This week saw Rochester adding another new and exciting situation to his ever lengthening list of “training experiences”! Monday 20th August was the final day of the third and final test match between England and South Africa and Rochester travelled to London to see it live.
Lords Cricket ground in London is known as “the home of cricket” and is hallowed turf to players and fans alike. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787 and has been the custodian of the laws and spirit of cricket ever since. Visiting the ground is always an exciting event, Rochester was thrilled to be admitted as only working dogs are allowed entry.
The match itself was set up for a very tense and thrilling finish, England requiring over 300 runs to win, South Africa needing 8 wickets to win. Every run scored and wicket taken was greeted by huge roars from the crowd which kept Rochester on his toes. Or to be more accurate he was so bothered by it all that he slept through most of the action! Even the passage of a Mexican Wave through the stands didn’t bother him. He was mister cool and relaxed!
Despite the history of the club the ground itself is a very modern sporting venue holding up to 30,000 people. Although not full on our visit, this was the busiest, most congested place Rochester has had to work. There were crowds around the ground, crowds getting to our seat and crowds of people all around, all of the time. A very full on experience for a 10 month old dog. As always seems to be the case, when you throw a new experience at Rochester he rises to the challenge admirably. Rochester’s head is 2 feet from the ground, so in a busy crowd of adults he could feel quite claustrophobic and intimidated, but he didn’t seem affected. He plodded through the gaps and waited when there was nowhere to go.
Rochester and I were made very welcome by the Lords staff and the public, so a big thank you to them. One question we were asked a few times was, “why would a blind person come to a visual game”? I think this question is better answered by Peter White; journalist, cricket fan and blind since birth. He has written an excellent article that you can read here.
A vital addition to the enjoyment of cricket is the radio programme Test Match Special. Rochester was thrilled to get some advice from TMS cricket dog Bracken who tweeted the following advice “go for catching practice on that big green field, they won’t mind”!!! It was tempting, particularly when the ball came straight towards us!
Rochester’s trip wasn’t an entirely altruistic act as his puppy walker is a keen cricket fan! But learning how to cope with crowds, noise and constant activity is all part of his training, so hopefully we both got something out of the trip!