About two overs from the end of the Pemberton Greenish Cup, the scoreboards at The Oval died. It summed up a dispiriting evening for Surrey on the pitch; but off the field it was a day that was anything but disappointing.
Over 700 children from local schools packed out the pavilion for yesterday’s match. Kids from all walks of life were equally excited to be there – boys from state primaries cheered the big hits; and girls from posh, private preps applauded the clattering of stumps; all accompanied by a noisy DJ, who might have made the traditionalists frown, but who brought a sense of bounce to the occasion that held up the excitement levels even as the game drifted slightly towards the end.
Earlier in the day, a rammed indoor school had seen 300 children through bowling clinics and batting master-classes from Surrey coaching staff, with guest appearances from the captains, Cecily Scutt and Izzy Westbury.
One teacher at an all-girls school told us of the challenges she faces introducing cricket to the curriculum: “All the schools around us play rounders in the summer, so it’s hard to get a game; but I’m hoping that if one leads, the others will follow.”
After the match a champagne-soaked Izzy Westbury was full of praise for the leadership of Ebony Rainford-Brent, telling CRICKETher: “It’s an amazing thing to be playing a domestic cricket match with this turn-out and a lot of counties could learn a lot from it.”
Will there be better games of cricket played in this year’s Women’s County Championship? No doubt! Will there be a bigger “event” in the domestic game this season? No… and that’s why this day was important!