England v South Africa match report

Posted by
2 minute read

Our inbox is perilously close to empty. One of you better go to a cricket match or something.

D Charlton writes:

I have recently become an associate member of MCC. This means I can sit in the pavilion at Lord’s and watch all but the biggest match days. I can’t watch the first three days of the South African Test, for instance. So, on the Sunday I head to the Lord’s pavilion.

My dad is there early. He gets there early every day of every Test – he’s a full MCC member. He has many Test traditions – one is to get there early and bag seats for him and his mates.

There are no reserved seats in the pavilion, except at the front of the bottom level where, if you are over 80 and have been a member for over 40 years, you get your own seat. It is known as Death Row.

So my dad has bagged the seats and drunk the traditional half-bottle of rosé by the start. He’s sitting next to his traditional mates and there’s the same bloke sat in front of him. It’s tradition. My dad talks to this bloke all day – same age and shape (fat) – they discuss cricket, weather, politics and the Sunday Times. My dad has done this for the last five years and the entirety of this Test. He still doesn’t know the chap’s name. “It’s got too embarrassing, I can’t ask now,” he explains.

I squeeze in next to Dad. “Don’t sit there, you can’t, Derek always sits there. Don’t eat that, it’s not tradition. Don’t text your mates, you’ll get thrown out.” To annoy my dad, I take my tie off. Cue panic. “Good God, so embarrassing. Bloody yellow bookers.”

Yes. I am a yellow booker. My associate membership pass is a yellow book. The full member’s pass is red. Throughout the day I hear grumble after grumble about the ‘bloody yellow bookers’. Sunday is a yellow-booker day.

My younger brother joins us. He squeezes in next to Dad and is told off – not sure what for. He is also a yellow booker.

A woman sits down two rows in front. Collective tut.

My dad has a cunning plan. At the end of the game, he gives the bloke in front his business card and says: “Email me.” Following day, I get an email from dad – he’s forwarded a message from the bloke who sat in front. It’s signed: “All the best, HK Donnelly.”


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Goodmatch report, not one mention of on field action. However, you could do with more food references, though I feel this was more that made up for with an insight into the world of the pavilion, a place I imagine I will never see.

    I went for a curry last week, and in the pub afterward, they were showing a pro40 match. Does that count as a report?

  2. I fear it would just be a restaurant and pub review (both of which were excellent, so there. I just did it),

  3. The cricket’s NEVER on in the pub. They always have Luton v Swindon, or some other football match of earth-shattering importance on instead.

    I think the standards may have to be lowered to “I saw a cricket match on TV the other day…”.

  4. What about: ‘I can’t afford to see live cricket on TV but I caught the end of the highlights’?

  5. I had the Twenty20 final on at my sister’s house the other day while I was rewiring her phone sockets – is that any good?

  6. I only have the tie for days-off – when i go to Lord’s. I certainly don’t have it for work. It is strange that i have to be smarter to play than to work.

  7. Ed, that is more than good enough for a match report having just checked the inbox again.

  8. I bought tickets to the isixes and had my ticket refunded when the organisers found out the event was canceled via the papers.

    I bet that beats the lot of ya.
    Not one mention of the action,food or anything.

  9. I went to the Twenty20 match between South Africa and a PCA 11 at Wormsley yesterday. We had folding chairs and coffee and Millionaire Shortbread Squares which are so fattening that it was much harder to get up than sit down. The Bearded Wonder was the commentator and in a complete role reversal had to be corrected and prompted by a voice off. They kept forgetting to turn off the mic so we could hear them ‘discussing’ . The ground is a gem and the Red Kites overhead stunning. One end is called the ‘deer park end’ and they were impressive too.
    The ground was so soft that when a South African stopped a boundary by falling on the ball he had to kick it out of the turf and put back his divot.

  10. To be fair, depending on the South African in question, the ground might not have been that soft.

  11. Harry? Howard? Henry? Habib?

    He could just randomly say names periodically throughout the game and wait until the fat old man turns round.

  12. I reckon Harry or Henry would be a good guess. But surely Hugh is most likely.

    Habib would be a long shot, to be honest…

  13. The next time you find yourself in the Pavillion with HK (with or without your Dad) you could always introduce yourself to him. Then you could either be nice to your Dad and pass the information on, or sit smug in the knowledge that you know and he still can’t bring himself to ask.

  14. Very good point. I’ll mention that to dad.

    I sent him the link for this match report and he nearly forwarded it to his friend.
    Then he decided not to … thought it might be rude.

    He can be a bit dim.

  15. He could just call him Mr Donnelly. And introduce you saying “This is my son, D Charlton. D, this is Mr Donnelly”.

    EITHER: Mr Donnelly will say hello, in which case you and your dad can call him Mr Donnelly until the end of time.

    OR: He will say “dear chap, do call me Heraclitus/Horatio/Hannibal”.

  16. Sensible thinking. But i have now met him and not been introduced… so what to do…?

    I do hope it is Heraclitus.

  17. Not just an MCC member [associate] but a dynastic MCC member – oooh er D Charlton! So far the only other Durham supporting MCC member I have come across farms in Northumberland, one does not talk names in these conversations. He was not fat.

    A Hannibalesq MCC member now that would be interesting! I would recommend he be locked in a room with Charles Clark and the person at the BBC responsible for the sports budget.

    Red Kites! Red Kites – now that’s top cricket viewing ambience! I’m still hoping for a peregrine at the oval – those pigeons have got it coming!

  18. I am a Northumbrian. As is my dad – although he’s not a thin farmer.

    You’ve found me out, Neigbour, you win a prize from King Cricket.

  19. Having watched cricket for years – schoolboys club and everything else – I am only surprised that only half a bottle of rose was drunk before the start of the game – I would think 2 bottles. I feel you grossly under exaggerated the situation.

    As for the chap’s name, your father could put his arm round his shoulders, cry on him and weeping copiously tell him that he has forgotten not only his name but his own name that should do the trick!

Comments are closed.