Over two hundred farmers and their families took up the offer of free tickets to watch Somerset take on Lancashire at the Somerset County Cricket ground in Taunton on Tuesday 4 September. The free tickets were organised by the the Diocesan Rural Life Advisor, Rob Walrond in conjunction with the club in an attempt to encourage farmers to take a short break from their busy stressful jobs and to spend time with family and friends in a relaxed enviroment.
Rob, who is also Chaplain at Somerset CCC says, “I am delighted by the turn out. It was great to see so many families come along and so many young people.We had one gentleman who came all the way from Dulverton, he’s always been a fan of Somerset Cricket, but has never been able to get to a live match. The free ticket meant he could come along for the first time, which was great. ”
Rob says it has been a tough year for farmers so it getting them to take some time away from the farm has been difficult. “It is especially true at the moment as the combination of a harsh winter followed by a hot, dry summer and the uncertainty of Brexit have created very harsh working conditions. A few hours enjoying the cricket and chatting to friends would’ve been very beneficial, it will have just given them a bit of a break from it all.”
It’s taken Rob a few years working with Somerset CCC to organise the event. He says he’s been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by the club to Somerset farmers, “This is a generous gesture by the Club and as Chaplain to Somerset County Cricket Club I am heartened by their support of the local farming community in such a challenging year and at a time of economic uncertainty.
Volunteers from the Somerset branch of the Farming Community Network(FCN) and the welfare charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (R.A.B.I), were also at the cricket ground in case anyone wanted to chat about any concerns they may have, either emotional or financial. They also handed out leaflets outlining the work they do so that farmers, who may want to speak to them in the future, know how to get in contact.
And the cricket wasn’t too bad either, with some great play from both sides in the Specsavers County Championship. The match had the crowd on the edge of their seats right until the final ball. Sadly though Somerset weren’t able to secure a win, the match ended in a draw – the first Championship match to end in a tie for 15 years.