Middlesex v Worcestershire Days 1 and 3 at Lord’s, Co-starring Ed Smith, 22 and 24 July 2008


I’m not sure when I was first approached by Ed Smith at Lord’s, but I am pretty sure it was on the first day of this match, 22 July, “The Longest Groundhog Day”, which I reported (mainly through MTWD) – click here for the Ogblog links.

Ed had been injured early in the T20 campaign – see my Ogblog about the day it happened here. As it turned out, the injury was a career ending injury, but at the time Ed was simply at a loose end around Lord’s hoping to recover quickly.

As I understand it, Richard Goatley suggested that Ed have a chat with me about stuff, possibly in part to clear the office at a crazy time (SGM day), possibly in part because he thought that Ed and I might not only find stuff to talk about, but even be able to tolerate each other while doing so.

First I knew of it was an SMS, which seemed to come from Ed Smith, suggesting we meet for a chat. At first I thought it was a joke/hoax (I was editing MTWD back then) but anyway it wasn’t a hoax. I did wonder whether Ed knew that I was MTWD’s Ged, but we never discussed the matter and (strangely) I have never asked Richard Goatley whether Ed was told/knew. I might ask Richard one day.

In any case, that Tuesday I was reporting for MTWD, but there was so much else going on I was able to fill my report with stuff and not feel that I was giving the readers short change by omitting the Ed Smith bits.

I recall a conversation about Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Ed had been asked to write a review of and/or comment upon The Black Swan. Ed said he was finding it impenetrable and asked if I had read it. I told him I had read it and recommended, as a way in to Taleb, Fooled By Randomness and the essay The Fourth Quadrant; the latter (in my opinion) being much shorter and much more to the point than The Black Swan.

A few months later, Ed wrote a piece (I think for The Times) about Lord’s being the only place on earth where you can strike up a random conversation about Nassim Nicholas Taleb and end up chatting with someone who knows as much, if not more, about Taleb than you do!


Originally there would have been no hope of getting to any more of the Worcestershire match, but in the event both of my Thursday business meetings were moved; in the case of the Z/Yen Board meeting brought forward to the Wednesday.

That enabled me to pick up a copy of Fooled By Randomness (we had a few) and take it to Lord’s with me for Ed on the Thursday. So as it turned out, I got to see two days of that match and spend a bit more time chatting with Ed Smith.

The only problem with that was the cricket, which was mostly seeing Middlesex getting beaten up by relatively lowly Worcestershire.

Here’s a link to the scorecard.

The MTWD reporter that third day, Southgate Emerald, is prone to call a spade a bleeding shovel; this day was no exception – click here.

I remember that I did watch the denouement of the Worcestershire match with Ed and I remember that we discussed whether the player’s minds were on topic or whether thoughts of Finals Day at the Rose Bowl were more to the fore. We also wondered whether the extra day’s rest would help Middlesex ahead of Saturday’s massive event. As I recall it, our combined wisdom concluded that we didn’t have a clue.

Sound judgement, that.

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