Friday, 7 January 2011

Oh what a night! An Ashes win. Sydney, Australia, 7th January 2010

Nation’s army

of nightwatchmen and

women thrill to an epic


And what have we all been doing the past few weeks? Gone nocturnal! For me it was great to have something to keep me occupied in the wee, small hours, with my digital radio ear pieces continually plugged in!
At times it was hard not to stay up all night as the excitement grew. I would find myself having dozed off to waken again to some fresh revelation, a new wicket taken or lost, and sometimes confess to going to the bathroom with the small portable radio still plugged into my ears, hardly daring to miss any moment. Sky Player meant we could watch in bed, tucked up warm against the snow and arctic temperatures outside, making fighting off another virus bearable.
But what shall I do now, when there is no more cricket in the night watches. The nation went bananas.
Tweets were coming in to the Test Match Special all through the long hours. And e-mails, comments, texts, was like belonging to a national nocturnal club, as people from all corners of the country were gripped in a frenzy of expectation.
And now the celebrations begin.
And how we have enjoyed it all. The highs and the lows, the Barmy Army, the Sprinkler dance, Swann's hilarious video diary posts, it kept the winter at bay.
And this morning, as I write, it is snowing outside.
But there is a warm glow for England cricket fans everywhere!!

Quotes from the Times today
"Today is a day to celebrate. No, not the result in Sydney, which is of course a splendid thing, but the bonds which unite a nation: a nation which has spent much of the past few weeks trying desperately to stay awake as the late-night broadcasters spun out their epic tale of cricketing drama.

The radio by the bedside, the TV, the blogs and the tweets and the ball-by-ball commentaries: these are where we have gathered in the small hours for England’s famous victory, dedicated cricket fans and newcomers to the game alike."

"one Twitter poster put it more succinctly: “I hate cricket, but its [sic] a good day to be an Englishman.”"

It is also a good day to be an Englishwoman. Among those hardcore fans who have spent the Test series listening to the radio late into the night has been the cookery writer Clarissa Dickson Wright, who made her name as one half of the TV show Two Fat Ladies.

“Terribly exciting it’s been,” she said. “You stay up half the night, then you wake up in the early hours and go to the loo and turn it on and you don’t go back to sleep immediately. It has been amazing. My mother was Australian, so I have the alternative that if things are going

badly I can suddenly decide that I’m going to be Australian. But this year I haven’t had to do it at all.”

Listening to the match was one thing, but sharing the experience was another, especially in the Scottish town of Musselburgh where Dickson Wright lives. “I have lots of friends on the other end of the telephone to whom I can say: Gosh, were you awake for that bit?”

Perhaps one day an economist will tell us how much productivity has been lost during the Test series as people have sat dead-eyed and listless at their desks, doing nothing much more than remember the last Cook century. Until then all we have is these confessions.

Alex Rees, 31, who runs a carpet business in West Sussex, said he has turned his whole day upside down to watch every ball.

“I’ve basically gone nocturnal,” he said. “I’ve been coming home from work, going straight to bed at 6pm, and then setting the alarm for midnight and watching it through until the morning before going to work. I’ve even been eating lunch when they have lunch, and tea when they have tea.

“For the first Test I wore my cricket whites and put the pads on when England were batting in the first innings.”

Mr Rees admits that he has fallen asleep at his desk a few times, but is in no doubt that it has all been worth it.

“My brother, who’s a teacher, has been doing the same hours and we’re both saying we can’t wait to get back to normality. We’re feeling a bit sluggish now,” he said.Others have come up with novel ways to share the load and ensure that they are up to date with the latest score. David Long, 39, a surveyor,said: “There have been a couple of mornings where we needed early wickets, so I said OK I’ll see if we get a breakthrough and then the wickets kept tumbling and it’s two in the morning.”

His eldest son, who is 9, is also “cricket mad” so despite the late nights he has been unable to avoid lots of early mornings."

And to end this post I leave you with a photo of Matt in 2004, in cricket whites. he fancied himself as a budding batsman! I've lost count of how many times we've both said, Timelord and myself, " Matt would have absolutely loved this! "

And how he would have celebrated!!!

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