Category: Match report (page 1 of 19)

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk – but on no account mention the cricket

What’s it been like watching Ireland’s first Test, against Pakistan at Malahide?

Kevin O’Brien’s hundred (via @IrishCricketers Twitter video)

Chuck writes:

With my Aged Parent heading towards 83 not out this summer (a superb innings), I decided it was time to introduce him to the pleasures of Test cricket by bringing him to his, and Ireland’s, and indeed my first men’s Test match, against Pakistan in Malahide. Well, day three of it, anyway.

Coming as we were from different sides of the city, we arranged to meet far too early in the city centre (it’s a genetic thing) and then had to kill an hour while we waited for our train. We went to a café and had a coffee, even though they seemed to be serving beer at 9am to some of the customers. The Aged Parent thought it might be non-alcoholic beer, given the early hour, but that didn’t seem to reconcile.

There was a lot of good humour and banter on the train to Malahide and on the short walk up to the cricket grounds one gentleman told me, without any introduction or invitation, that Ireland were now unique in being the only Test nation to have had their first day of Test cricket lost completely to the weather, and I told him that weather would no doubt play a large part in many of Ireland’s Test records in the future. That sort of good humour and banter.

I had always suspected that a large part of the draw for my Aged Parent in accompanying me to the cricket was the day-long access to the bar; he managed to stave off the thirst pangs until just after midday, after which hour of course everybody knows it is respectable to start laying in the drink.

He took himself off to the bar on our joint behalf and returned sheepishly a few minutes later to tell me the Gardai (that’ll be the police) had ordered the bar to stop serving and to only begin again at 12.30pm, which is the official start time for alcohol sales on a Sunday. (I know, crazy.) He went back down again at around 12.25pm; you have to admire his restraint. He was delighted that local pub Gibneys, which was running the beer tent, was selling its own-brand porter, which he pronounced to be very satisfactory.

After that, we followed the traditional lunch and tea breaks for food and other refreshments (a very so-so burger and chips for lunch (it wasn’t me, the AP wanted ‘something with chips’); beer; an excellent speciality wood-fired sour dough pizza for tea; beer). It was a busy afternoon as we were also tracking developments in the soccer and Gaelic games arenas throughout the afternoon, so we needed sustenance.

We met all sorts, as I suppose you do, ‘at the cricket’: one very depressed Sunderland fan; one Australian to whom I displayed remarkable elite mateship by not mentioning ball tampering; and another gentleman who told a very long story about the Irish ambassadorial residence in Tokyo, the details of which I won’t go in to here. Actually, we didn’t need to meet this gentleman; he was seated around seven rows back, but we caught every detail and eventually we just moved seat rather than disturb his flow.

We made the obligatory visit to the Irish cricket team’s new sponsor’s tent and got as much free gear as we could get away with without actually committing ourselves to anything or signing up to their mailing list or anything like that (although we had prepared a story and a fake email address, just in case: my Aged Parent was to say he did not have email, and my email address was to be Javon.Scantlebury-Searles@westindiescricket.com). I think the only thing we didn’t try was the ice cream van, which was doing steady business given the weather, which was really pretty good for Ireland in May.

By 5pm, my Aged Parent was a little tired of the cricket and so we wandered down the town for a ‘proper’ pint or two in a proper glass, i.e., a glass. Obviously, we were nice and early for our train ride home.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


A report on a 2016 England v Sri Lanka match on which we’ve already reported

Ged writes:

It was the first day of the 2016 Lord’s Test between England and Sri Lanka. I was honoured to have His Majesty, King Cricket, among my guests that day in the Lower Compton – as reported here by His Majesty himself.

As the predictable shower of champagne corks began to rain down from the Upper Compton, King Cricket remarked: “I don’t know about The Home of Cricket, this place is more like The Home of Corks.”

This was far from the best joke King Cricket has ever made, but I laughed politely, in accordance with decades of training for such eventualities. I have reason to believe that my laughter passed muster with His-Maj.

