Z/Yen Awayday At Lord’s, Cricket Academy & Then Middlesex v Surrey, 30 June 2009

The first part of this story is unquestionably the most interesting part: The Day Garfield Sobers Watched Me & Z/Yen Play Cricket – click here.

Which is a shame in a way, because really the whole day was spectacularly good and enjoyable for the Z/Yen team.

After our morning session in the Lord’s Cricket Academy, during which Garry Sobers watched us play cricket…have I mentioned that point before?…

…perhaps the rest of the day’s story is best told by way of a photo diary, with thanks to Monique Gore for the photographs…

…luncheon in the Sir Pelham Warner Restaurant…
…then we retired to our box in the Tavern Stand, courtesy of Middlesex CCC…
…a very relaxing afternoon…
…Jez and I provided informal tours of the Lord’s pavilion for those who were keen to see it…
…the field of play as seen from the pavilion sun deck…
…Monique on that sun deck…
…even the Middlesex score was smiling upon us…

All of the photos from the day can be found here.

The scorecard from the match can be found here.

I have only one abiding memory from the afternoon, other than those captured in the photos above and me sinking into a glorious oblivious haze of relaxation arising from exercise, food and wine. Owais Shah’s agent, John E Barnett, for some reason “joined” us in our box for quite time, waxing lyrical about his boy Owais, enjoying our afternoon tea hospitality and watching Owais Shah himself score a top notch century.

The Day Garfield Sobers Watched Me & Z/Yen Play Cricket, Lord’s, 30 June 2009

It hardly seems possible, but there is Garry Sobers and there are we Z/Yen folk too, this photograph and all those that follow in this piece with thanks to Monique Gore

Sadly, I never got to see Sir Garfield (“Garry”) Sobers play live, in person. I saw one or two performances at the very end of his career on the TV – I remember avidly following the first test of the 1973 series between England and the West Indies – but never live, in person. In his pomp, he was surely one of the very greatest all-round cricketers ever.

Even more sadly/ironically/inappropriately, I am here to report that Sir Garfield Sobers has suffered the indignity of watching me and the Z/Yen team playing live, in person, at Lord’s.

It happened like this.

Middlesex County Cricket Club had very kindly offered me a Lord’s box for a day of County Championship cricket, as a thank you for some pro bono work I was doing with the club at that time. I decided to organise a Z/Yen awayday to take advantage of the box, including booking out half of the Lord’s Cricket Academy for a couple of hours. Of course Z/Yen had to pay for everything other than the box, so it was quite an expensive freebie in the end, but well worth it.

Linda’s e-mail to the team sets out the itinerary for the day:

As the day is approaching, I thought you should have an itinerary of the Z/Yen Away Day to Lord Cricket Ground (Home of Cricket) on Tuesday, 30 June 2009.

9.30-9.45 Arrive at Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London NW8 8QN.  Map:  http://www.lords.org/findus.html

10.00       Lesson and game with James Fielding

13.00       Lunch at the Sir Pelham Warner Restaurant retiring to Tavern’s Stand, Box E to watch Middlesex V Surrey

16.30       Afternoon Tea

In the end our lesson and game was mostly organised by Jamie Thorpe, not James Fielding.

Jamie Thorpe helping Becky to sort out her protective gear, which seemed to take longer than her actual cricket session…
…then Jamie tried to work on Becky’s batting technique. At no point did any of us hear Jamie say, “stick to the flute, Becky.”

I had told Richard Goatley (then Deputy Chief Executive of Middlesex) about our plans. He told me he had a meeting that morning but it should be finished in time for him to pop round and have a look at us in the Academy.

What Richard didn’t say in advance was that his morning meeting was with Garfield Sobers and that Richard had resolved to try and bring Sobers along with him.

What Richard didn’t know in advance was that he and Sobers would bump into the legendary former Middlesex player and coach, Don Bennett, while on the way to the Academy to see us.

Richard picks up his side of the story from there:

I can remember…
…you were bowling in a bandana.
When Don Bennett saw your first ball Don said, “oh Jesus, I’m done” and started to walk away.
Sobers said, “cmon Don, watch a little”, but Don left pretty quickly afterwards.

