Straight Outta the New Upper Compton – a match report

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Send your match reports to We’re only really interested in the experience, so if it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. (Conversely, if it’s an amateur match, please go into excruciating detail.)

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.”


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


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  1. 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. . . Could be the opening lines of an Edwardian novel. Chapeau.

    1. Let’s crowd source the first chapter with Edwardian’s permission.

      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. She looked slightly startled, as if her carefully laid plans was about to go waste. Lifting her eyes slowly, she met Ged’s gaze with the usual charm. “What’s the hurry? We are about to witness a murder after all”.

      Next up: Sam.

      1. That’s an absolutely incredible cliffhanger and also an absolute hospital pass in this context.

        We are so excited to see how this pans out.

      2. [On as a sub for Sam.]

        Ged laughed loud and long – so loud and long that play was stopped while the sound screens were adjusted. “Well, my dear”, said Ged, “when I said I could murder a pint or two, I meant in the pavilion itself.” The truth was, a combination of May sunshine and a bottle of Grüner Veltliner had induced Ged to forget the fair lady’s name, if he had ever really known it in the first place. And now, as he watched Charley the Gent finally return from a lengthy circuit of the grounds, arm in arm with Daisy, he realised his embarrassment was about to be heightened, as he would need to effect some introductions – and explanations.

        Next up: Bert

      3. “Ah, there you are, old girl,” a voice behind Ged spoke, “Sorry for delay, but I got detained in the pavilion by some dry old stick who furnished me with a glass of red wine. The wine was the wrong side of the slopes but I admired its impertinence.” Sir Laurence Elderbrook came into the frame and eyed Ged with curiosity. “Oh, that’s alright,” said Lady Elderbrook, “Mr Ladd has been very gracious.” Ged was now spared the embarrassment of not knowing the name of the woman who had nonchalantly asked him how easy it would be to steal The Ashes, but this relief was quickly tempered by contempt for his old school bully. “Good Lord, if it isn’t Ladd,” said Elderbrook. Charlie and Daisy awaited introductions, Daisy with a smile, Charlie with a scowl.

    1. Well of course it is a one minute skim…a one minute cantor. But if you were to choose instead to savour the multi-layered, impressionistic and post-modern aspects of the work, Sam, you would find yourself spending many minutes on it.

      Did you even notice, Sam, that this masterwork is a companion piece to the tardily published 2014 narrative poem “Straight Outta The Upper Compton”?:

      Did you notice Sam, during your one minute canter, the occasional nod to the Lancastrian roots of this website – Cardus in some of the words and Lowrie in the form of the matchstick men style image from the giddy heights of the new Upper Compton?

      And has anyone other than me noticed the almost unprecedented speed with which my copy has become a published article on this website? What’s going on?

      1. I’m pretty sure I’m still awaiting publication of a match report from Taunton from about a year ago.

      2. If it’s any consolation, yours is the oldest of the reports we flagged as being important and then completely lost sight of before finding again just now. We are however reassured to know that our policy of losing and completely failing to publish things isn’t necessarily a deterrent if that more recent email from you is something similar. (We haven’t opened it yet.)

        Rest assured that the first one has now made it to the secondary limbo of ‘drafts’.

      3. No, wait, that’s the wrong one. What we actually just rediscovered was all the old match reports we’ve previously uploaded but for some reason still had flagged in our inbox.

        We’ve emailed you…

      4. KC is actually still sitting on one of my match reports from 1982, Sam, so I wouldn’t take it personally.

        You, Sam, are undoubtedly a member, as am I, of the King Cricket Writers’ Club, with its apposite Latin motto Qui Scribit Intrat.

  2. Not wishing to spoil what is otherwise a very excellent match report, but unless I’m very much mistaken, that second photograph is very clearly actual cricket. Using the standard picture-to-word conversion factor, that’s 1,000 words of actual cricket out of 364, which is a very high ratio.

    Maybe things have changed round here during my sabbatical, but this is an egregious breach, possibly the worst ever. I was due to take my mid-morning nap around now, but after this I will definitely replace it with having to go and lie down. O tempora, o etc…

    1. Please rest easy, Bert.

      Naturally I had the matter carefully checked with my attorney before submitting my piece. The term “mention” requires the use of actual words, not the metaphorical ones that pictures paint. Indeed the very phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” tells us that there is a conversion rate between two different things; pictures are not words and pictures are not, in themselves, mentions.

      Ideally I would also have put the question to ethics advisor, but unfortunately that role currently has a vacancy. nevertheless I am certain that my piece sticks to both the spirit and the letter of the “no mentions of cricket” rule.

      Most importantly, and to be absolutely clear, no line has been crossed.

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