Soon enough the conversation at Lord’s, more or less inevitably, turned to real tennis.

“What are the balls made of?” enquired KC, on learning from me that real tennis balls are quite heavy.

“A solid cork core wrapped in tape and then covered by a hand-stitched wool cloth,” I replied.

“Do they recycle the Test match champagne corks for that purpose?” asked KC. “They’d certainly have a plentiful supply of the material if they do so.”

(KC: As a quick sidebar, we don’t have proof, but we have a certain sense that liberties have been taken with the wording of some of these quotes of ours.)

“Good question, I’d have to ask,” I replied.

Some weeks later, that conversation and KC’s question popped back into my head while I was at the real tennis court. So I did ask one of the professionals who, amongst other things, manufactures the balls.

“Interesting idea,” I was told, “but it is probably a lot easier for us to work with the spherical cork cores we have made for the purpose.”

Intriguingly, though, a little bit of research suggests that, in less salubrious real tennis circles, King Cricket’s cork recycling idea is well underway.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


A match report from the 2017 Women’s World Cup Final

Lord’s media centre (CC licensed by hobbs_luton via Flickr)

Gareth writes:

The last time I’d been to Lord’s I’d found the place a bit stifling, and an incredibly drunken young man had capped Glamorgan getting spanked by Gloucestershire by “singing” on the bus the whole way back. That had not been a fun day.

This time, I was off to watch a World Cup final. I won’t bore you with the details. It’s not allowed, is it? Plus, you probably all know what happened, what with you being cricket fans and all.

So I was already up in London that Sunday morning, having been to the West Ham stadium (or whatever it’s called) to see the athletics the night before. I met my old friend “Steve” (real name Steff – I’m not very good with pseudonyms) on the westbound platform of the Jubilee line at Canning Town and we were off to Lord’s.

When we got to the ground, we saw police with machine guns. “Oooh” I though. Although this is a more common sight these days, the sight of a machine gun up close still makes me think “Oooh”. We made it through security with the minimum of fuss.

Once inside, first off, we did a lap of Lord’s, which was looking very nice indeed. We took in the museum (I liked Viv Richards’s maroon cap the best) and resisted the temptation to make annoying, Philistine comments about the Ashes urn (“is that it?!”) to the obviously very proud guide person in charge of that section.

Also, Kumar Sangakkara has a very small bat. He saws the bottoms off apparently. Is that a scoop? As in journalistic, not the old Grey Nicholls bat design. Sorry, veering dangerously close to ankylosing spondylitis pun territory here.

We had seats up on the top tier in the Compton stand (I think). Before the match started, a woman in a white leotard floated around underneath a hot air balloon doing gymnastic stuff. It was arty. Then she gave the World Cup trophy to someone else, and some songs played. Then they started playing cricket.

Anyway, the seats were a bit cramped and the guy to my right was, unfortunately, a bit miserable. He did not engage much with my attempts at conversation. In fact, he just got his paper out and pointedly turned away from me. I tried not to take it personally.

The weather was a bit changeable. I decided to keep my raincoat on. This made me warm. Steff and I are both in charge of small children too. The warmish weather/sleep deprivation/excessive excitement combination made us tired. In no time, we found ourselves dozing off intermittently instead of paying attention.

As the crowd filled up, we decided it was high time to get out of our seats and cause disruption to them by squeezing past so we could beat the mid-innings lunch queues.

I had a veggie-burger, Steff had a beef burger. They were nice too. Good use of pickle. You don’t always get pickle in a veggie-burger. I guess that’s the kind of thing that slightly sets Lord’s apart.

We didn’t have champagne though – I ‘ve never seen champagne sold on tap before. I guess that’s the kind of thing that slightly sets Lord’s apart.

We got Pedigree instead.

