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Chaplain’s Corner

9 months ago By Rob Overfield

Chaplain Paul Barker’s column from the Eqst thurrock programme

In March 1939, the longest recorded test match was played between South Africa and England in Durban. England were set 696 to win and reached 654, 42 runs short, by the end of play on day 9!! The game was then declared a draw as the England team had to leave to catch the boat home!!

My boss cannot comprehend a sporting encounter that lasts for 5 days!! Mind you he was born to American parents, raised in Brazil and is married to a Canadian, so he really has no chance of trying to understand the attraction of test cricket.

There are sometimes, in the middle of winter, when 90 minutes can seem a very long time. In reality games can often last up to another 10 minutes, by the time you add on the stoppages in each half. The added time always seems longer when you are hanging on by the odd goal and pleading with the man in black to blow whistle for the final time.

I must admit that I stop my watch when there is a break in play to give me an idea of how long is left to play. But I am convinced that the referees’ watches run slower than mine as play continues well after my time piece shows time is up.

When you watch a top flight rugby match you know exactly how much time has been played and therefore how long is left. The ref stops and restarts the stadium clock, so there is no surprise when the final whistle goes. I quite like that, although some would argue that it takes away the anticipation and excitement of guessing how much “Fergie time” there is going to be.

As a child, I would play football with friends, in the park or the school play-ground. If the scores were level when it was time to pack up, someone would shout out “next goal’s the winner”. As we didn’t want to stop playing we would try all we could to stop a goal being scored.

Eventually time was called by parents or a teacher, it was a bit like the “endless” test match.

What would life be like without years, months, hours and minutes to help us structure and plan. We have the seasons of the year which provides us with a pattern for life here on planet earth. Yet the creator of all is beyond time. According to Psalm 90 v 4 a thousand years is like a day in God’s sight, but He realised that we couldn’t function like that.

Psalm 90 goes onto say that our years will quickly pass and that we should number them wisely. I not sure if watching a 9-day test match constitutes wise use of time, but do we make the most of the time we have been given?

Updated 13:28 - 12 Dec 2017 by Rob Overfield

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