Martin Devlin: Sport without crowds makes for dreadful viewing

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 1:48PM

Martin Devlin: Sport without crowds makes for dreadful viewing

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 1:48PM

Bring back the fans and make it quick. Because sport without crowds is just soulless.

I tuned in last night to watch what, on paper, should've been two fascinating, intriguing matches and was left feeling totally flat. Not by the games themselves and not by the results, disappointing as they were, but because the atmosphere was just lifeless.

The Caketin is already the country's worst cricket ground and with no fans inside it makes for dreadful viewing. That never-ending wall of yellow seats looks like something from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (with Jimmy Neesham as Jack Nicholson and David White as Nurse Ratched!!).

The empty echo emanating throughout both at-bats was eerie and off-putting. Then over to the netball where the squeak of  sneakers and persistent shrill of the whistle are normally muffled by the buzz of spectators.

But not this time. Again the lack of courtside clamour, the absence of cheering and even those dreaded thundersticks leaves a viewer feeling, I dunno, is emotionless too dramatic a word to use here?

No fans makes it all seem less real somehow. Less important, less urgent, less meaningful. And I'm not just saying this because in both matches we copped it like the proverbial chook. Australia thrashed us.

In the cricket we were never chasing down 200+ on that pitch. In the netball the game was over after the first quarter. But it wasn't the results that irk most, the fact that THEY won. Bring back the fans and quick because sport without is no fun.