Straight Outta the Upper Compton – a match report

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

Regular match reporter Ged Ladd titled this particular missive ‘The Hottest Day of the Year’ – which was dangerously vague of him given our famously laid-back attitude to publishing these things.

Fortunately, he did specify which year within the report itself.

Ged writes:

Some say that the second day of the July Lord’s Test is the hottest cricket ticket of the year. I’m not 100 per cent sure about that, but I am 100 per cent sure that July 18 was forecast to be the hottest day of 2014 – and so it turned out. 

I was running a little late, so I decided to cab it to Lord’s with my picnic (Shanks’s pony or cab being the only sensible options for Lord’s from my flat) in a vain attempt to get to Lord’s ahead of the crush at the North Gate. 

I got to my seat with about five minutes to spare, but had already received a text from my friend, Iain Spellright, that he would be a few minutes late.

Iain and I have worked together on and off since the late 1980s. When we ended up sitting in a business meeting again in 2011, I mentioned that this meant we had worked together across four decades. This made us both feel ancient as hell, which we aren’t really.

It was already pretty hot by the time Iain arrived. 

“It’s a scorcher,” I said. “Not sure I’d have chosen the Upper Compton for these conditions – seemed like a good idea in November.”  

“Yup, not sure I’ll manage a whole day in the sun – let’s see how it goes,” said Iain, who is a rather fair, pale-skinned fellow. 

At least my olive skin doesn’t burn, even if my blood is boiling. 

“Trouble with the train?” I asked, wondering why the normally prompt Iain had arrived later than usual. 

“No, trouble with the brain – I got halfway to the station, then realised that I had come out without my ticket.”

We decided to go easy on the wine given the intense heat, making my rather fruity bottle of Kiwi Riesling go a long way – even with the smoked salmon bagels and then, early in the second session of play,  Hanoi-style bánh mì sandwiches (my cricket picnic dish of the season, but new to Iain Spellright).  

The combination of wine, sandwiches and the hottest part of the day made both of us feel the need for some respite from the sun. In any case, I needed to pop around to the Middlesex Shop to collect some tickets for Scarborough, so we agreed to take separate strolls and return to the seats when we felt ready.  

On the way back to the seats, I ran into Uncail Marcas and one of his cricket-mad sons, who was absolutely thrilled because he’d just had his photo taken with Big Bob Willis. I admired the photo and related my “meeting Bob Willis” stories to a rapt audience. 

Given my chance encounter, I thought Iain might beat me back to the seats, but none of it – indeed as tea approached Iain had still not returned, but by around 3.20pm the sun had conveniently moved to allow the Grandstand to throw a shadow over our seats, as we were at that end of the Upper Compton. The shade and a slight breeze made the afternoon much more bearable. I texted Iain Spellright to inform him of the good news re the shade. 

Just before tea, the nice gentlemen sitting next to me asked me if I wanted anything while brought back at teatime. 

“If you find my mate, that would be nice,” I said. “I hope he is OK, he’s been gone a long while.” 

But more or less as I spoke, Iain reappeared and explained that he had taken some lengthy respite from the heat and had been drinking icy soft drinks in the shade while watching the match on a TV screen. 

“Oh great, it’s shady here now,” he said.

“I texted you that news about 15-20 minutes ago. Didn’t you see the text?” I queried. 

“No… In fact I still haven’t received it,” said Iain, checking his gizmo.

After stumps, I walked home with my near-empty picnic, the evening temperature being really quite pleasant and the opportunity to stretch my legs too good to miss. Around 9pm I received a text from Iain: “Thanks for a great day. Btw, your text about the shade has just arrived.”


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  1. Impressively tardy publication, even by your standards. Anyone would think it’s intentional.

  2. A nice breezy match report characteristic of the Ladd’s stable.

    Apropos of nothing, I find it quite extraordinary that the report was interrupted by an advertisement for The Lacy Bra, ‘Hey hey, check this Bra!’ Lauding the bra’s comfort and support, a ‘seamless cut’ almost suggested a stroke.

    1. Lingerie related cricket terms? I’m game. That Rishabh Pant was a late bloomer.

      1. Tino Vest
        Pant Botha
        Brief Streak
        Pantony McGrath
        Owais Bra
        Rory ‘Calvin’ Kleinveldt
        Pantie Hayward

        Yes I am working from home

      2. Nigel Thong?
        Subroto Banerjee-string
        Floyd B-Reifer
        Franklyn Stephensonderwear
        That’s all I’ve got. Poor.

    2. Ah, locked down and working from home. Given the love of the 90s around here, I’m surprised no-one came up with, for example, Knicker Knight or Gladstone Smalls.

      Disappointed, that’s all I’ll say, disappointed.

      Intrigued that Edwardian is having lingerie shoved in his face (as it were) by the cookie-cutting advertising algorithm. I am being offered various kinds of predictive analytics software. Proof, perhaps that one or two of us actually are WORKING from home!

      1. Speaking of predictive analytics, has anyone been watching ‘Devs’, the new drama from Alex Garland? Worth a gander if you want to feel even more depressed about the state of the world.

      2. My advertisement is from someone or something called “Max Workouts” on the topic of “Worst exercise for people over 40”, which has depressed me still further. I’d rather have pictures of lacy bras.

        “Gladstone Smalls“ was a good gag, though.

    1. No, I’m not “The” gentleman rhymer, JB, although I might be considered to be “a” gentleman rhymer, as evidenced by my canon of lyrics.

      Strangely, that YouTube link you placed there was published just 4 days before “Iain” and I sweated it out at Lord’s.

      The following example of mine might mean plenty to “Mr B”:

      Were I to be rapping in the Mr B stylee, we’d need to be in Middlesex rather than Surrey of course – Straight Outta Acton?

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