Knocked for six
A review of the Durham Jets NatWest T20 Blast v. Derbyshire
I am not a cricket expert. I remember playing it in primary school, but since then, bar the odd glimpse on the sport roundup at the end of the news, cricket hasn’t played much of a part in my life so far. So when I was invited by Durham County Cricket Club to take the family along to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground for a Mumsnet Durham review I wasn’t sure if it would be for us. But obviously I said yes anyway. What mum of two, working at home all week and some of the weekend too, wouldn’t jump at the chance of a Sunday afternoon out?
So we didn’t have much idea what to expect when we (i.e. me, husband, 3.5 year old small boy and 11month old smaller boy) made our way to Chester-le-Street to watch the Durham Jets, Durham’s newly rebranded T20 (20 20) team, take on Derbyshire. As well as the cricket itself, the day was also billed as a family fun day, with additional free rides, bouncy castles, crafts and other activities for children. We started the afternoon off with a spot of origami, after being handed fold-your-own Durham Jets batting helmets for the children. Not normally a fan of dressing up, small boy wore his proudly while smaller boy concentrated on trying to eat his.
Although it was clear who were the regular cricket fans, who came slightly better prepared for the inevitable showers and had picnics packed to see them through the whole afternoon, there were other families like us who seemed to have come along for a fun day out with a bit of cricket thrown in. As this was my first real sporting event since becoming a parent, and because this is Mumsnet, my focus was firmly on what the day was like for families with younger children.
My main experience of live sport has been at football matches, before children, and while I would definitely not want to take the boys to the football until they are much older, I would definitely recommend a day out at DCCC as a way to experience the excitement of live, top-class sport. I had always thought of cricket matches as having a bit of a boozy reputation, and while there were many people enjoying the bars and groups in fancy dress for a party afternoon, this was quite low key and the whole day had much more of a family atmosphere.
Overall the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, with a good mix of ages from babies to grandparents. Access with prams and buggies was easy, and people were helpful and respectful. With an older toddler, I didn’t feel the need to keep hold of him at all times, which made for a much more relaxed experience. There were also no specifically allocated seats which made it easier to dip in and out in line with our children’s concentration spans.
T20, or 20 20, cricket is fast and furious, and I think is an ideal introduction for children. I think mine would have struggled with a full match but the format keeps their attention. I found myself, with my minimal knowledge, easily able to follow the game and explain everything to my three year old. His attention was gripped and was concentrating hard so that he didn’t miss any of the ‘fire’ from the ‘blast zone’ which accompanied a wicket or a six.
The club makes a real effort to add to the level of excitement. Snatches of appropriate music, such as Bye Bye Baby and Another One Bites the Dust when Durham took Derbyshire wickets, make it very interactive and easy to follow. The big screen is used to good effect and the mascot, Chester the lion, is a hit with the younger spectators.
From a sport point of view, the match was fantastic, with Durham Jets dominant throughout. I won’t attempt a match report, as I would no doubt be tripped up by my lack of knowledge. Unfortunately the smaller boy is still very small and we weren’t able to stay right until the end. But the unanimous verdict was that we will definitely be back. And to say that this knocked me for six would be an understatement.
There are three Durham Jets fixtures left this summer:
Friday 4th July, 5.30pm: Durham Jets v Nottinghamshire Outlaws
Friday 11th July, 5.30pm: Durham Jets v Yorkshire Vikings
Friday 25th July, 5.30pm: Durham Jets v Northamptonshire Steelbacks
Visit http://www.durhamccc.co.uk/pages/natwest-t20-blast/ for more information.
Disclaimer: The tickets were provided free of charge by Durham County Cricket Club. However all views are my own. Mumsnet Durham would also like to thank DCCC for supplying three pairs of family tickets for our member competition.