Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Lancashire XI v Bangladesh A

Aigburth, Liverpool
Tour match

Bangladesh 'A' won by 7 wickets. Apparently.

AS you might expect, there's nothing I like more than an outground. It's a shame therefore that my home county, Hampshire, stopped using their regular outposts of Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Bournemouth once the Rose Bowl was built. To get out there and visit other parts of the county expanse, and indeed neighbouring minor counties and districts in some cases, used to be essential. Part of what made it so great was the fact that the anticipation for it, and the carnival atmosphere of the tents and marquees all around made for a great day out.

With that in mind, I eagerly awaited this years fixture lists to see when Lancashire would be playing at Liverpool which they use once a year for a 4 day county game, as they do at Blackpool. However, for this season, Lancashire's sole concession to their Merseyside support was a one day game against the visiting Bangladesh 'A' side.

No problem, you'd think. Sounds like a decent game, particularly as the eventual starting XI featured 8 that had experience of defeat at Test Match level.

On top of that, free entry. Again, nice, but I think I'd have much rather paid a little more to have got some proper outground action. No tents, no marquees, no seating in fact, apart from a 2 person bench that the steward (from Old Trafford, who himself expressed disbelief at the lack of effort put into staging this game) and myself lifted in from an adjacent tennis court. All the other in situ benches had been taken by the 30 or so early birds. Nowhere near enough scorecards had been printed either.

No effort had been put into advertising the game, and they clearly weren't expecting anybody to show. No food, except for a few hastily thrown together rolls in the pavilion. Furthermore, coming 2 days after Lancashire's appearance at the Twenty20 finals day, only 1 member from that team was on show, and was a decidely Second XI feel. Again, no real problem with that, young players have to blooded somewhere. The Lancy stiffs also feature Sajid Mahmood these days, who was in the England one-day side barely 12 months ago which suggests how far his star has fallen.

Come the break after about 25 overs for a rain shower, which had not been forecast, I must admit the lacklustre nature of the occasion made me feel like I'd wasted a day off and, feeling anxious about a pile of records beginning to build up again at VP towers, I walked home. Had it not been free or just an hours walk from my house, I might have stayed, but having not really been made to feel comfortable as a punter, I made off, missing a fair to middlin' game by all accounts. Hopefully there will be a proper county game here next year.

A poor show from the Hobo then and after the Preston yawnfest, I'm needing something to enliven my enthusiasm once more.

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