Even in a match as eventful as the recent Trent Bridge Test between England and New Zealand, alcoholic beverages took centre stage. It may have been the new fangled beer-dispensing drinks machine that caught some of the attention, but the biggest story was when a six landed in a spectator’s beer, demolishing the plastic cup and splashing its contents to the four winds.
The story gained more traction thanks to the kind gesture of New Zealander Darryl Mitchell, who had struck the fateful shot and kindly met the affected fan afterwards and bought her a replacement drink.
It was all good PR for the ever-gentlemanly Kiwis, but while there will have been lots of beer drunk and spilt at the game and a few well-lubricated voices raising the volume in the afternoons, it will not have been for everyone.
Indeed, these days most venues have an alcohol-free section, with the William Clarke Stand fulfilling the role in Nottingham for those who like to watch their sport while consuming alcohol free drinks. Moreover, plenty of people prefer not to be sitting around others who have had one too many.
The Test matches represent just some of the big cricket matches being played this summer, England’s 50-over and 20-over matches and domestic games including the T20 Blast, the Hundred and the traditional County Championship. There will be lots of chances to drink, but, thankfully, opportunities to avoid the booze too.
The rules are a bit different for other sporting events. At Wimbledon, where the decorum of the crowd when players are waiting to serve is essential, ticket holders are permitted to bring limited amounts of alcohol into the ground, but are not allowed to sit in the show court stands drinking it in the way that would be allowed in most cricket stands.
Either way, it’s clear that sporting venues are not places for a big boozy free-for-all. It seems that for all the kindness of Darryl Mitchell, there is a place for those who want to hit alcohol for six.