Some say it began in France. Some argue for Kent. Sussex protests. But those who love the game know that cricket began in a field – the field in which each person first played.
For these youngsters, jumping like foals as the runs are scored and the catches made, cricket began in this field yesterday in the Yorkshire Dales.
The scenery of the Dales is a calming balance of green sward, craggy outcrop and sparkling river. You have to love cricket to contrive a space large and level enough on which to play. This field glimpsed between cottages and reached from the main street over a bridge and through a welcoming open gate is a sheltered private place, a self containing world in which a great quest starts.
How enormous this postage stamp of a field must feel to those twenty two young people. Tip and run. Tip and run. How far the distant crease and safety. Further still the boundary wall. How close cruel disappointment. How illusive fulfillment.
Back up the steep hill on the 1st XI pitch scourged from the fellside, another mighty tussle has taken place, as Gigg’s 216 was chased down by Stony with but a ball to spare. And another twenty two were brought together by disappointment and fulfilment.
One game, one life, one world at close of play.