Time for tea in cricket
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When you look out of a wet window over Christmas, thoughts of a cricketing summer seem like a million years away.
While the whites and pads are safely locked away in the cupboard for a few months, there has been a serious debate raging across the cricket community.
As Conrad Sutcliffe reported on the Devon Cricket website, the issue of whether an official tea break should continue to be part of the cricketing day has sparked an unprecedented response.
It has been part of the cricket tradition for clubs to serve tea but some of the smaller outfits have cited a lack of volunteers and resources, making this simple act increasingly difficult to deliver.
The issue came to national attention when the Sussex Cricket League, believed to be world’s biggest recreational league, voted to give teams the option of scrapping the tea break.
It is not just a cup of tea, the traditional break in play often includes a selection of cakes, sandwiches and tasty snacks.
Like many things in 2020, the proposed abandonment of tea stemmed from the Covid crisis, as clubs were unable to serve up the customary break between innings because of restrictions.
The image of a village cricket team providing tea halfway through a match is so beautifully English but some clubs believe the tradition has become more of a burden than a pleasure.
Volunteers are needed, people have different dietary requirements and it costs money.
While these factors do have to be considered, the other side of the debate argues that serving a tea break is part of what makes cricket so special.
In local football or rugby, for example, the social side of the sport comes after the game, when teams will often go back to their nominated pub for a pint and a bowl of chips.
For cricketers, the social side happens halfway through the game, as players from both sides tuck into some refreshment.
It is a magical way to discuss what has already happened in the match, and what might yet take place.
Scrapping the tea break is just not cricket.