Category: Regulars (page 1 of 36)

A near-streak match report from Lord’s from when England played India

Edwardian writes:

I had stayed in London the night before, so got to Lord’s early. I was frisked by a security chap who was pouring with sweat.

“Blimey, mate,” I said. “You’ve been on it.”

He replied: “It’s the menopause” – a line I suspect he was using liberally.

After a saunter and a coffee I got to my seat in the front row of the Edrich Lower Tier. I was pleased to find that I was sitting one seat away from the same man that I had sat next to at the Pakistan Test. We shook hands, pleased at the coincidence.

Just before start of play a slightly flushed and haughty woman told me I was sitting in her seat.  She was right and I told her not to panic. I moved down the line and settled down again.

I blamed my simple seating mistake on feeling a bit spaced out after drinking liberal amounts of wine in a Spanish restaurant in Farringdon on Friday night and then more wine back at the hotel where I met a young buck who was getting married in St. Paul’s Cathedral the next day. He said he was getting married there because, “my old man broke the land speed record.”

I wondered what the criteria was for getting married in St. Paul’s and suspected that my 1993 cycle ride from Worcester to the Forest of Dean on a 1925 Triumph road racer with inverted lever brakes in heavy traffic probably wouldn’t cut the mustard.

I found out that the woman seated to my left lived in the same area of Norfolk where I spent my childhood.

At the start of play I put TMS (Test Match Special) in my ear and was pleased that I had got a Saturday ticket under clear skies.

My companion to my right was quiet until I decided to take my shorts off. I’m not bashful about these things.

“Are you going to do a streak?” he exclaimed.

I dispelled the possibility after a few seconds of thought. (I was well placed to do a dash from the front row and the steward was nodding off behind his sunglasses). It was cold.  I wriggled into the jeans and shoes I was wearing the night before. It wasn’t a day for flip-flops.

My lunch was two rounds of Co-op ham and mustard sandwiches washed down with one of my half-bottles of claret which I keep aside for cricket matches.

Someone behind me said, “He’s drinking red wine, this rosé is gay.”  A positive appraisal, no doubt, in times gone by.

At one point in the afternoon, a lazy stream of spilled cider made its way down from our right, soaking the bottom of our bags. Squeezing the bottom of my bag and smelling it I said to the man on my right: “That’s cider, mate, definitely cider.”

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 Australia ODI at Cardiff – an overview of food, beer and men in odd shirts

Tom writes:

Having not been to Sophia Gardens before, I was a little unsure what to expect. However, having been to international matches before, I knew that I would be at least £60 less well off before I started.

Nevertheless, we got in, only to find out they can’t serve until 10am. There was a man with a watch there to enforce it.

We made the mistake of going to the first bar we found: Foster’s or Strongbow. I wanted something vaguely resembling beer, so cans of John Smith’s it was.

£5 each, plus £1 glass deposit.

What?

We mooched around the ground and found bars that sold a better standard of drink (more fool us).

We came across the team playing 5-a-side. That clearly meant a late start – not that anyone bothered to announce it.

A glance at the Guardian site informed me that the toss was delayed because of the rain. Why do you need to delay a toss? It went ahead shortly and Australia elected to bowl – as you would unless your surname was Hussain or Ponting.

I avoided the food because it was ridiculous – right up until I seriously had to eat. I bought a hot dog which was a shade under the £6 everything else was. It was just about edible.

A man had an odd shirt on who sat on the steps.

We won with plenty to spare and so back we went to our conveniently located hotel.

I had to go to Brussels the next day so other than a couple of pints round Cardiff, hoping to run into Gladstone Small, Mike Gatting or anyone, I called it a night.

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.


Essex v West Indies indoctrination of a young mind match report

Dan writes:

My seven year old son looks a demon with the bat in his hands in the back garden, and he actually pays attention when the cricket’s on the TV. He seems to reserve special interest for the Test matches, which is very pleasing.

So this summer we signed him up at the local cricket club (can I give Rankins of Rochford, Essex, a plug and a thank you?) as part of the ECB’s All Star Cricket programme for 5 to 8 year olds. He loved it.

I loved that one of the coaches was very encouraging of the high elbow when playing straight – something I tried to instil in the boy in the back garden, due to my aesthetic love of the straight drive. A good one really can make me tingle.

The ECB threw in some extra benefits, such as child +1 freebie tickets to see the county play. We got a pair for Essex against the touring West Indies side before the Test series started.

I had a plan to keep him from getting bored during the long day and the morning session went very well.

Watching the opening spell, there was a very amusing small group of West Indians being marvellously vocal for such an event. They did make everyone smile. All day long.

We ate the packed lunch early, so we could get the boy on the outfield for a bit of coaching with the young lads from the Essex Academy.

The young ‘All Stars’ had a whale of a time out there, and even the rain couldn’t stop them.

They did get told off by the announcer – “I’ve told you once!” – when asked to clear the outfield for the start of afternoon play.

The plan for the afternoon was to walk around the ECG to enjoy different vantage points and views. And, of course, buy some surprisingly reasonably priced branded stationery and a belated score card and programme from the club shop.

Before we knew it I was embarrassing myself giving him some throw downs during tea.

Assuming he’d be bored by now, I’d prepared the wife to expect us home for dinner. But one portion of chips later, scorecard on his lap and pencil at the ready, he sat transfixed by the evening session.

You can’t imagine how happy it made me as someone desperate to have a conversation in my own home about cricket that elicits more than a weary wife’s sigh and how much of a success the day was in terms of indoctrination of a young mind.

If we have more young people like this out there, Test cricket will survive at least one more generation.

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.


Leo being conspicuously indifferent to tickets to Ireland’s first men’s Test match

Chuck says that Leo’s indifferent to everything except food.

The tickets were used for this match.

If you’ve got a picture of an animal being conspicuously indifferent to cricket, send it to king@kingcricket.co.uk.


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.


Clive being conspicuously indifferent to Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s arrival and departure

Ged sent us a photo of Clive showing extreme indifference to the arrival of Shivnarine Chanderpaul at the crease.

This was during this season’s Essex match, so we asked Ged whether there were any signs of life in response to Shiv’s almost immediate departure.

Ged said: “Very similar lack of reaction to Shiv’s almost immediate departure.”

If you’ve got a picture of an animal being conspicuously indifferent to cricket, send it to king@kingcricket.co.uk.


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 cricket bat in the back of a van

Edwardian writes:

Here’s a conspicuous cricket bat in the back of a van.

Send your pictures of cricket bats and other cricket stuff in unusual places to king@kingcricket.co.uk


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.


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