The first thing you do when you go to watch a game in Colchester is realise that it’s not Chelmsford. Actually, it’s quite important that, when you set out on your car, you don’t just assume that they’re playing in Essex’s quite good county ground, but in a middle-of-nowhere backwater that you’ve never been to.
Obviously, the ground wasn’t sign posted. But, fortunately, Banana World was, so we had plenty of cultural alternatives.
So, we drove around Colchester a bit. Decided it wasn’t terrible. Eventually, I too a picture of a plastic map provided by the Council mounted on to the side of the road to help guide our meandering navigation.
The red dot signifies our position. The green at the top shows where we should have been. Interesting that.
So, for the perfectly reasonable price of £15 we entered the ground that offered the same views as we would have had had we stayed from the safety of our car.
At least in the car, I wouldn’t have got slightly sun-burnt when the eight minutes of mild sunshine bore into my pasty skin.
The great thing about small grounds is the opportunity it affords for mid-interval pitch gawping.
I wandered out with the rest of the bearded pot-bellies that populate county grounds and CAMRA festivals alike and pontificated knowledgeable on the pitch.
“Bit dry” someone said. “No bounce” another divined.
We then took up position at the umpire’s post, to stare thoughtlessly into the abyss.
When the action resumed, Essex’s strong position was ebbed away. Which was surprising, given that their attack was led by Grant Flower.
Then Graeme Hick came on. Everyone loves Graeme Hick. He’s old and tries to hit the ball far. He nearly lost his wicket on the long-leg boundary on his first ball.
Look at Graeme Hick. Look at Graeme Hick in all his majesty.