The photographic evidence suggests that I was indeed bowling in a bandana…
…quite possibly at Jez…looks straight enough…

I’d have had Don Bennett know that I once took a hat trick with my slow right arm “filthy but straight” bowling at school.

Anyway, Sobers was a far more discerning observer of Z/Yen cricket than “The Don”…or at least far more polite, as he did stick around for a good twenty minutes or so; longer in fact than Richard Goatley.

Then Sobers watched the youngsters who were playing in the other half of the Academy for a while, then at the end of it all stuck around for the youngsters and then us to have photos taken with him. What a delightful gentleman he is.

All the Z/Yen folk who played that day…
…then a few of us also photographed with Garry Sobers. Magic.

All of the photographs from the day can be found by clicking here.

Richard Goatley still likes to milk this story and frankly so do I. Having Garry Sobers watch us play is one of those very special cricketing memories that I shall never forget.

The rest of the day was very special too, as reported in this – click here – separate Ogblog piece.

Worms Party, Sandall Close, 27 June 2009

Phillie loved a birthday party, but by 2009 the zest for a big do with lots of old friends had passed. But 2009 did mark Pauline’s 80th, so we arranged a small, just family evening in Janie’s garden.

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What could possibly go wrong on 27 June? Well, for one thing, the weather turned locally awful on us that late afternoon and evening. While some parts of London got away with it, Ealing copped huge amounts of rain. We braved it in the garden for a while between showers until a heavy deluge came, which led to our retreat indoors.

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There are some pictures from that do, but the indoor ones (most of them) have more red eye than a New York to London overnight flight.  Click here to see them in Flickr.

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I made up a pretty decent play list for that do, one of my earlier efforts, but it still sounds pretty good on the old iTunes – here’s a pdf of it: Worms Party 2009 pdf.

There are a few in jokes and references on that list. Firstly, a lot of jazz from 1929, which was the year of Pauline’s birth. Secondly, more Barry White than you might expect on one of my playlists; Phillie was especially partial to the Walrus of Love. Thirdly, rather a lot of Neil Young. That is because Neil Young was playing in Hyde Park that night. Tony, Chris and I had secretly plotted to sneak off to see “The Youngster” if Pauline played up at all. She didn’t play up and/or we didn’t have the courage to mutiny, beyond the knowing grins and glances when the Neil Young tracks came around.

 

 

 

Middlesex v Essex T20, Lord’s, Followed By Artemis Quartet, Wigmore Hall Lates, 26 June 2009

I often say that there are only two places remaining on earth where staff and stewards still call me “young man”: Lord’s and the Wigmore Hall.

So what better places to celebrate Janie’s birthday than both of those august institutions?

We’d probably booked the Wigmore Hall late night concert before we knew/realised that Middlesex were to play Essex in the T20 tournament at Lord’s that evening. Low marks to the cricket authorities for demographic matching for scheduling that fixture at that venue that night, but they probably won’t make that mistake again in a hurry.

Anyway, Charley “The Gent” Malloy was keen to see that fixture and suggested (once he knew it was Janie’s birthday and that we had a later evening engagement at “The Wig”), that we make that match a couples outing,  with Dot (Mrs Malloy) up for the idea of a T20 game and a picnic at Lord’s. So that’s what we did.

Cricket

Chas and Dot were able to get to Lord’s early, so they established a good spot at the front of the Tavern Stand for us. Their hopes and expectations for the match (as Essex supporters) were much higher than ours as Middlesex supporters. Essex had been doing well in the tournament that year, whereas Middlesex, despite being champions, had been consistently poor. So much so, I had written a scathing “futurology” MTWD match report of the Hampshire away match earlier in the week, before that match even took place.

But of course, as fate would have it, Middlesex played a rare decent match and spoiled Chas and Dot’s fun a bit:

Here is a link to the scorecard.

But it clearly only spoiled their fun a bit, as Chas said in a note the following Monday:

That was a super evening last Friday at Lords with all of us there; it was an absolute delight, although I suspect that the loss by Essex cost them dearly!

Music

The Wigmore Late concert was a real treat for Janie; she loves a bit of Piazzolla and this was a concert full of the stuff.

