Abandoned Test leaves fans fuming

The Gleaner

January 30, 1998

CRICKET: English cricket fans yesterday survived the train wreck formerly known as the first Test between England and the West Indies at Sabina Park, but at great cost.

When the Test was abandoned at midday, a bitter taste was left in the mouths of people that had travelled halfway around the world to see their team in action and to soak up the delights of Jamaica.

Disappointment would be an understatement as the fans tried to make the best of a bad situation on the Red Stripe Mound.

``I'm devastated,'' Peter Hill, a 62 year-old flooring contractor from Birmingham, said.

``It's the first time I have been to the West Indies and I won't be coming back,'' he said.

``We spent four days on the north coast in Port Antonio expecting to fish for blue marlin and we couldn't hire a boat. We thought the salvation of the trip would be the Test but now we are absolutely devastated.''

Hill's travelling companion Ian Hartley, a 58-year-old consultant also from Birmingham, said he felt sorry for all the spectators.

``They should be entertaining the spectators,'' Hartley said. ``Even if it was only a 15 over per side spinners only competition they should be entertaining the spectators today and they have failed miserably. There are no excuses.''

Hill added: ``We will write to the Jamaica Tourist Board about this when we get back to England.''

Andy Smith, a 34 year old policeman from Kenilworth, and Jeff Stamers, a 31 year old computer specialist, expect to be the ridiculed when they return home later this week.

``When we get back everybody will be laughing at us,'' Stamers said. ``We sat down and went through the five Tests and chose this one as the best to attend.

``Now we are absolutely gutted, it is really upsetting and has wasted our holidays.''

Smith laid some of the blame at the hands of England skipper Mike Atherton.

``When he won the toss, he should have chosen to bowl so that they could have gotten a look at the pitch,'' Smith said. ``But this is devastating, it's our year's holiday.''

About the only fans not too upset with the cancellation were a band of Scots wearing T-shirts proclaiming them as the ``Jamaican Lubrication Delegation from the Scottish Nation.''

Wearing red wigs and tams, the group didn't seem overly concerned by the on-pitch non-action.

``It's a bit of history, I suppose,'' Eric Sanderson, from near Glasgow, said.

When asked what he and his clan were going to do for the rest of their stay in Jamaica, Sanderson said: ``We'll keep drinking.''

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:59