Test Match – The Best Christmas Present Ever

Or at least, the most pleasure I ever got from an old skool (non-computer) game.

There was a Subbuteo forerunner to Test Match. In typical Subbuteo style, it came with loads of static extras; nice looking stands and advertising on the boundary hoardings. Of course, playability was totally overlooked. Test Match dispensed with the add-ons and worked like a dream.

The grace of the batsman’s swing and the joy of finding the six boundary, the way the ball stuck between the fielder’s feet. Out! The knack lay in watching your opponent’s ‘style’ and rearranging the field to get him caught (and it was always a him – my sister & mum didn’t care for Test match) or veering the chute as the ball rolled from the bowler’s arm. A skill that either bamboozled the batsman or went for four byes. On an overcast day, you could even engineer reverse swing.

There was something about the felt pitch that attracted my cat. She would wander over and sit near the mid-off boundary. It took a few decent strokes down the wicket to dislodge her. She would give me a dirty look, kick some fielders over and find a place where she could sleep without constant ball-bearings in the face.

Test Match survived in the Gregory household for many years. It rode the storm through hundreds of contentious LBW decisions and some fielders endured horrendous kneeling injuries. I think we finally ditched it after the cat died. It just wasn’t the same.