South Africa ‘A‘ v England Lions, Saturday 31st January 2015, 10am

1-opening shot

I’d hoped to get along to see England’s development side in one of their four day ‘Tests‘ earlier in their tour, but the dates didn’t quite fall right. That left the one day games and Potchefstroom on a Saturday worked just fine.

Potchefstroom is about two and a half hours by car from where we live and an easy drive along the road to Kimberley. We arrived half an hour or so before the start and were surprised to see the streets lined with people already cooking on their braais.

I wondered if there was something else going on, perhaps a popular road race or their annual ‘Braai on the pavement‘ day, as it seemed unlikely that everyone would be interested in a South Africa ‘A‘ cricket game. I’ve been to test matches over here where the ground was only ten per cent full.

We parked just outside of the main entrance to Senwes Park and were very kindly given a couple of complimentaries by the people ahead of us on the way in. Despite it being close to the scheduled starting time of ten, very few other people were bothering to make their way inside and we had our pick of the seats in the covered stand.

The sky was dark enough to make immediate play seem unlikely. It brightened intermittently with the occasional flash of lightning, but rain seemed imminent. It was a pleasant surprise therefore when the players took the field at a quarter past ten.

View from the covered stand.

View from the covered stand.

There were still very few people in the ground. One or two on the grass embankment, a couple of groups in the executive boxes and maybe a dozen alongside us in the main stand. As it wasn’t really the weather for a braai, it was difficult to understand why people were choosing to hang around outside by the side of the road.

View from further around.

View from further around.

I was temporarily distracted by a bird hanging from the roof. The zoom lens showed that it had fishing line wrapped around a leg and it was suspended a few inches below a beam. Every now and then it would try to fly away, only to be pulled up as the line halted its progress.

It would probably have taken a fire engine or cherry picker to have rescued it and as that was unlikely to happen a quickish death was about the best that could be hoped for.

There wasn't really anything we could do.

There wasn’t really anything we could do.

I can’t remember who won the toss, but England fielded. We had an over from Mark Wood and then two balls from the recently arrived addition to the squad, Tim Bresnan.

Not much of a workout for Bresnan.

Not much of a workout for Bresnan.

At that point the rain came down and the players returned to their dressing rooms. I wondered how it would affect the braais outside and whether we’d see an influx of spectators hoping to shelter under the roof or whether everyone would just clear off home. It turned out to be the latter.

Not the best of weather.

Not the best of weather.

The rain eased off after an hour, which allowed some kids in the family area to get their own game going, but  it had been so torrential that a further hour on it was still being collected by the sponge roller car.

The most action we saw all day.

The most action we saw all day.

At the point when play looked like it might be possible the rain started again. It wasn’t as heavy as earlier but the cumulative effect combined with time running out proved sufficient to bring the day to a close and play was abandoned at half past two.

We’d seen eight balls in four and a half hours, although that was eight balls more than most of the people who had been braaing since before breakfast.



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2 Responses to “South Africa ‘A‘ v England Lions, Saturday 31st January 2015, 10am”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Enjoyable ‘cricket’ reading from your part of the world Craig. Big Hi to J.Tracy 🙂

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