How To Create An Awesome Cricket Tea
, 7 min reading time
, 7 min reading time
Having played cricket for many years, one thing never changes - match tea during the break of innings. That was until 2020 when the pandemic hit. Teas were scrapped and have no signs of returning in the near future. However, the following assumes they will return at some point. It is fair to say the quality of the tea varies from club to club though. When i first started playing, I remember families of many generations being involved in the running of most of the clubs we played against. Younger players playing with elder siblings, Fathers and even Grand Fathers. The support of wives, sisters, Mums and Grand Mothers was in evidence across the county. I'm not being sexist, this was a sign of the times and was largely the case, it was a real family affair.
At the club i played for in the 80's, Risinghurst CC there was real competition between 2 or 3 families to provide the best tea of the season. Indeed the players unofficially voted on their favourite at the end of the season. The club itself didn't have the best facilities but the teas were some of the best available in the OCA. From memory, teas at Stonesfield, Fringford and Fritwell were also noteworthy.
Times have changed though, with the numbers of players reducing so has the amount of family support available. Don't get me started on volunteers at cricket clubs......but as I've mentioned it, i will touch on this subject. A large number of cricket clubs are experiencing a big drop in volunteers taking up essential roles at their club, for a simple reason....money. Many clubs have had to pay people to do key roles such as
Having spoken to many club players through the years, the main issue 'is why should they give up their time for free when others are getting paid for their services'. Fair point but this is to the detriment of the club.
Back to teas, after a few years out of the game, through family and work commitments, i started coaching juniors at my local club (i had moved by now) and soon found myself playing the odd league game. Match teas were generally supplied by 2 or 3 mums over the season with each doing at least 6 teas a season. The toll of this soon came to bare and the club was forced to change the plan for teas. I think it was 3 season's ago where players were nominated to provide a match tea for the game they played. The club has 4 teams so there were 2 games at home each week but, players only had to supply the tea for their own game.
This then introduced many new players with the problem of how and what makes a good tea. Each player had a budget of £50 to spend on the food to supply enough for 22 players and 2 umpires and in some cases 2 scorers too. How many of us have actually catered for 26 people though? Some weeks the tea is amazing, with many spectators enjoying the leftovers with a beer or 2. Other weeks there is barely enough for the players to eat.
A traditional cricket tea would have sandwiches, cakes and a large pot of tea. This isn't fixed though as some clubs like to offer crusty bread and range of meats and cheeses, so each player can make their own, on their plate, almost Ploughman's style. My preferred method though is to make sandwiches with various fillings, catering for vegetarians too.
The reason I bring up this subject though was to help others, who may end up in the predicament I was in 2 weeks ago. When my captain said 'Stu can you do match tea this week' I of course said yes and then got home and wondered how many sandwiches, cakes and nibbles would constitute a decent match tea. This is what I created for my match tea and I hope it helps. My sandwich fillings were as follows
The above food came to £49.50 and I used our own foil and pepper. You could of course make your own cakes and then your money would go further and you would also have a more striking tea. Most clubs supply tea bags so you shouldn't need to buy any of these and orange squash is usually supplied by the club too.
When making the pot of tea, most people underestimate the amount of tea bags to use. The pot at my club is a 5 litre pot and i was told to put 12 to 15 bags in. It was probably the nicest cup of tea this season. If you are playing in the match, it would be worth asking a family member to help laying out the spread. Although if you get to the ground early enough this isn't essential.
You should only be called upon once a season so, make your match tea memorable for the right reasons. Don't scrimp and try to make money as everyone will know. Enjoy it too, as the feeling you have when you know you have done your bit for the club, makes it all worthwhile