Saturday, February 21, 2009

Festival Of Cricket

English Harbour, Antigua
17 00.2N 61 45.7W

The main reason for coming back to Antigua so soon was the 2nd Test Match, the cancellation of it and a few events to coincide with it meant for a marathon of cricket over about 10 days that tested even my infinite love of the game!

First leg of the marathon was for me to play in a tennis ball cricket competition for a local side, Curtly Ambrose & Richie Richardson umpired and I got to meet the enormous man himself, and no I am not standing in a hole!

Roger Wilson flew in to join me for the 5 days of the test, and we set off with high hopes on Friday 13th for day 1. We sat in the allocated seats that were to be our home for the next 5 days and got the first round in ready for the 10am start. Lets face it we should have guessed given the date, but as you all now know the pitch was a sand pit and after 10 balls the match was abandoned.

Luckily for us we had shared a taxi to the ground with some people who had tickest to the "party stand" (free beer and food) so we blagged our way past the overweight security guard, promising to be back soon, and settled in for a mammoth free drinking festival.

To while away the time between beers, we chatted with Freddy Flintoff, Curtly came by again, we walked onto the field with 500 other disgruntled fans and surveyed the damage before being removed by security guards, and then had a beer to cool down.
The party stand even has a pool so Rog could freshen up after his flight!
Day 2 dawned with uncertainty and hang overs, would the game go on, in fact could we go on. Luckily the RFU had laid on some 6 Nations for us to watch, and the internet told us we would have a match on Sunday. It even rained all day so we didn't feel like we missed any cricket!
So Day 3 off we head to the Antigua Recreation Ground for the now renamed 3rd Test. It is a much better venue, loads of atmosphere, right in the centre of town, the scene of many a record breaking match/innings and to my knowledge the only test ground in the world where you can have BBQ lobster for lunch under the main stand!

Sadly Rog had to fly home at lunch on day 3 of the new test, but I got to stay on for the full 5 days, soaking up the atmosphere and fulfilling a life long dream of watching a test in the West Indies.

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