NAME a sport in the middle of which players break for the best part of an hour, scoff a load of sandwiches, pork pies, cakes and scones, drink several cups of tea - then resume.

There is only one sport where this sort of behaviour goes on, and it’s cricket. I mean look at footballers - they get half an orange at half-time.

With their sausage rolls, Victoria sponges and other foods more suited to a child’s birthday party, cricket teas have long been the most unhealthy part of any sporting fixture.

Gourmet nosh they ain’t. Cricket tea breaks are about the only social gathering where you can get away with meat paste sandwiches, made with the sort of white bread that has a 2026 sell-by date. They are so full of stodge I’m surprised players can lift a bat afterwards, never mind run from wicket to wicket.

But how we love them. To me, they represent part of the charm of English cricket, in the same way as young children playing on the pitch before the match and the old couples who park up and watch from deck chairs beside their cars.

Yet now these mini-feasts, supplied by WAGS - yes, cricketers have Wives And Girlfriends too - are under threat.

The world’s largest recreational cricket league, based in Sussex, voted to scrap home teams’ obligation to provide a tea between innings.

Former England test captain Michael Vaughan called it ‘utterly disgraceful’, tweeting ‘A very sad day if the cricket tea is abandoned,’ which makes me wonder whether the top teams, playing at Lords and Headingley, enjoy similar WAG-made feasts.

And sports broadcaster Mark Pougatch said: ‘If they’re going to scrap cricket tea...then you might as well scrap cricket.’

The hoo-ha has resulted in a fresh vote bring called.

The cricket tea has become increasingly controversial over the years. As well as prolonging matches, the fact it is made by the womenfolk has been criticised as sexist.

I’ll admit, this aspect doesn’t sit comfortably with me. When I was young my mum was among the cricketer wives who helped to provide teas. Regularly on a Saturday, the morning would be spent preparing food and the afternoon serving it to hungry cricketers, followed by a couple of hours collecting and washing up piles of crockery.

As a teenager I remember thinking that there was no way men would band together and do all that just so their partners could have a bit of fun playing sport. Even today, though men have embraced domesticity in a way they hadn’t back then, I doubt they would be prepared to devote so much time and effort to enable us women to enjoy a hobby.

It’s all very odd: while women have smashed their way through glass ceilings and battled their way into board rooms, they still drop everything and slave away on Saturday afternoon so their men can enjoy a spot of leather on willow.

And it’s not only the teas. I remember my mum spending hours at the sink rubbing grass stains out of my dad’s whites.

But while such questions of inequality surround the tradition, I would hate to see the back of cricket teas. For players to take their own snacks in Tupperware boxes isn’t the same.

It seems to me that the cricketers themselves must play a part in preserving teas for generations to come. Perhaps it is time for them to knuckle down and spend a few hours before the match in the kitchen, immersed in egg mayonnaise, ham, cheese, and clingfilm…and maybe roll up their sleeves and wash up afterwards.