We did a few more laps of the ground in between sitting down until we got stiff. Nothing like a day in a sports stadium’s seating to remind you of the ever-accelerating onrush of middle/old age. At one point, we found a mobile phone and handed it in to lost property like good boys. We rewarded ourselves with another drink.

Upon returning to our seats for the final time, everyone in the ground got increasingly noisy and excited for about an hour. I got swept up in it, I must admit. I also did a vague wave in the direction of where Ged said he was sitting (I’d kept forgetting up to that point, but I guarantee that it did happen.) Hello Ged, hope you enjoyed the match.

Then the stuff I’m not meant to mention finished happening and it was time to rush off. I got to Victoria, caught the Megabus and ate some McCoy’s crisps as I headed west.

It had been a fun day.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


A report from a 2016 Lord’s match between Middlesex and Lancashire

Ged writes:

I was joined for the afternoon by Escamillo Escapillo. Actually, the fact that we were together watching Middlesex v Lancashire was a noteworthy matter in itself, as our previous attempts to do so had been thwarted:

Inevitably, the conversation soon turned to the matter that pretty much everyone must have been talking about around that time.

“The pitch seems a bit flat,” said Escamillo.

“More than a bit low and slow,” I concurred. “It’s been getting this way for years. Strip probably needs a complete relaying, but I think Mick Hunt wants to leave that potential banana skin to his successor.”

“At Old Trafford,” said Escamillo, “we turned the whole square around 90 degrees. That did a grand job of it. Have thee thought of trying that here at Lord’s?”

We were sitting on the front terrace of the pavilion. I looked around sharply to check if any of the gentlemen might have overheard the remark. There were none within hearing aid range, mercifully.

I quietly asked Escamillo, “I take it you are aware of the hoo-ha our nation has just been through with the Brexit referendum?”

“Yes?” said Escamillo, quizzically.

“Around here, your square rotation idea would be far more controversial than Brexit.”

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Charity cricket in Regent’s Park – match report

Two reports on the same August 2000 charity match.

Nigel  writes:

My friend, Lefty-Righty, sent an e-mail to me and Chas recently, which read: “I uncovered a note about a charity match in Regent’s Park, 24 August 2000, against [massive global communications corporate] about which I had more or less forgotten.  Do either of you have any memories of that afternoon/evening?”

The strange think is, I remembered it vividly. It was my first game for many years. I used to play Lancashire League cricket to a reasonable standard. That charity fiasco was my comeback match.

Chas had enlisted my services way in advance of the game, scheduled for ‘after work’ in Regent’s Park. One problem I had to overcome was the distance between my ‘work’, South Devon, and everybody else’s, inner London.

I had availed myself of a cheap advance booking day-return train ticket. I am usually pathologically early. This event was no exception.

I left Devon armed with ‘Hanse Cronje’s bat’ – so called as it had been given to the late disgraced Test cricketer in Rawalpindi. Rumour had it he didn’t much like it. He had off-loaded it on to his brother Frans who was the Pro at Todmorden CC in the Lancashire League, where my brother played. So this filial-fraternal-Hans-Frans ‘to me to you’ series of transactions resulted in ‘Hanse Cronje’s bat’ now being my bat.

I made my way to a teeming Regent’s Park amidst glorious sunshine. I recall it being carnival-like in the Park, a place I had never been in such weather.  I do recall waiting for what seems like ages, possibly because of my time of arrival, but also due to the apparent flexibility of arrangements, as nobody seemed to know what time we were due to start.

Lefty-Righty was the next to arrive, so we warmed up, taking turns to bowl/bat at each other while others gradually appeared. One other invitee was The Quiet American, our new CEO designate, who had been agitating for inclusion, I gather, and today was to be his cricketing debut.

Although the opposition was a gigantic global communications corporation, the quality of their so-called team threatened to spoil the event. Batting against them was wishful thinking. Not “will this delivery have my name on it?” but more like “will it land on the square?”

