I'm bowled over by my boy's big match

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The Independent Online

A big day in my life is nigh. I'm taking my nine-year-old son to his first proper cricket match. We are going to see England vs Australia, but I'll be lucky if it's as good as the first one my dad took me to.

It was the legendary Headingley test where England were forced to follow on and then, thanks mainly to Ian Botham and Bob Willis, went on to grab an extraordinary win over the Aussies.

That, of course was a five-day match, and we very nearly left after the third day as all seemed lost. I'm well aware that it's one of those matches where, if everybody who said they were there was actually there, then they would have filled 10 Headingleys, but I was there, I swear it on Geoffrey Boycott's life.

There was a documentary on telly the other day called Botham's Ashes which I watched only to spot a 13-year-old me in the crowd. It wasn't that hard as I was sporting a rather offensive camouflage jacket that I loved and my dad hated.

My boy and I are going to a one-day game as he has quite a short attention span. I feel confident that the sun will shine on us, and everything points to it being a great day.

I remember taking my wife to a game at the Oval where we were squeezed in between a group of very rotund West Indies fans. I was enjoying the match until I turned to find her fast asleep on a very kindly man who was loathe to move her off his shoulder. About five minutes later and a Mexican wave gave him the opportunity he needed to both wake her up and send her flying simultaneously. Stacey has never been to another cricket match.

Try as I might, I have never managed to get her to love the game as I do. This is probably because, as a Canadian, she is preprogrammed to find the game both confusing and dull.

Every year I have to suffer the tedious joshing of my in-laws about how I can enjoy a game that can go on for five days and end in a draw. I riposte with as much scorn as I can for a country where lacrosse is played by men and the national sport, ice hockey, is basically a legalised form of pub brawling on skates.

So I shall go alone with my boy, a father-son bonding day, where we will kick back our heels, talk nonsense and watch the game.

I actually think that, what with the current state of Australian cricket, he will be more excited by the crowd than the game. He has never been anywhere with a crowd of that size, save for a curious excursion involving fake dinosaurs wandering around Wembley Arena while a reject from drama school pretended to be an intrepid explorer in a time machine.

On that occasion, I fell asleep, only to be woken up and ordered to bankrupt myself at the gift shop selling overpriced dinosaur-related tat. I fear that this day might be equally ruinous, with stalls selling hot dogs, cricket gear, shirts … Thank God he is not old enough to drink yet, or I'd have to sell one of my kidneys to pay for the outing.