Cricket fans have spoken of their delight at returning to live cricket as Trent Bridge welcomed fans back.
Nottinghamshire’s County Championship match against Worcestershire is the first since new coronavirus rules permitted fans to be in attendance.
Punters have had to book tickets in advance, with no tickets available on the gate and social distancing measures in place.
The four-day test could see Day One hampered by wet weather, but that hasn’t deterred hundreds of fans who are returning to Trent Bridge for the first time in over a year.
John Coffey and Paul Herring, both 64, from Arnold, followed England in South Africa last year but have not been to Trent Bridge for over 18 months.
Mr Coffey said: “It’s good to be back, I just wish it was warmer.
“We’ve been able to watch the cricket on the live streaming which has been useful, but lockdown has been what it is, there are people who are far worse off.”
Mr Herring added: “When we finished work we were looking forward to spending summers at Trent Bridge, so we’ve been denied that for two summers.
“We’d like to see a Notts victory, as it’s been three years since we’ve seen one live.”
Current restrictions allow large venues to hold 10,000 people or 25% of their total seated capacity – whichever is lower.
The match follows back-to-back victories for the hosts, having seen off Essex and local rivals Derbyshire.
It is also the first large-scale sporting event in Nottinghamshire since restrictions were eased, with Notts County FC set to welcome fans back to nearby Meadow lane for their game against Weymouth on 22 May.
But the lure of live cricket has not just attracted Nottinghamshire residents.
Richard and Diane Armitage have travelled from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, for the fixture, for the first game they have watched live since January 2019.
Diane said: “We’re not going to see much cricket, because of the rain, but it doesn’t matter, it’s the excitement of getting into the ground and being there.
Richard added: “We’re not the Barmy Army, we are just barmy!”
Unlike football, away spectators are allowed, with Eileen Veyoivoy travelling from Cheltenham to follow her county alongside Mr and Mrs Armitage, who she met in Australia while watching cricket in 2007.
“I’ve got tickets in the ballot for the first Worcestershire home game as well, and I can’t wait to enjoy it.”
“The result doesn’t matter – it will be a bonus if we get a really good game, and we can shout and cheer again,” she said.