Consequently we mixed up the sides, so I also had the callous pleasure of bowling at our CEO elect along with other fellow employees, including the chap from Finance who often made a meal of paying out our expenses.

Thus I got to open the batting with my pal Chas, scored my ‘20 and retire out’, changed sides, took a few wickets and pouched a catch in the deep from a middled full blooded hook.

I was back. It felt great. But my joy was curtailed, as I had to leave early to catch the last train back to Devon from Paddington.


Chas writes:

We played charity matches with Lefty-Righty’s small company a few times, but, perhaps due to the hammering they received in 1999, Lefty-Righty faced a squad rebellion and could only offer a rounders team.

I thought I’d struck charity cricket gold when [Giant Communications Corporate] supplier offered to pick up the cricket challenge… and also the bill.

I thought I’d need some decent players against such a big company, so I asked Nigel, who had a proper cricket pedigree, to come up from our Devon office to play. I also found an intern in the bowels of our building, let’s call him Quick-But-Slow, who was on Kent CCC’s books as a pace bowler. There was also a new keen scout in fundraising, let’s call him Loud-And-Bossy, who claimed he could play.

Other than that, it was the usual suspects, plus the new CEO, The Quiet American, who was seriously sporty but hadn’t played cricket before. I asked Lefty-Righty to come along to umpire.

As it turned out, [Giant Communications Corporate] had no-one at all who could bowl or who knew one end of a bat from the other. They were all utterly hopeless; just keen to raise a bit of money for charity.

Lefty-Righty is short on cricketing skills. He is known as Lefty-Righty because he tries and fails to play off either arm, not because he can play off both. But he can organise things, so he rejigged the sides to make the game fairer… and to include himself in one of the teams of course.

Loud-And-Bossy barked orders at our regulars, with little effect. Then he’d berate them for missing catches way beyond their grasp, abilities or both. He’s probably progressed to senior management somewhere by now.

The Quiet American made a bit of a name for himself, being very speedy in the deep field and holding a tough catch. I also took a good catch; how come no-one else remembers that?

But Nigel was the star of the show – as he has already explained in his own report – taking relish in the opportunity to teach the new CEO (and others) a thing or two about cricket.

After the game, most of us regrouped for refreshments at the cafe on the corner near our offices, where [Giant Communications Corporate] had sported masses of grub. Leftovers were duly shared out at the end. Loud-And-Bossy took the lion’s share.

I also recall that Quick-But-Slow, the Kent CCC youth, bowled far too quickly and properly for our game. People could only play and miss outside off stump against him. I remember asking him to change his line, but he said he couldn’t. After the match and refreshments, I offered to drop him at the appropriate station for his Kent town, but he said he’d be fine if I dropped him on my way home in Essex, as Essex is near Kent. Goodness knows how he changed line to get home.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v South Africa Lord’s ODI report from 2008

Ged Ladd writes:

A Sunday at Lord’s with Daisy. We sat in the Mound Stand, next to a charming South African gentleman and his Zimbabwean friend. We chatted with them.

In particular, the Zimbabwean gentleman explained the currency chaos prevailing in Zimbabwe at that time; sacks full of bank notes to buy basic items, the authorities producing ever larger, ludicrously large denomination bank notes; worthless before they had even rolled off the printing presses.

I asked the gentleman if I might buy some from him as humorous prizes for our Z/Yen edutainment games. He said he had none with him but sack loads at home. He said his wife would bring some for me when she was next in London, in a few weeks’ time.  We exchanged contact details.

A thunderstorm came; the gentlemen skedaddled, despite Daisy’s and my accurate prediction that the rain would soon pass.

A few weeks’ later, a mysterious woman arrived at Z/Yen’s City office with an enormous envelope stuffed with massive denomination Zimbabwean dollar bank notes.

