The background to the phenomenon of MTWD “lost masterpieces” is explained in this link – click here. In short, Sportnetwork permanently lost a swathe of published features from 2007.
But fear not; I tend to keep everything. So the following report, a visit to Lord’s with Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett, is available here for all to see.
I can think of at least two people who should still find this report interesting and amusing.
Middlebrook Mauls Middlesex
Ged Ladd reports on day one of the CC game against Essex at Lord’s. Ged’s guest, Charley “The Gent” Malloy, returns for more cricket this year. Charley, who last year was Durham to the core by the end of that day, turns out to be the quintessential Essex boy by the end of this day. But the worst performance was the weather forecaster – the only real shower was some of the afternoon bowling.
Fashionably Late, Again
At 10:10 Ged receives a text from his guest, Charley “The Gent” Malloy, stating that he as at Newbury Park tube but still hopes to get to Lord’s for the start of play. Some hope, thinks Ged, who sets off 5 minutes later, as planned, picnic in hand.
Ged arrives in time for the start of play and decides to go to the Upper Allen for a short time to watch while waiting for Charley. Ged bumps in to Gerry the Bookseller up there, who gets very excited at the thought that Charley is coming, as there’s always a chance of book business when Charley is around.
Charley arrives surprisingly quickly, before 11:15, so he and Ged decamp to the Pavilion to enjoy some “behind the bowler’s arm” stuff. From there, Silverwood’s LBWs looked pretty good to us – indeed Pettini could easily have gone LBW a couple of balls before he actually did go.
There was just a smidgeon of swing and the constant fall of wickets seemed odd given the flatness of the pitch. Silvers and Vaas bowled well, as did Murtagh before he pulled up.
I saw that Murtagh injury as a really ominous sign, even while the wickets were falling, but daren’t mention it to Charley who was weakening his pint of Pedigree by crying into it. Charley tried to remind me that he was a Durham man really, but I don’t fall for that stuff any more. He consoles himself with some sausages and sausage rolls as nibbles – very nice with the Pedi.
Everything went right for Middlesex in the morning. Ed Smith must have juggled Foster three or four times before holding on to the slip chance, for example.
Five down at lunch – what a great start for Middlesex. We’re told that Chester-Le-Street is rained off for the day.
We take luncheon in the Coronation Gardens. Pastrami and Swiss rolls washed down with a nice South African red. We watch some youngsters playing cricket on the lawn – as usual Charley can hardly hold himself back from joining in. Eventually the ball comes my way, so I indicate that I’d like to bowl it back. I bowl a piercing Yorker at the lad who digs it out very well. “Oh”, says the school master (straight from central casting in look and voice), “would you mind bowling him another?” Naturally I oblige; another Yorker, another good safe defensive shot. Charley looks well left out. “May my friend have a go?” I ask. “Of course,” says the school master. So Charley takes the heavy-rubber practice ball and bowls a bouncer, which the young batsman leaves to sail a couple of inches past his nose. “That’s what I was telling you about Andy Roberts” says the schoolmaster, “fiendish bouncers he bowled”. How can you bowl a bouncer at a kid like that? Charley’s problem is that he gets overexcited very easily, where cricket is concerned at least.
Lovely afternoon weatherwise
Given the weather forecast, and the fact it was clouding over, we thought we’d be lucky to see much cricket after lunch. But the tiny shower soon cleared and Middlesex took a quick wicket after lunch. Bichel joined Middlebrook and there they stayed for what seemed like ever.
We went to the bowlers bar and got chatting with some friends of mine – some more recent Lord’s acquaintances, some old friends from years gone by. We drank, we watched a bit, we wandered round to the Upper Edrich, we wandered round to the Mound Stand. We watched. We ate some more (smoked salmon rolls, ginger biscuits).
Charley, of course, became increasingly Essex as the day went on and as the game turned Essex’s way. Indeed, by the end he was telling me tales of bravery walking through Romford Estates at 3.00 a.m. or some such. I wasn’t really listening.
Bichel holed out as soon as he reached his well-deserved 100.
The new ball did nothing – indeed Kartik and Joyce were bowling with it by the close of play. Joyce had a big caught behind shout turned down.
So What Went Wrong for Middlesex?
Losing Murtagh right at the start was a huge blow. If only we could have finished Essex off when we had them on the ropes, but now this match looks like a tough one, unless we can post a monster first innings score. Frankly, there seems to be nothing in the wicket so perhaps that monster score is possible.
Rymps’ bowling looked well below par to me. Silvers, Vaas and Kartik all bowled well but three main bowlers ain’t enough. Kartik in particular I thought deserved more luck. Ben Scott looked woefully out of sorts behind the stumps. Most of the fielding was energetic and fine – the odd lapse but there usually is when in the field all day.
And you have to hand it to Middlebook, Bichel and latterly Tudor who batted well and made the most of the circumstances.
And of course the inspired captaincy of Pettini, not declaring on 97/6.
As always, of course, I still enjoyed my day at Lord’s. As I always say on these occasions, I cannot spend a day watching 1st class cricket and not enjoy it. And of course, as always, Charley “The Gent” and I have developed a cunning master plan for winning our “UnPro 40” match this year. Our plot last year was so successful (we won at a canter) we actually need an even more cunning plan this year to ensure that we win, but only just. Similarly, I don’t mind if Middlesex merely scrape a win out of this match now! Indeed, a 12 point draw would be fine from here.
If by any chance anyone is still reading and wishes to see the scorecard from this match, here is a link to that very card.