reading out the sales details of mansions in Grantchester, line by line, and a group of local schoolchildren were being encouraged to appreciate the beautiful game. Without success.
A few chaps wandered past with plastic glasses filled with beer. Breaking into the members enclosure, it appeared to be keg Greene King IPA. You needed to have a
CAMRA card tie on to buy it.
More exitingly, Corduroy Man announced that lemon drizzle cake and chocolate cake would be available from 3pm. Just like at Worcester, it’s all about the cake.
“We’ll save the Battenburg for the journey home” said a couple of away fan.
But what about the handwash, I hear you ask.
By now the Chef was in the nervous nineties, and Matt had arranged to meet me for a 3pm kebab on Mill Road.
“I’ll be there in a couple of minutes” I told Matt. “Cook can get there with a six“.
It took him twenty minutes.
But, like the completion of my personal Spoons journey, the Chef’s century was never in doubt.