Sport in the United Kingdom — страница 5

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attendance at top class matches does not give a true picture of the level of interest in the country. One game of cricket takes a terribly long time, which a lot of people simply don't have to spare. Eleven players in each team. Test matches between national teams can last up to five days of six hours each. Top club teams play matches lasting between two and four days. There are also one-day matches lasting about seven hours. In fact there are millions of people in the country who don't just enjoy cricket but are passionate about it! These people spend up to thirty days each summer tuned to the live radio commentary of ‘Test’ (= international) Matches. When they get the chance, they watch a bit of the live television coverage. Some people even do both at the same time (they

turn the sound down on the television and listen to the radio). To these people, the commentators become well-loved figures. When, in 1994, one famous commentator died, the Prime Minister lamented that 'summers will never: be the same again'. And if cricket fans are too busy to listen to the radio commentary, they can always phone a special number to be given the latest score! Many other games which are English in origin have been adopted with enthusiasm all over the world, but cricket has been seriously and extensively adopted only in the former British empire, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and South Africa. Do you know how to play cricket? If you don't live in these countries you won't learn it at school. English people love

cricket. Summer isn't summer without it. Even if you do not understand the rules, it is attractive to watch the players, dressed in white playing on the beautiful green crick­et fields. Every Sunday morning from May to the end of September many Englishmen get up very early, and take a lot of sandwiches with them. It is necessary because the games are very long. Games between two village teams last for only one afternoon. Games between counties last for three days, with 6 hours play on each day. When England plays with one or other cricketing countries such as Australia and New Zea­land it is called a test match and lasts for five days. Cricket is played in schools, colleges and universities and in most towns and villages by teams which play weekly games. Test matches with other

cricketing countries are held annually. Cricket is also played by women and girls. The governing body is Women's Cricket Association, founded in 1926. Women's cricket clubs have regular weekend games. Test matches and other international matches take place. The women's World Cup is held every four years. But There is The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Lord's cricket ground in the United Kingdom. The MCC was founded in 1787, and is still the most important authority on cricket in the world. As a club it is exclusively male. No woman is allowed to enter the club buildings. There are special stands for members and their wives and quests. Organised amateur cricket is played between club teams, mainly on Saturday afternoons. Nearly every village, except in the far north, has its

cricket club, and there must be few places in which the popular image of England, as sentimentalists like to think of it, is so clearly seen as on a village cricket field. A first-class match between English counties lasts for up to three days, with six hours play on each day. The game is slow, and a spectator, sitting in the afternoon sun after a lunch of sandwiches and beer, may be excused for having a little sleep for half an hour. When people refer to cricket as the English national game, they are not thinking so much of its level of popularity or of the standard of English players but more of the very English associations that it carries with it. Cricket is much more than just a sport; it symbolizes a way of life - a slow and peaceful rural way of life. Cricket is associated

with long sunny summer afternoons, the smell of new-mown grass and the sound of leather (the ball) connecting with willow (the wood from which cricket bats are made). Cricket is special because it com­bines competition with the British dream of rural life. Cricket is what the village green is for! As if to emphasize the rural connection, ‘first class’ cricket teams in England, unlike teams in other sports, do not bear the names of towns but of counties (Essex and Yorkshire, for example). ANIMALS IN SPORT Traditionally, the favourite sports of the British upper class are hunting, shooting and fishing. The most widespread form of hunting is foxhunting — indeed, that is what the word ‘hunting’ usually means in Britain. Foxhunting works like this. A group of people on