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The Demise of CRICKET TEAS.
What has happened to our much loved Cricket Teas? The quintessential days of salad followed by tea and scones have long gone but, why? What was the cause of this tragic failure to keep up the standards of our match teas? Is it societies fault or just our modern way of life, that has seen standards drop?
Producing a decent meal at home can take a degree of effort, if real ingredients are to be used. Alternatively, you could produce a quick meal by chucking some pre-made, processed food carton into the oven or microwave and get similar results. Which tastes best though? It is a no brainer....the home cooked meal, should be more satisfying and better for you. What has this got to do with cricket teas, i hear you ask........well cricket match teas are already thought of as a hassle to prepare so, many players go for the easy option.
In days gone by, Mums, Wives, Grannies and Girlfriends would be part of the social scene, at almost all Cricket Clubs. They were there to support the team and enjoy a quality, social experience, with the larger cricketing family. Kids would play for hours, with Cricket Bats and Cricket Balls on large green parks adjoining the Cricketing arena. Now though the need to fulfil each other's individual needs, rather than the families, takes precedence. This isn't wrong, as it is incorrect and sexist to assume the Women are the only ones than can produce a decent match tea. The breakdown of the large family social gatherings have also had a big impact. Less time spent with the older generations, within the family, have seen traditions and old fashioned cricketing scenes a thing of the past.
Many a game, was over subscribed, as players remembered where the best spread was, who produced the best cakes and who enjoyed the company of the opposing team, both at tea and in the bar after the game. We often sat down for a salad, with warm new potatoes followed by scones with jam and cream. There seemed to be competition within the clubs to not only supply the best tea within the league but, also to produce the best tea within their own club.
Now you are lucky if you can get a volunteer to even make a few sandwiches. Why? I understand that many clubs have found it increasingly difficult to encourage volunteers to fulfill the roles needed to ensure any club runs smoothly. Some have found it so difficult to find volunteers that they have ended up paying people to do jobs, jobs that many had done for free, previously. Once a club starts paying anyone, volunteers will step back. Why should they do something for nothing? Suddenly all goodwill and camaraderie within the Cricket Club has broken down, now you will struggle to get anybody to do the simplest of tasks for free.
This year we have seen outside caterers producing match teas, clubs asking players to produce 'tea for two' and mums of junior players being begged and offered money to rustle something up at the last minute. This cannot be the way to build a clubs reputation and offer members an enjoyable social club. Clubs build up their membership by not only having great teams but, by also having a club that enjoys itself and enjoys the company of other clubs too. 'Tea for two' breaks down when one or two players decide they will not supply any tea, these players are invariably first in the queue, when getting the match tea though.
There doesn't seem to be an obvious solution to this growing problem. How it can be rectified will be down to clubs to find a way of instilling some pride back into the club and into the provision of match teas. Money is short with costs rising on essentials like Cricket Balls, League fees and umpires but lets try to find a few quid to raise the standards of our beloved match tea.This is an important part of Cricket life and should not be allowed to fall into further decline.
BRING THE PRIDE BACK INTO OUR CRICKET MATCH TEAS.