Wednesday, 5 June 2013

TV Sports News... Or... Filming A Gentleman's Googlies...

First of all, let me reassure you that filming a Gentleman's googlies is not sexy slang. Nor is filming him in the act of rubbing his ball until it shines and gives 'good swing.' You see, the rain has stopped just long enough for the British two week Summer, and it is time for some action...

Far in the distance, a player runs... And the crowd go wild.

With apologies to my American readers, I am talking about the great British sport of cricket, and will attempt to describe the sheer excitement of my filming day. Yesterday, I found myself tasked with the duty of filming a county cricket match for the delight of our TV news viewers who are partial to a sport that lasts four days, (I repeat... Four days) has night watchmen and lunch and tea breaks.

You see, filming cricket is a leisurely affair, where you can read a book whilst the 'sporting action' is being played out on the field. You can even go to sleep for an hour, wake up, and absolutely nothing has happened.

This is why I like filming cricket. Occasionally, a loud cry of 'Howzaaaat..?' goes up, maybe even a 'Howizeee..?' for a change. The crowd stir slightly in a fevered excitement, the umpire shakes his head and we all fall asleep again. Someone may emit a rueful sigh or a tut, but this is frowned upon in gentlemanly cricket circles.

A ripple of applause may sometimes circulate the small crowd of fans, meaning someone tried very hard to score but didn't, or the bowler may have finished his over without dismissing the batsman. It is possible that a particularly fine spinner delivered a full toss on the off stump which bypassed the silly mid off, resulting in an 'extra.' (Stay with me America...) These things though are rare, confirmed by a retired army Colonel with binoculars in front of me muttering 'Oh, i say... what a corker...' before promptly dozing off again.

As the sun beats down, I adjusted my wide brimmed hat, applied more sun lotion and ordered another cup of tea. Out of all the men on the field of play only one man, the bowler, is running. I film him. This lasts approximately 5 seconds before the burst of sporting energy dissipates and the ball misses the target. Nothing happens for a further thirty to forty seconds before he will do it again. Time for a sandwich.

Eventually, the gods of cricket decide that we have had enough Summer sport, and send dark clouds over the pitch around 3pm, rendering the rest of today's game too dark to play. The umpire decides to call it off until 10am the next day due to 'bad light.' What a waste, they had only been playing for five hours today, and it's over already... How time flies.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.