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The Independent Culture
It's hard to spot the change of seasons in this country. The predictable unpredictability of the British weather ensures that rain is often present regardless of the time of year. For those of you who are not entirely sure when winter ends and spring begins, there is always an infallible signal for the beginning of warmer weather...the start of the cricket season.

The English have always had a tradition of inventing great sports, (like football and tennis), exporting them to the far corners of the world only to be "beaten at their own game" a few decades later. Cricket is no exception to this rule, but its attraction goes far beyond the fickle fortunes of the national team.

The enduring appeal of the sport lies in its traditions. It represents all things British, from the immaculate whites and "fair play" to the hamper-laden spectators who flock to grounds around the country in ever- increasing numbers. If you're looking for somewhere to experience this cultural extravaganza then look no further than St John's Wood and Lords.

In addition to being the "home of cricket", Lords is also the home of Middlesex CC which finished fourth in the County Championship last year. Middlesex captain, Mike Gatting, had an exceptional county season last year. Full of experience, he will be attempting to direct the talents of younger players like Phil Tufnell, Mark Ramprakash (below) and new international signing Dion Nash to championship victory.

This Sunday, Middlesex take on Hampshire and will have to subdue Robin Smith's attempts to reclaim his Test place to realise victory. With tickets costing between £3-£6 it's an affordable day out for the family.

Just remember to pack a few waterproofs along with the hamper.