I’m a cricket lover, and during each English season attend, with my friend John, at least 2 or 3 first-class games – travelling to Headingley or Scarborough, to support Yorkshire, our county of birth.

This season, however, we also decided to visit Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire for the Yorks v. Notts fixture. The Tykes (Yorkshire) had progressed well,  but met with stubborn resistance on the 2nd day…so it was well poised going into day three, the day we put in our appearance.

John’s rather laboured journey from Grimsby to Brigg (25 miles) – through fog & traffic – did not augur well, nor did the weather forecast, which promised rain over Nottingham. But our spirits were high & we talked non-stop from Brigg to Nottingham (80 miles) about sport, current affairs (the irresponsible pastor threatening to burn the Koran!) family, Grapevine, church and substantial matters of mutual interest.

Arriving with time to spare we parked and walked to the impressive ground…unsure of where to gain admission. Approaching a gate, we must have appeared ‘lost’, as an extremely friendly attendant beckoned us through and said, “Come on inside, I’ve torn two tickets off for you – complimentary, on the house” – (rather unbelievable, as ticket prices were between £15-20 each) – but he wasn’t joking and we were admitted free of charge – a little dazed & amazed, yet extremely happy with such favour.

First views from our position at the Radcliffe Roads end (pictured below) were quite over-powering – what an amazing place…

The game moved through the first session, with Yorkshire making further steady progress, taking wickets and setting up a reasonably low total for their batsmen to chase, with plenty of time in hand (this was only the third of four scheduled days)…and lunch came having made inroads into that total with no loss of wickets. We were cock-a-hoop as we headed for a local chippy for our usual ‘cholesterol’ top up.

The after lunch session got a little tricky with a number of wickets falling after some tight Notts bowling. John became as nervous as a crocodile in a hand-bag factory…and tried to relieve the tension by winding up the home crowd. A rather portly Nottinghamshire fielder ambled to the boundary to retrieve the ball, and my good friend shouted, “Who’s been eating all the pies, then” much to the crowd’s amusement.

A perfect day ended some time before the tea interval, when Yorkshire hit the winning runs to secure victory. How we applauded, much to the consternation of many of the home supporters around us.

We left the ground on a high, and made the journey back to Lincolnshire in good time, feeling a strong sense of satisfaction & conquest.

Below:  Our view of the Pavilion End and new electronic scoreboard

Post-script

The English cricket season reached an exciting climax in mid-September, with three counties still in contention for the Division I Championship – Notts, Somerset & Yorkshire. It went to the wire (the final matches of the season) with Notts finally claiming the crown – oh, such a travesty.

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