The sound of ball on bat, rounds of applause and gentle cheers, together with the sight of all the cricket whites are forever bound in my mind with some other associations.
Cricket meant sitting with my parents and sister to watch the quintessentially English game, in a gorgeous village.
It also meant not actually sitting for very long, getting sidetracked by the expanse of very green grass that was cut to the perfect length to practice cart-wheels and roly-polies. It meant paddling in the ice cold stream next to the cricket pitch, accompanied by "don't go too far" warnings from parents. Best of all, it meant lemonade and a packet of crisps from the pub overlooking the village green where the cricket was played.
The Yorkshire Dales have some pretty perfect cricket pitches. I can't vouch for the quality of the wicket but there are some wonderful settings. Viewed through the eyes of a visitor to England, cricket is at once charming and confusing. I still like the rather cheesy “Rules of cricket as explained to a foreign visitor”, an anonymous explanation seen on souvenir tea towels: You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in, goes out, and when he's out, he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not-outs, that's the end of the game”.
Cricket's traditionally a summer sport, but I was intrigued to learn there are those who apparently love it so much they place in Winter, even in snow. This is the case for cricketers from Appletreewick and Malhamdale who have an 'annual Winter tour'. I don't think it's a long tour, possibly limited to one trip through the Dales, and quite a long, warming visit to a pub afterwards, but the theory's there!