England v Pakistan at Old Trafford – match report

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We went to the second Test between England and Pakistan. It was one of your ‘on and off’ type days where the line between raining and not raining becomes blurred.

Having greatly enjoyed the timeless rope dragging technique at Bristol earlier in the summer, we were interested to see whether Old Trafford’s ground staff would also resort to this old and ineffectual tactic for combating surface water.

They did. And being a Test match ground, they also took things up a level.

Not only was the rope dragged by two motorised vehicles, but the drivers also ensured that they went either side of the stewards positioned on the pitch, forcing each of them to jump over the rope. As they slowly approached each one, the crowd treated itself to the slow-build crescendo cheer usually reserved for hat-trick deliveries.

As with every other visit to Old Trafford, “The Device” got an airing. It occurs to us that we’ve never actually shown you “The Device,” so here’s a picture.


In this shot “The Device” is fulfilling its secondary ‘makeshift table’ function, but you can easily imagine it being deployed for a quadruple carry back from the bar.

“The Device” has been rigid and dependable for its entire 20-year career. It is the Misbah-ul-Haq of pint-carrying contraptions.

Midway through the afternoon, we noticed that there was a permanently non-illuminated square on the big screen. Not only was this distracting for replays when it was often a similar size to the ball, it also raised the distinct possibility of an accidental Hitler whenever there was a close-up.

You can see it looming threateningly in this shot.


Your imagination can do the rest.

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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  1. “The Device” is a phenomenal idea, how do the bar staff react when you ask them to use it, rather than one of their own flimsy devices?

    1. Temporary bar staff rarely hold any strong sense of loyalty to their flimsy multi-pint carriers, so they are typically impressed.

  2. Great report. I may or may not have been there that day, but for fear of inappropriately mentioning the cricket, I have no idea how I could ascertain this for certain. All I can vaguely recall was some form of schoolgirls’ synchronised dance extravaganza held near stand B during one of the interminable intervals?

    I’m presuming that YT link is to a Father Ted clip?

  3. How does KC’s mum feel about leaving KC and his dad to their own devices? That’s what I want to know.

    1. I can assure you Ged that “The Device” has carried an undocumented number of pints for me over the years, in addition to those for KC and Special Correspondent Dad.

  4. The Device is awesome. I notice you’ve been keeping the left side as new, while scuffing up the right side, obviously hoping for a bit of swing later in the day.

    Also, why is the Device only being (under) used for a quadruple carry back, when it is clearly capable of a sextuple (which seems more appropriate for cricket)?

    1. I don’t think ‘They’ will serve you more than 4 beers at once at most cricket grounds, Chuck.

      1. It can of course be used for a sextuple carry, but nowadays this obliges a second party to attend the bar due to “four pint max” legislation.

        The Device predates the four pint ruling.

  5. Some questions:

    1. Given The Device’s obvious similarity to the Macclesfield Fighting Plank, how do you get it past the stewards?

    2. Cardboard beer carriers fail because they are trying to be rigid. The
    latest designs exploit their inherent flexibility to allow the centre-of-gravity of the beer glass to be below the point at which the glass is held, leading to increased stability and allowing a lower carrying position. Is Special Correspondent Dad working on an upgrade to The Device to incorporate this new technology?

    (If the answer to the second question is YES, can I suggest that an old string vest would be both sufficiently flexible AND would maintain the shabby-chic aesthetic of the original.)

    3. Are you aware that LCCC is introducing a smartphone app that will allow spectators to order drinks from their seat which will then be delivered by drone, technology that will render both The Device and Legs redundant? Does SCD have an opinion on this?

    4. Does SCD have any other opinions on, say, the state of modern cricket, smoothflow beer, Twitter, kids these days, etc?

    1. Don’t want to answer questions on behalf of Special Correspondent Dad but with regards to tweaking the design, let us just say that even the new saggy hanging beer carriers are massively inferior to the utter rigidity of The Device.

      1. Oh, and we typically sneak it past the stewards either “in a bag” or “in plain sight”.

      2. The Device could also double up as a ‘Throw the cricket ball Side Stall Challenge,’ although this might be detrimental to the integrity of the wood in the long run.

    2. Look Bert, as to the state of modern cricket, well in my day … no, I won’t go down the Geoffrey route.

      With regard to beer, as a card-carrying CAMRA member I only recognise real ale and Belgian beers of religious origin.

      Who is twitter?

      “kids these days” – as KC is the only kid, I have I’ll go for a tactful “no comment”.

      1. Despite the lack of any actual written opinion in what you wrote, my own father would agree with you completely. It’s as if there is a separate set of language conventions for people over a certain age, in which what is not said is equally important to the meaning as what is said. For instance, three words is all it took to utterly destroy a major aspect of modern social interaction. Nice work.

        I would, however, still like to point out the opportunity for tinkering with The Device that the flexible designs offer. While they themselves may be new, the engineering behind them is suitably 19th century. So unlike television and scoring at four-an-over in tests, they’re nothing to be scared of.

  6. Wonderful to hear from Special Correspondent Dad after all these years.

    Now we have the whole family assembled on this thread, I have a business idea for you.

    Imagine a slightly redesigned version of The Device that carries those ludicrous plastic champagne flute skiffs, common to Lord’s, to which I referred in one of my pieces a few years ago:


    Emblazon said Posh Devices with the legend “Lord’s – The Home of Cricket” or some such.

    Get the Lord’s bars and shops to sell each “Posh Device” for, say, £95 a pop. Anything under £100 is small change to the champagne-swilling, Lord’s-going classes, I assure you.

    You should be able to turn a tremendous profit for yourselves and for the MCC this way.

    I ask nothing for this exceptional idea beyond my regular percentage; 10% of the gross.

    Don’t just sit there reading in awe; get chipping.

    1. This sounds like a great idea, Ged. The Posh Device could be fashioned out of willow for that ‘I’m getting something special for my money’ appeal and thus worthy of the £95 tag. I felled a very large willow tree last year (which, alarmingly, came back on me and nearly wiped me out. Perhaps it didn’t want to be cut down), so I can provide the wood at my regular percentage; 10% of the gross plus additional charges for large vats of linseed oil for that traditional finish. I can also provide a team to undertake careful knocking-in of said device with old leather cricket balls, but latest talks reveal they insist on 10% of the gross plus additional charges for balls that have accrued 80 overs status.

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