You sensed that it was going to be a bumper crowd. After all, the game was scheduled to start at 8 pm, well after the end of the regular work day. As a matter of fact one lady who obviously does not know much about the game of Cricket said that a friend invited her ‘for the lime,’ so she left straight from work and headed to the Park and got there just after 4 pm only to be told that the game was not due to commence until 8 pm.
‘This is nonsense!’ she lamented. ‘When I go home, I may just go straight into me bed!’
The Nevisians came over in droves. One ardent fan said he caught the 1pm boat in order to avoid the rush. There were a 4pm; a 5.30 pm and a 6pm and the Sea Bridge also did its regular schedule.
The Kittitians also showed up in their numbers too, so by the time Daren Sammy and the Bangladeshi captain tossed, the stands were already swelling to capacity.
A group of lively spectators set up camp just next to me, led by a vivacious cheer leader who seemed intent on getting the TV cameras pointed his way…and he did. What he was saying? I don’t have a clue. I can only imagine that he was speaking Bangladeshi.
An elderly man sat down next to me. I figured that he would be eighty, heading hard for ninety but he was there to watch the game. To my great surprise, he pulled out an iPod and seemed to be searching for a button to turn it on. Someone close by, remarked that he must have found it somewhere on his way to the grounds! After what seemed like an eternity, he got it on. He then proceeded to point it to the cricketers who were warming up and I thought that he was taking some still pictures.
Then another guy behind him leaned over and said: “Mister, they say you can’t take video.’
‘Oh, that’s video?’ he asked, sounding alarmed. He promptly shut the thing off and then pulled a worn looking bag from under his seat, took out a container and proceeded to eat what looked like his supper. Somebody remarked: “Next thing he might pull out is his bed!’ He seemed contended however.
Then the action got started on the field of play. Most of us were disappointed that Bangladesh having won the toss, opted to bat first. There was the gut feeling that the match would be over too soon.
However, someone was quick to remind all within his hearing that India had just the same day, dished out a severe one day whopping to England, so that this could be the night for the visitors.
They started off like they meant it. A couple of boundaries and a top edged hook off Bravo for six, created much excitement in the crowd. Seemed like we were in for an exciting night.
Then it started to drizzle. One weather expert said with conviction that it was going to blow away. Even though I was in stand C, I was right at the front so there was no cover. I realized that even those persons, who originally started to move, returned to their seats. I did not budge and true to form, the drizzle stopped.
A few balls later, I realized that the cricketers on the field were making a beeline to the hut, I looked and saw people scattering and realized only too late that a heavy downpour was coming our way.
The match had been halted after just four exciting overs with Bangladesh on 31 without loss.
I joined the mad scramble for cover higher up in the stand. I got pushed and shoved..and I got wet. Even where I thought there was cover, rain was coming through the spaces in the canvas but I guess it was not as bad as lower down. However, I was really sorry for one little girl as the water that had gathered on the canvas cover, spilled right through and drenched her. Some persons found that funny but I did not.
On the field, I was sorry for the poor grounds men. First of all, they seemed to have reacted slowly. They appeared to have been caught off guard. Then the wind picked up and they just could not get the covers under control. All the while, the pitch was taking a soaking.
When they finally got it down over the pitch, the rain had picked up considerably and those brave men stayed with the program. They deserve medals of honour. They stood there in that rain, some with protective clothing and some without, holding down the covers. Kudos to them!
Eventually, sadly, I saw some of my Nevisian family already making an exit.
“Whey you all going? The match going to continue,’ someone shouted. ‘They have water hog.’
‘The way things look out there, they need a couple of cattle as well,’ was the quick response.
So we made our way to the ferry terminal, hoping for an early trip back to Nevis. The die hards stayed at the park. As we exited the gate, more drama: The lights went out. Yes siree Bob! The powerful Warner Park lights went out! I was later told that they were off for at least fifteen minutes and some persons were getting panicky but were warned via the public address system not to move about unless they were able to see properly. I am told that the lights came back on and probably went off two more times as well.
The old man? Last I saw of him, he had picked up his bag from under the seat and was hobbling towards the exit.
Down at the pier, Ingie for the Caribe Queen started to sell tickets, which was an encouraging sign. I figured that he would take those of us present and return for the others later, if the match continued.
Disappointingly, Ingie burst my bubble. No such luck. The boat was scheduled to leave a half hour after the match and he had just received word that they were taking off the covers and would do an inspection, so he was duty bound to wait because he was not making a second trip. I was disappointed but quite understood his position.
Meanwhile, Lester of the Mark Twain started to take on people and lots of people lamented the fact that they had already bought tickets for the Caribe Queen.
‘I wonder if I could get mine sold” remarked one lady. I even saw the guy at the gate call out to someone who was headed to the Caribe Queen booth and told him: ‘This one leaving now.’ The man bolted towards the gate.
Let me tell you about Ven and ‘Mug.’ Ven and ‘Mug’ said that they got down wet because even though they were in a stand, when the mad rush for cover began; they could not get any proper shelter and had to stand where they were getting wet. Their pants looked as if they had urinated on themselves.
Hear ‘Mug: ‘I was getting so much push and knockbout, I had to shout out: ‘If any are you push me again ah better box one are you!” He said a Kittitian guy said: “That fella sound like a bad man bwoy!’
Somebody sent a message to someone at the pier that the match would be continued. Ven and ‘Mug’ turned off, headed for the Park, insisting that they would get ‘their monies worth.’
Not long after that, the Mark Twain pulled out and the Caribe Queen’s horn sounded.
We all headed for the boat. However, the boat still delayed about another half hour as people kept rushing in intermittently from the Park. We tried to call Ven and ‘Mug’ who had already purchased tickets. They said they were on their way and were probably still on their way when the boat pulled away from the pier….
Five minutes into the journey, someone got a message that the Mark Twain was already docked in Nevis.
While on the boat, Clinton told me that he was under a tent when the rains came and the wind seemed intent on going with the tent. He held on to a rope trying to hold it down and received some assistance from some others but was not very amused when he noticed that the majority of persons sheltering under the tent were just watching them trying to hold down the tent!
Eventually we got to Nevis and discovered that some folks there were just as distraught as we were because electricity had gone in certain areas and so they did not even get to see one ball bowled, on television.
At least I saw a bit of Cricket and I guess it was worth the $20.00—I worked it out at $5.00 for each over bowled.
Would I go back to watch the Windies play again?
Of course yes!