As we Lord’s folk say; another day, another several hundred billion dollars.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


A match report from the Eric Hollies stand

Nigel writes (with pictures kindly supplied by Charles):

A group of us, The Heavy Rollers, have been going to Edgbaston for every Test match since the last century. We enjoy our cricket in the peace and relative tranquillity of the Priory Stand or latterly the Raglan.

But in 2008, Charles and I decided to stay an extra day, the Saturday, and try out the Eric Hollies Stand.

Oh dear.

After many hypnosis sessions our experience in the Eric “enter only if prepared to leave any shred of dignity behind” Hollies Stand, has effectively become a blur.

My only recollections were that we took our seats between a hallucination of Amy Winehouses and a company of Storm Troopers, mouthing “WTF?”

We sat rigidly, like a couple who had carelessly wandered in unwittingly to the set of a Fellini film, expecting the Sound of Music singalong. Fair to say we were ill-prepared and quite out of our comfort zone.

Our experiences of the far more sedate Priory Stand, with our proven long-standing mates for back-up in the event of any pre-match conflicts, were a fast-fading memory.

We cast anxious looks at each other offering paltry excuses about getting the first drink in, as it would mean running the gauntlet of personal abuse as we had to politely unseat one Amy after another.

Having watched the treatment handed out to one unsuspecting Smurf, neither of us could face up to what would surely be levelled our way, however witty the discordant chorus.

We stayed thirsty for some considerable time.

As each Amy succumbed to the effects of their alcohol intake, another Storm Trooper would seize the opportunity to challenge a steward: “You effing well dare stop me making the longest beer snake ever.”

This was a once in a lifetime, never to be repeated experience. From now on, I am staying with other benign challenges from my bucket list. Like sky diving or lion-taming.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v South Africa at Trent Bridge – match report

Bert writes:

Whenever Ged goes to the Test, he is literally sustained by a succession of culinary marvels. My test match sustenance, on the other hand, is more metaphorical than literal, being largely a succession of pointless and asinine conversations. But just as when Harry Morgan’s closes its doors for the evening, the source of our interlocutory morsels occasionally fails, and uncomfortable silence falls. It is at moments such as these when the Times Saturday Review section comes to the rescue.

Aside from being very badly named (it is published on a Saturday morning, for god’s sake), its usefulness as a trigger for drunken conversation is unsurpassed. Not the least of its delights is the puzzle section, and the edition I grabbed on my way out of the house could not have been more appropriate. The Two Brains quiz comprised the following questions:

1. Which England cricket captains share their surname with a British Prime Minister?

2. Which first name is the most common among a) British Prime Ministers and b) England Cricket Captains, and how many times does the most common of the latter occur in the list of the former?

(This second question I interpreted as asking a numerical question, as opposed to the answer being “Gaz” or “Kev”.)

During an hiatus at the conversation, I asked the lads these questions. Several people in the locality overheard, and soon it became the main point of discussion in our part of the stand. Answers were flying in from all over the place. The first PM / Captain surname combo was knocked off quite quickly, but the others took some time. My suggestion of Derbyshire opening batsman Des Rayleigh was dismissed as made-up nonsense, which was true, but I didn’t think gave it sufficient credit. Therefore I repeated it a few times till it was at least acknowledged.

The captains’ first name question also didn’t take too long, but the prime ministerial version took a lot longer.

To finish, we did the Word Finder puzzle, to find as many words as you can from the letters Y, D, E, D, S, U, N, T, U, R, four letters or more, all containing the first of these letters (Y), no proper nouns, no conjugated verbs, no comparatives, superlatives or plurals. A ten-letter word does exist, we are told. Getting 13 words is described as “average”. 18 is “good”, 26 is “very good”, and 34 is “excellent”. We also added a rule that any word we could associate with cricket, however loosely, would score two points.

Our combined total of words by stumps, taking into account the double-points amendment, was coincidentally the same as that of England test wins in this series at that moment.

