Picnic or takeaway?

Mennie impersonating the Isle of Man symbol

One of the many dilemmas in life and especially at cricket matches is what to eat and drink. Either a day at the game or several days has you facing the question of what to eat and whether to take it with you or buy it at the ground.

For many a long day I have been amazed at the vast spread of delights that picnickers bring to the ground and even more amazed at how such copious volumes of food and drink are transported in what seems to be ever smaller containers, bags and so forth. Perhaps someone has developed a Tardis picnic bag.

This all stems from people watching which is another free aspect of the game and especially so when relatively little is happening as seen today at the Oval where Lancashire add just over 100 runs off 34 overs before lunch for the loss of just two wickets.

Shiv…it’s a square on game?
Burns contemplated what to do next

Surrey are hampered by an injury last evening to Dernbach which means they are a bowler down possibly for the match and I’ve just realised the awful pun I’ve made at the start of this sentence! Batting seems to be easier today with less cloud cover and humidity, a drier pitch (the darker green is disappearing) and the prospect of an ever drier surface in the fourth innings but we shall see.

So having witnessed, a picnic for one person of crisps, bottle of red, two bottles of water, two packets of sandwiches and six cakes all devoured at one sitting and possibly seconds left for the ‘tea’ interval, I wondered what else was being consumed especially considering that lunch was mid afternoon and tea would be sometime in early evening.

The takeaway dining option has a more limited choice than at larger attended events and comes with the prospect of taking almost all of your money away or requiring a second mortgage if one were feeding even a small family! Portions are ample which could also be said of many of the girths devouring such offerings and I suppose represent value for money in terms of the ratio of spend to volume.

So you take your choice – shell out or diy?

Just after ‘lunch’ Lancashire succumb with a lead of just 36. As often, the third innings of the game is going to be the key innings as batting on this pitch is certainly no picnic (highest score 61) but it could be more difficult to take out the opposition- there’s all to play for!

By ‘tea’ Surrey have progressed to 76/2 a lead of 40…one wicket being the second needless run out of the day. There’s a lot of the basics still to be learnt it seems across large areas of the game. This one will be a close one I think so every run and every wicket is vital.

At ‘tea’ very little seems to be being consumed and I fear significant numbers of spectators are heading home – seems that the last bus in some of the Surrey villages and hamlets stop running by 8pm so the non-London residents need to wend their way.

My fears re the crowd were assuaged; whilst some had started to head home, it was noticeable that several new spectators had come along straight from work – had not seen that before at these pink matches; their choice of food tended to the take away end washed down with samples purchased from the beer festival on site! I suppose overall the crowd was down by c 20% – not like other matches.

Finch – awarded his cap at the start of play- took great pleasure in hitting Parkinson (Mat) our of the attack with two sixes – one reached the uninhabited first floor of the OCS stand but the pitch is close to the Harleyford Road side for those that know the Oval. However on the stroke of 7pm he fell to Onions for 32 and Surrey 114/3. Food named players featured in another blog earlier this season!

The day ends in darkness with Surrey 197/4 – a lead of 154. They need to bat for another two sessions at least to give them a chance of forcing a win…but we shall see.

One thing for sure…need to decide – picnic or takeaway? Depends how I wake up tomorrow!