For most of the summer of 2020, for the first time in three hundred years, the playing fields of England did not resound with the thwack of leather on willow or the polite applause of a smattering of spectators. There were none of Kipling’s flannelled fools at the wicket. There was nobody to shout ‘play up, play up and play the game’. There was no ‘ten to make and the match to win’, no blinding light, no hour to play, no last man in.
Two years later, the Government is determined to concrete over the countryside and a property developer has got his hands on the freehold of Howard Michael Cricket Club, a small village affair with a dwindling number of players.
They are offered £1 million, or £40,000 each, to sell the last ten years of their lease on the land to Stafford Homes but the members are evenly divided over whether to stay or go.
Acton Trussell, a former MP, is President of the club and when it comes to a final decision, he has the casting vote. He decides the only way out of the dilemma is for the two factions to take each other on in a Twenty20 cricket game – the £1 million village cricket match.
With a few twists and turns on and off the field, the game takes place and the question is resolved.
How different would an English summer be without slip fielders?’24 for 3′ by Jennie Walker