UNDENIABLY cricket is on the upsurge – thanks in main to the demand of the increasingly-popular Twenty/20 version of the game.
But although it obviously appeals to the ‘casual’ cricket lover, the shorter format rarely provides the excitement often generated by a ‘kosher’ one-day game, as demonstrated by last week’s Romida Sykes Cup first semi-final between Delph & Dobcross and Golcar.
I admit to having little more than a passing interest in national Twenty/20 cricket.
But on the rare occasions I’ve taken note of results, they have always been very one-sided, with little to get worked up about.
That was definitely not the case at Delph last Sunday, when two talented and highly-motivated sides clashed head-on like a pair of giant juggernauts, providing a huge crowd with plenty of entertainment and quite a nail-biting finish.
Okay, Delph got there in the end by three wickets, but until home skipper Grant Jones dropped anchor and took the heat out of Golcar’s rejuvenated bowling attack, it was anybody’s game at 78-7, chasing 107 for victory.
The home side had bowled and fielded terrifically, but Golcar responded brilliantly and after the fall of the seventh wicket you could hear a pin drop (at least during the pause for breath of the vociferous Golcar entourage).
“I looked round at the scoreboard when Kami (Kamran Mirza) came to join me in the middle, and the 28 we still needed felt more like 140,” confessed Jones.
“I knew we had to just settle things down, because at that moment Golcar’s tails were up and we could have been in trouble.”
In the event, Jones bided his time before hitting a six and three fours and along with Mirza, steered Delph into the final.
Not only a good advert for the game as a competitive showpiece, it was also great to see the players accept the umpires’ decisions and for both sets of players to shake hands at the end, showing the true spirit of sportsmanship.
THAT is what cricket is all about!