The Joy of the John Player Sunday League

26 Jan

Think back to a time when Cigarettes had a mandatory right to sponsor sporting events. When cricketers still wore real shirts , white shirts and used red balls. When cricketers looked like school teachers and anyone thinking strange thoughts about entertainment was calmly ignored.

For me the Sunday League and its pedestrian coverage were a key part of my cricket education. You got to see county players you never knew about , watch counties you never knew existed. Hants right that’s short for Northants that’s short for Northampton..oh Hampshire ..is that near ? Middlesex it doesn’t exist anymore..like a mythical creature. Once when I was ill I swear I saw Wessex play Suffolk Punch.

BBC 2 didn’t really take the coverage that seriously. You got an intro section that caught up with the first wicket fall , over and over analysed. Some live coverage and catch ups on and off while coverage was stopped fro a three day event or some Motocross.

 

Back  in the early 80s there was no test play on a Sunday so this was the main chance. The play was very pedestrian almost like a local league. Little if any innovation or risk. Slow starts a slog maybe a collapse all over in time for a pint before tea. It was blissful though, reassuring. The commentary was friendly and most matches given the structure of the league and the shortened format had no bearing on anything either for teams or individuals.  And that somehow seemed to be the point.

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