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Ged Ladd writes…
Charley the Gent and I had not seen live cricket together since late season 2019. The ridiculously long interval was not exactly my fault, although Charley griped about it several times during the first hour in the style of a grudge.
But soon the pleasures of a May day at Lord’s softened Chas’s mood… as did the new padded benches in the pavilion – the rump ire of the past now largely averted.
Behind us, a couple of old fogeys, unaware that the softer seating should soften their hearts, maintained the pavilion users’ tradition of irritability, whinging about the new stands.
“They look hideous… cost a ridiculous amount of money… seating’s not fit for purpose, apparently…” were a few of the phrases we heard.
“I like the look of them. Have you tried sitting in the new stands yet?” asked Charley.
“Only the very front of the new Lower Compton,” I said. “Not sure what it’s like up top. Today’s the first day the weather has seemed suited for giving it a try.”
“Looks a long walk up,” said Charley, contemplating the hike.
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lift we can use,” I said, which was enough encouragement for us to explore that side soon after an alcohol-free lunch, which centred around a mixture of wild Alaskan salmon and smoked trout bagels.
Charley and I struggled to work out what the old fogeys meant by “not fit for purpose”.
The lifts enable far more people to access the top of the new stands. The sight lines are excellent, so there is barely a restricted view in the whole stand. The wind tunnel effect of the old lower stands has been mitigated by design. There are far more seats, enabling the MCC to recoup the cost more quickly and enabling more people to watch cricket live at Lord’s on big match days. Each seat is more comfortable – i.e. padded and bigger – than the old stand seats.
“Do you want to go back round to the pavilion?” I asked, as the sun started to go down and the chill of a May late afternoon started to set in.
“No thanks,” said Chas. “It’s glorious watching from here.”