The sun shone all day; there were over 350 runs scored and, somewhat ridiculously, 18 wickets fell. The wet conditions of last week turning to glorious sunshine this week clearly affected the wicket – in fact, across the country, the top innings score on this opening day was a mere 256 runs (perhaps the gradual demise of the county games means that players don’t get enough practice of the four-day game?).
Despite the fact that, at 10am today, the visibility from the train was reduced to 150metres at one point (you’re going to tell me it was ‘heat haze’, aren’t you?), by the time the match started at 11am, the sun was shining brilliantly and didn’t stop shining throughout the day.
The day’s cricketing honours went to two young players: Worcestershire’s Ed Barnard took his first five-wicket haul and Somerset’s Matt Renshaw scored an unbeaten century. 22 year-old Renshaw (born in Middlesborough, but already capped for Australia) was making his debut for Somerset and, ironically, he was a last-minute replacement for Somerset’s original Aussie signing, Cameron Bancroft – who you might recall was ‘caught up’ in the recent ball-tampering scandal.It was all very idyllic – perfect weather, entertaining cricket, a very good crowd and people clearly delighted to meet up again and bore each other with their respective knowledge of cricketing records (that only other cricket fans have any interest in at all). Life is good.
PS: The day’s other points of note included: a) the old lady sitting directly behind me, watching the cricket and constantly humming quietly to herself (and me), b) me buying THREE old cricket books for a TOTAL price of £2 (yes, I’m feeling slightly smug!), and c) the woman announcer at Taunton station (ok, I know it was a recorded message) explaining to passengers that our train was running 29 minutes late due to a signal failure – but, at the same time, actually seemingly to infer something along the lines of “well, that’s what they told me anyway – but, frankly, who knows?”.
Photo: The above image probably should have been added to the “day’s other points of note” … this was the very first thing I was confronted by when I arrived at the ground: the bizarre sight of a press photographer(?) desperately trying to take a photograph incorporating a pint of Thatcher’s cider, a cricket ball and a boundary rope (and I just love his ‘leg action’)!!