I have always had a fondness for cricket. As someone once said, the English created the Industrial Revolution, which enabled things to be made more quickly, more cheaply and more efficiently than ever before. At the same time, they invented cricket, a way of spending five days doing absolutely nothing. The county I remain loyal to is Sussex, where my mother was brought up, and they remained true to my tradition of following lovable losers, teams that never quite make it. Until recently, that is, when they won their first Championship after 154 years of striving and not succeeding. Even the team of C B Fry and Ranjitsinghi never got closer than being runners-up three seasons in a row.
Once upon a time, I went as far as becoming a member of the County Cricket Club, and would occasionally potter down to Hove or Horsham, or perhaps Eastbourne, to watch my beloved Martlets not win, a pint of beer in my hand. Alas, those days are long gone, and now that I live in Suffolk, getting to Hove seems like an unlikely fantasy.
So, what is a man to do? Perhaps I could follow my new home county? Whilst Sussex were one of the first counties to play inter-county matches, Suffolk is a relative newcomer, playing a few seasons of Minor Counties cricket before World War I, before deciding that it was all too much like hard work until 1934. Alright, they've won the Minor Counties Championship a few times (1946, 1977, 1979 and 2005), but it isn't quite the same as games against Surrey or Yorkshire.
On the plus side, the annual membership fee is just £15, the games are in convenient places (Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds), and there aren't many of them anyway. Suffolk play three home Championship fixtures (Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire) and three away fixtures (Hertfordshire at Hertford, Staffordshire at Knypersley and Cambridgeshire at Wisbech). So I might just send them a cheque...