The Peaks River Diaries – Cricket Weather
In his latest diary entry David is contemplating one of his other passions – cricket - and finding it not too dissimilar to fly fishing...
I am sat writing this whilst listening to Test Match Special, I can hear the mill race on the river roaring down in the woods below but it’s too hot to fish. A cold beer and cricket feels a lot more productive. I am a big cricket fan (village or test) and listening to the commentary, fly fishing seems quite similar.
Before a test match there is much discussion about the wicket. How green is it? What’s the moisture content of the soil? What about cracks, foot holes and green grass? On the river we discuss weed levels, river levels, water colour, eddies, gravels and bubble streams. After the analysis comes the toss, taking in to account all the conditions, should we bat or bowl? On the river bank do we fish dry or wet?
The river keeper understands every inch of his river. Every trout redd, back eddy, bubble stream and groyne. He will watch the fish spawn and with a careful eye observe the fry leave the egg sacs to make their own way in the river. Knowing that only five percent of these fish will make it past their first birthday he will do his utmost through habitat improvement and river management to give each fish the best chance he can.
On the cricket field the groundsman is equally obsessive over his domain. He will constantly monitor the state of the outfield, square and wicket. He will prepare his wicket for weeks, rolling and mowing. The square will be covered when it’s wet and sprinkled when it’s dry. There will be no weeds in sight and the grass will be the envy of suburban lawn keepers throughout the land. The groundsman and the keeper are both building an arena, a place where, hopefully, dreams will be fulfilled and memories forged.
Both sports are weather critical and overcast conditions can be favorable. In cricket cloud cover helps the ball swing whilst on the bank overcast skies can encourage fish to rise. They are also civilized pursuits in which a break for tea and sandwiches is acceptable, a few beers afterwards is not uncommon either!
Both sports rely upon exquisite hand/eye co-ordination and a top level bowler and fly caster can deliver their payload onto a sixpence. They are also aesthetically pleasing to watch and a good batsman and fly caster make their strokes look effortless. Extreme patience is also required for both disciplines and a wayward shot or cast can result in disaster.
Both sports can also conjure up biscuit tin images of a quintessential scene. A village ground on a summer’s afternoon with the green outfield buzzed by swallows is surely as evocative as the evening rise is a weedy glide on the river.
About the author
Dave Johnson lives near Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District where he has been fly fishing since childhood.
He is manager of Peaks Fly Fishing and helps run the Birchinlee Fly Fishing Club. Dave is also brand director for Harkers Fishing and a keen fly fishing writer, contributing to various print and online publications.
Articles by the same author
- The Peaks River Diaries - Catch and No Return...
- The Peaks River Diaries - January Grayling
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - Hot Soup and Grayling
- The Peaks River Diaries - Sitting and Looking
- The Peaks River Diaries – Cricket Weather
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - Early Hatches
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Winter Thoughts
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Winter Food
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Autumn Days
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - 'Sloe Gin and Season Climax'