It wasn’t all pointless rambling though. We also asked and answered the question, “Is First Slip the most redundant position on a test match field?”, and debated whether or not the observation (made by one of us) that he preferred the South African whites was acceptable in this day and age.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Cambridge University v Arabs match report

Edwardian writes:

I arrived at Fenner’s just after start of play and exchanged a ‘hello’ with an Arab in a floppy hat on the boundary. I had to bone up on Arabs before the match. The team are a wandering outfit started by E.W. (Jim) Swanton back in the frozen to death.

There was a heavy throng of nine spectators in the pavilion which included Spike, myself, the two scorers and Marlene manning the bar. Marlene fought off demanding punters who asked for drinks at half-hour intervals. She skilfully decanted cans of lager, IPA and Old Speckled Hen and coped with the onslaught admirably.

Spike had already ordered his lunch of gammon and new potatoes. I had brought my own docky bag comprising a chilli scotch egg (about ¾ the size of a cricket ball) and haslet slices in a roll with salad and mustard.

I thought 12.30pm was a sensible time for a beer so went for a Hen, pinched a knife from the tuck shop and halved the scotch egg. Spike was gearing himself up for the in-house lunch and refused the other half. I ate the other half. The Scotch egg was a great combination with the beer but putting chilli in a scotch egg I thought was a bit of a novelty not worth repeating.

I lost track of the scorecard. Spike managed to get his nosebag in ahead of the players at 1.30pm. He lost track of the scorecard.

As the players came in for lunch I contemplated the pros and cons of another pint and decided that thinking in general is a dangerous occupation.

I ate the haslet roll. The bread roll had olives embedded in it. I gave myself a good talking to.

Spike thought that the Cambridge spinner N. J. Winder was someone to look out for in the future and mentioned something about Wackford Squeers and windows.

The match wound up at about 3.30pm and Spike and I sank the beer I was contemplating earlier. Two players strolled to the bar making the floorboards strain at 11 occupants.

I got the feeling that the Cambridge middle-order batsmen were begrudging not having enough time out in the middle.

‘It’s only April,’ was said at least three times. This is cricketing-speak for, ‘It’s only April.’

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an ad-hoc match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Keith Pont benefit match report, Ongar Cricket Club, 1986

Chas and Nick write:

Back in 1986, sister/auntie Susan worked in public relations for Rhône-Poulenc (now part of Aventis), in Ongar, Essex. She was asked by one of its cricket-loving executives to organise a cricket day for Keith Pont‘s benefit year at Ongar Cricket Club.

It’s worth remembering how popular and funny Keith Pont was with the Essex team and supporters. For example, on one occasion during a county match against Derbyshire, Keith borrowed a bicycle from a supporter and cycled across the ground while fielding for Essex during a major chunk of the Derbyshire innings. (We hope this memory doesn’t break the golden King Cricket rule by describing the cricket from a professional match.)

The match against the Ongar Representative XI was a fun match. The highlight was Graham Gooch bowling in the style of a number of famous international players. The best spoof was Bob Willis style; just with considerably less pace, less talent, less height but more body weight than Willis.

Lunch came around. Susan organised us all to a marquee in the next field.

We were about to enter the marquee when we became aware of ‘The Monster Muncher’ in action. It was the legendary Derek Pringle. He was moving with such speed and determination around the tables we were almost too scared to enter. We were also dazzled by flashing light, which might have come from the jewellery in the Marquee Monster Muncher’s ears.

When we finally plucked up the courage to enter the marquee, we quickly realised the need to establish eye contact in order to regain control of the situation. Pringle gave us a few shifty looks, but eventually we established contact. I (Chas) asked him if he would be long, as there was a queue starting to form outside. He grunted, “just getting a bit of food.”

An unkind rumour did the rounds after lunch, suggesting that a dustbin had been knocked over by the entrance to the marquee and that the Marquee Monster Muncher was seen using the dustbin lid as his plate. We are happy to put the record straight in that regard; Derek Pringle was merely piling it high on a conventional large plate.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


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