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 and pashminas. 


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.

50p more than in Dundee. But don’t move.

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.



  1. No sport confuses me more than cricket. Interesting looking game, but I forget the rules a day after having them explained to me.

    Nice to see action photos of your pint being pulled. Really makes us thirsty. I can hear the sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A short leap from poetry to cricket assumed with the ease of a master blogger. Never been there and must rectify it (say that every year). Viewing from the side can be a ball lite occupation if the bowling is quick enough. Bit surprised about the numnbering conflict though. The Regal was famously the largest Spoons wasn’t it, until the Ramsgate one opened? Damning on Dundee….


    1. Just like I keep saying I’ll get to New Road each year…

      Thanks for reminding me that Ramsgate is the new biggest and therefore best pub in the world. Still haven’t been.

      I did stand near the sight screen a bit as well. No better. Big difference to football which I only watch live these days.

      Unfortunately that Dundee (and around) verdict is both damning and fair, as I expect a few others will confirm.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t mind a bit of cricket (I even used to almost know how to complete the score book ! ) -prefer to watch from the comfort of my own home & if I;m honest I only like the last few overs of a Test or 20/20 match- so perhaps I’m not such an enthusiast .As for Spoons vouchers,I am currently sitting next to a pile of next years,belonging to the lad -will he notice if I snaffle a few ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Old Trafford cricket ground has had cask beer from Lancashire’s sponsor Thwaites for the last decade or so, at first just in the clubhouse, but now at some of the bars beneath the stands too. The members only clubhouse now also has cask beers from JW Lees (heavily stewarded at Test matches, but they usually let you sneak in there for a dinnertime pint at county matches).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. First time I ever watched cricket in Barbados they were serving a naggin of rum ( 200mls) poured into an empty water bottle,with a small bag of ice and a small bottle of Coke for five bucks.
    I was in a round of 8 so it was quite a palaver doing this eight times.
    Much of play after tea was a blur if I’m honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “(that’s good, Yanks)”

    Thanks. Even as a Canadian whose parents emigrated from England I wasn’t sure either. 🙂

    “it’s a shock to attend a cricket game and realise”

    You’ll soon go from shocked to perspicacious with regards to watching sport live or watching via some sort of medium. 🙂

    “and deciding whether I’d risk a couple of pints in Cambridge’s Tim Towers.”

    See, that’s where Cricinfo comes in handy.


    My mouth’s watering already.

    “were being encouraged to appreciate the beautiful game”

    Hang on, Wiki says the beautiful game is footy.

    ““We’ll save the Battenburg for the journey home” ”

    That would be the cake and not the lace (or emergency vehicle markings) I’m guessing.


    Was it the word Tesco that gave that away?

    ““Cook can get there with a six“.”

    A century!

    “the Chef’s century was never in doubt.”

    I guess at times it would behoove me to read the next few sentences before posting. 🙂



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