It our latest TTF story David Cole from Ovington CC talks about the bad behaviour from drunken spectators including streaking http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/pitch-invasion-part-one . When I visited in May I was told to expect at least one streaker as there was a big race weekend on in York and there would be lots of jolly drunks heading home from the races and coming across the ground. I was quite excited and had my camera finger at the ready all afternoon – but they must have been feeling shy that day as I was to be disappointment. Anyway, my disappointment got me thinking about the history of streaking at cricket matches. I’ve been surprised to find very little material (ha ha, that’s almost a pun) here in the MCC library – perhaps it’s because no one wants to encourage streakers by making them famous.
I was surprised the learn that the first recorded cricket streaker was as late as 1975 – I would have thought it a much longer tradition (ha ha…no, that one’s very weak, just forget it). I don’t know if it was televised, but the moment was immortalised by John Arlott on the radio commentary –
“My goodness me, we’ve got an intruder from underneath Father Time in the person of a strapping young man rippling with muscles. the most remarkable thing about him is that he does not have any clothes on.
There he goes, striding out towards the middle to what I can only describe as the puzzled delight of a big crowd.
He’s making for the wicket at the Nursery End and umpire Tom Spencer doesn’t quite know what to do. Ooh, would you believe it, he jumps the stumps! But all’s well, umpire Spencer hasn’t signalled ‘one short’.
And now the amply proportioned young man goes galloping away towards the Mound Stand with his arms outsretched, showing 25,000 people something they’ve never seen before.
And now a young copper comes across and spoils it all. he’s taken off his helmet, placed it over the offending weapon and now he leads the young man off the field to a night in the cells and a visit to the Marylebone Magistrates Court in the morning”
It sounds as though John Arlott rather enjoyed it, probably because this was the first streak it was something of a novelty. I think the novelty wore off quite quickly though and they are now regarded as just a nuisance.