Cricket match tea in Halifax, West Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 15:32 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 19:50 28 April 2016
Howzat for a high tea? Forget tea for two and try tea for 22. Jo Haywood is bowled over by a top of the league cricket tea in Halifax
Is there a better way to spend a balmy summer Sunday than listening to the gentle knock of leather on willow as two teams of white-clad lads pad up for their village team?
Yes, if we're being honest, there is. Eating a large slice of homemade chocolate cake, generously layered with fresh cream and strawberries, while listening to leather on willow is infinitely better.
A traditional cricket tea is a sight to behold. There is something about the piles of thickly sliced ham and the crisp, crunchy bouquets of lettuce, the scones with their decadent dollops of clotted cream, the jewel-like strawberries and the generous slices of lovingly crafted cake that make you proud to be English. If there was a flag of St George fluttering nearby, you'd probably spontaneously stand up and salute it.
A good cricket tea looks like a relatively simple affair, with a plated salad and something sweet for everyone. But like most things in life, the devil is in the detail.
'The process starts well before match day,' says Becky Baird, whose teas at Lightcliffe Cricket Club in Halifax enjoy an enviable reputation. 'All the ingredients are bought fresh and, where possible, local and I bake the cakes the night before. We also get some cakes donated by members' wives, mums and girlfriends, which is fantastic.'
As the Lightcliffe third team goes in to bat against Blackley from Huddersfield, Becky and her team, which today includes her husband David, daughter Georgina, and sister Linda, are feverishly busy taking orders (if you don't order early, you don't eat), preparing salads, brewing tea, setting tables, cutting cakes and generally running themselves ragged.