With the ICC Cricket World Cup in full swing and England through to the semi-finals, we revisit why cricket would be nowhere without trees together with some soothing cricket inspired poetry.
As befits a sport of gentle rhythms and golden summer afternoons, cricket can boast more than its fair share of distinguished poet fans. Betjeman was inspired by the sound of leather on willow, as was AA Milne. “Revered, beloved, O you whose job is but to serve throughout the season, To make, if so be it, a blob,” wrote AA Milne in a defiant ode to his trusty cricket bat, while A E Housman once reflected gloomily on the dawn of a new season: “Now in Maytime to the wicket, Out I march with bat and pad, See the son of grief at cricket, Trying to be glad.”
Other poets including Wordsworth, Tennyson, Chesterton and Hughes have all gone out to bat for cricket, but cricket would be nowhere without trees.
The stumps are three vertical posts which support two bails. The stumps and bails are usually made of ash, and together form a wicket at each end of the pitch.
British Standard 5993 specifies the construction details, dimensions, quality and performance of cricket balls. A cricket ball is made with a core of cork (from the cork oak), which is layered with tightly wound string, and covered by a leather case with a slightly raised sewn seam.
The bat is traditionally made from willow, specifically from a variety of White Willow called the Cricket Bat Willow (Salix alba var. caerulea).
Cricket pads are traditionally made up of a number of vertically separated sections. These vertical sections allow the pad to wrap around the lower leg, making the cricket batting pads easier to run with and avoid interference with the bat or gloves. Each section would comprise a cane shaft for stiffness with any number of padding materials to act as shock absorbers.
OK, so cane is type of grass but the stumps, bails, bat and ball are all tree dependent. No trees, no cricket.