Thursday, 7 April 2011

The hard life of a long distance Gloucestershire cricket fan

As another summer threatens to get under way and with England’s shambolic performance in the World Cup burying long ago the memories of the wonderful Ashes victory another season of county cricket stumbles upon us. Much like lunchtime football kick-offs, even the most die hard of county cricket fans surely struggle to pluck up much excitement at a start date of early April. But here we are again for another season of ups and downs and questions as to quite what is the point of the Clydesdale Axa equity Pro 50-40 divisional conference league is.

But isn’t this the fun of being a county cricket fan, particularly if you now live outside the county you support. You find yourself scrambling in the dark for information, reading match reports of no more than 200 words and frantically analysing cricinfo for any sign of a players form turning around. But things are better than they use to be. Us Gloucestershire fans have become familiar to the ever enthusiastic tones of Glos Cricket Radio and last season were even treated to a webcam from the commentary box. I spent an entire day of my life trying to tear myself away of a side on view of the square at Derby wondering quite what had become of my life. The ECB themselves have tried to help the fans out with a ‘highlights’ package put on their website at the end of each days play. The camera is a fixed one and is focused exclusively at the batsman at the crease. It doesn’t follow the ball. You end up feeling like someone secretly looking in via a peep hole (although it could be argued that this is the preferred way to watch the horror show of some of the performances last season!)

As a long distance fan I find myself relying on the excellent Gloucestershire la la la blog and the BBC cricket forum, a disgruntled bunch of misfits who clearly enjoy using the opportunity for personal humour amongst the different groups of friends who take the time to have a moan. Being a county cricket fan is a bits and pieces experience, especially when, like myself, you find yourself living further and further away from being able to see many of the games. When you compare this to the riches that football fans get indulged with in the modern age following a county cricket team for a season is to place yourself 20 years back in time. Before the internet. Before Sky. You scratch together what information you can and form your opinion from here. The only difference is that these opinions can find themselves on places such as this! And this is where we start. This blog is not intended as a particularly detailed assessment of Gloucestershire’s season as it unfolds. It is merely an attempt to detail the experiences of a long distance fan of county cricket and the trials and tribulations that this entails. It's going to be a long season.

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