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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tea and a Sticky Wicket

You are reading this post, thinking that I am going to share the recipe for what must surely be a wonderful teatime treat, a Sticky Wicket, aren't you? Sorry to disappoint, but a Sticky Wicket isn't edible!

Wiki says the phrase comes from the game of cricket, where it describes a cricket pitch ("field") that is in the process of drying after being affected by overnight rain during a multiple day game. A hard crust forms over soft, wet soil which helps the ball to bite, turn and lift variably. Batting is awkward on a sticky wicket. In recent decades it has become common practice to cover the cricket pitch ("field") overnight and thus the phrase is seldom used in its original meaning.

I can explain a sticky wicket, but I cannot even begin to explain the game of cricket. I'm just not going to go there because, well, despite several genuine learning attempts - I just don't get it! There is, however, one thing about cricket that I adore, and that is: Tea. Did you know that in the game of cricket, tea is served? How awesome is that? Because of the length of the game (usually played over a number of hours or days) there are actually several breaks that occur. These are:

The period between close of play on one day and the start of the next day's play
Breaks between innings
Breaks for meals - lunch and tea
Breaks for drinks (non-alcoholic, of course)

Vintage Cricket Tea Time

I'm afraid I have not yet been able to find out where and when the ritual began, but I suppose (as cricket is an English invention c.1500) the answer is as simple as "Why not?!" It should be noted here that Law 15.8 covers the rules of the "Tea interval" - which has nothing to do with pinkies out!!!

Photo courtesy of Jane Beecham
The photograph of Tea above was taken at a cricket match in Peasmarsh, East Sussex. Rob has a field and a very old tractor that pulls a roller – he turns his field into a cricket pitch every July and holds an annual cricket match. Margy, Rob’s wife, makes the tea which - according to my new blogger friend Jane, in East Sussex - is always spectacular with homemade cakes and sandwiches and a huge urn of tea.

So the next time you are listening to the cricket scores, and you hear, "As a result of a sticky wicket, they were two-down at tea", you will know what it means!
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