This summer I have had the chance to partake in what is probably my third favourite activity. After sleeping and sneezing when you’ve really needed to for ages, watching cricket is my unrivalled passion. By the by, I’m female. This (relatively) small detail may not seem of much consequence, but when it comes to cricket, it’s bros before women-pretending-they-know-what’s-going-on all the way. During the vac I was watching my beloved Lancashire County Cricket Club add some vital detailing to their eventual county championship victory, when I saw it. Sat two rows in front of me was my fate; the proverbial cricket wag (wife and grandma). Indeed, I’m not talking about your classic pink and glittery leather mini skirt wearing lap dog, I’m talking about swapping high heels for orthopaedic sandals and orange fake tan for actual slices of orange at the tea break. And I blame old men in tweed entirely for the birth of this monster.
I’ve been watching cricket since I was ten years old, and I’ve been a county club member for just as long, yet when taking my place at the top of the members pavilion at the start of a day’s play, the oldies still look at me like I’m completely lost having taken a wrong turn on the way to a ‘discotheque’. I once even tried offering round Werther’s Originals in the hope that it would stop the immediate grumbling about the rioting, looting youth of today when I sat down, but they were having none of it.
To make matters worse, it’s irrelevant whether you’re a member or not when walking into the members bar at a cricket club. It didn’t matter that it was a scorching hot day in the middle of summer, a man practically choked on his Cuban when I turned up to lunch wearing shorts and flip flops. I’m sorry, I know there are a lot of rules in cricket but I don’t remember reading anything about mandatory bowties and strongly encouraged pinstripes.
To be honest, I don’t appreciate them turning the hallowed grounds of my favourite sport into your conservatives club, but cricket wag status is a vicious circle – once you start knitting then the elbow patch culture will never be overthrown. I know as well as the next person that sitting in the same place outside for eight hours gets a bit chilly, but I’m telling you now, I will never knit my husband the scarf that he wears to the cricket, so that the girl in the row behind in the flip flops won’t feel like she’s at the bingo.