As cricket crowds (partially) return – what’s it been like to be in the stands at Lord’s this week?

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Regular King Cricket contributor Ged Ladd writes…

I know I am one of the luckiest Test match spectators in the world; within walking distance of and with ready access to Lord’s. I was among the first spectators to see a Test in England in 2021.

The first Lord’s Test was billed as a MCC members-only affair, with just 25% of the ground available due to Covid. Members normally have a “licence to rove” throughout the members’ areas. This year we had to apply for and then choose a socially-distanced seat, anywhere around the ground, weeks in advance. 

I imagined the Mound Stand to be among the least popular stands in the ground for members in these unprecedented “choose a seat” times, so I chose a seat up front in that stand for day one.

Here is a photo of my prepared pile of stuff for the solo outing. The food bag contained a simple picnic of smoked salmon bagel, finger salad, assorted nuts and some fruit.

I was expecting to report to you about a stand populated by disgruntled crusties, in exile from the regular members’ stands, bemoaning the Covid rules that led to their exile. But it turned out that The Mound was so despised by members that many seats there were not taken up, enabling Lord’s to sell a smattering of seats to non-members.

Thus, apart from one friendly MCC member of Kiwi origin, Danny, who had made a similar calculus to me in the matter of location, everyone else within socially-distanced chatting radius was a regular fan who might normally be found in that stand.

A chap called Richard was there with his daughter; both very keen cricket-lovers. A pair of very friendly and increasingly blotto blokes from Hertfordshire, Steve and Simon, were even singing the Jimmy Anderson Song at full, croaky pelt by the end of the day.

I’ll venture to stands closer to the holy-of-holies on days two and three…

…then to Edgbaston for a contrasting vibe.

With any luck, given King Cricket’s publication timetable, the pandemic will be history by the time you read most of my “Live Cricket In The Time of Covid” reports.

22 comments

    1. If you like my King Cricket pieces, Dave, this is a happy day for you, as it is enabling me to get some writing done; some for this site.

      If my weather app and eye for radar images is anything to go by, there’ll be a break in the rain that will get everyone excited early/mid-way through the afternoon session, but only providing enough time to frustrate before another smaller band of rain holds up proceedings until around tea.

      I am hoping, realistically, that we’ll get an extended evening session. Any more than three hours late in the day will be a bonus.

      Fear not, I’ll be there and reporting for you unless the wave of poor weather turns around and comes back the other way later today.

      1. Already bracing for the post modern pile-up of a King Cricket match report built around King Cricket comments about itself before it had even existed. And perhaps even referencing King Cricket comments about the prospect of such a thing happening.

      2. Fantastic news, Ged.
        I’m not sure whether I enjoyed the selfie or the match report the most.

  1. Typical London weather today I see.

    Meanwhile, I’ve just had an ice cream here in (the Costa del) Salford.

  2. Sadly, my optimistic realism (born of the radar images and predictions on three weather websites) has come to nought, as all three sites have changed their predictions now – expecting the rain to persist until 17:00/ 18:00.

    I am updating my “prospects of play” percentage to, approximately, zero, give or take 1%.

    1. Hold on – that radar pattern does not look as dreadful as the sites are suggesting.

      Maybe just maybe we’ll get a little tiny weenie bit of play late in the day after all.

      I’m sticking around “in town”, with hope but frankly not expectation. Meanwhile this is as nothing compared with Edgbaston 2012, as reported by both me and Nigel “Father Barry”:

      https://ianlouisharris.com/2012/06/08/long-to-rain-over-us-england-v-west-indies-edgbaston-days-one-and-two-7-8-june-2012/

      Nigel’s elegiac piece (linked at the end of mine) is masterful by comparison (in my view), but really they work as a pair, with my piece bowling the first metaphorical over and his taking the metaphorical literary wickets.

    1. You saw the overnight score at the end of Day One, Sam. That’s not a sandpaper score.

      The cheap flimsy masks do not work well with me, nor with others who share my physiognomy. And after all, no-one wants to look ridiculous.

      1. Finished it Day Two. Book review for this site already half writ.

        **Spoiler alert** you might want to splash the cash on the book ahead of my review being published here, Edwardian.

  3. Ollie Robinson could claim a unique record here – what’s the most number of wickets taken by a bowler in his only Test?

    1. 11 – Charles Marriott (and Praveen Jayawickrama, but presumably he isn’t done)

  4. Wagner’s reaction to taking England’s 9th wicket today would probably warrant a whole blogpost/article of its own in less busy times.

    1. Well done.

      But I’m 100% sure that Leicestershire will not beat Middlesex at Lord’s in this summer’s reverse fixture.

  5. England should have gone for a win here. It was a reasonable target on a pitch that is still pretty good to bat on.

  6. And there’s Robinson suspended.

    Expecting them to bring Craig Overton in to replace him without blinking an eyelid.

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