Here is a link to an interesting article from The Telegraph explaining why this quartet likes playing Piazzolla.

Dying for a Piazzolla?

It was a lovely concert.

It had been a long evening; I recall us going back to the flat feeling very tired but also very happy.

The End Of A Bridge Era, Maz’s House, 25 June 2009

Between a date yet to be excavated, I’m pretty sure in 1989, and this date in 2009, I played occasional “kitchen table” bridge with friends. Occasional, by which I mean a few times a year.

Maz (Marianne Tudor-Craig) was there at the very first and the very last of these sessions. The first one was at Daniel’s (Daniel Scordel’s) house near Wandsworth Common.

Many people came and went over that 20 year period. Maz, me and Andrea (Dean) were the most regular players throughout the period.

The bridge was only part of the deal; there would always be a decent meal to make the evening as much a social event as a game evening.

The 25 June 2009 evening was at Maz’s house. The other players that night were Andrea and Barmy Kev (Kevin Ziants).

I’m not sure why this long, occasional tradition petered out that night. There was no particular reason to think that it would. Barmy Kev was a recent addition and is for sure a much better player than the rest of us, so perhaps his enthusiasm waned quickly. Also, Maz was soon to change her life with Steve; perhaps by then she had decided that she wanted to take bridge more seriously than me and Andrea.

I didn’t play again until an even more occasional phase with another group, starting in October 2015.

Anyway, this 25 June evening was very pleasant – we had a good meal and reasonably good bridge as I recall it.

My most abiding memory of the evening, though, was putting on my car radio on the way home and learning that Michael Jackson had died that day. So the evening was the end of an era in more ways than one.

Hampshire v Middlesex T20 Match, MTWD Futurology Match Report, 23 June 2009

In what appears to have been a first (and mercifully last) attempt to produce an MTWD match report before the match took place, Ged produced the following piece for MTWD.

Hawks Prove Too Much For Panthers – click here.

Just in case anything ever happens to MTWD, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – Hawks Prove Too Much For Panthers

The reason I did this, I suspect, was that the match was a televised match and we hadn’t managed to find someone to commit to writing a post match report. Also, of course, because Middlesex were predictably awful in the T20 tournament that year, despite having won it the year before.

Here is a link to the predictably awful scorecard.

It certainly says something about commentator predictability and cliche, as the MTWD piece and the comments below it attest. King Cricket lovers will no doubt appreciate the sentiments.

Calefax, Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concert, 22 June 2009

After all the excitement of the cricket World Twenty20 finals yesterday,  we’d booked a day off the following day and a lunchtime concert at “The Wig”.

Calefax, the Dutch reed quintet, performing their (Raaf Hekkema’s) arrangement of the Goldberg Variations.

The concert was lovely. Different, but lovely.

It was a BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concert – not currently available on iPlayer at the time of writing but you never know unless you click here.

Still, if you want to hear a snippet, you need look no further than the Quodlibet below.

England Women v New Zealand Women and Pakistan v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 Finals Day, Lord’s, 21 June 2009

My nonchalant box-ticking months earlier…

…”why not? Yes, by all means put my name in the ballot for pairs of debenture returns”…

…led to a very polite letter from the MCC, letting me know that, if I had really meant it, there were indeed ballot returns available for me, both for the last regular Sunday of the tournament and for this finals day.

“That would be absolutely spiffing,” I inferred, not by using those exact words, but by ticking some more boxes and writing a fairly substantial Gregory Peck.

Excellent value for my minimal effort and the money.

We had similar debenture seats for finals day as we had for the previous Sunday, just a little more central in the Grandstand. As the previous week, we were sitting very close to John McCririck. Actually, the previous week we had sat close to…”you know, that eccentric bloke who does racing, adverts and stuff on the TV”. I had to Google him between time to discover his name.

We certainly wanted to see the women’s World Twenty20 final – that was a big part of the excitement for us, especially as England had qualified for the final. So we set off in good time to catch the start of the first match – this also enabled us to avoid any crush at the gates. Daisy did the picnic again, I’m pretty sure, as we were in Sandall Close that weekend. I think she went more for a bangers and nibbles picnic this time, with the previous week’s having been a more sandwich-based affair. But it might have been the other way around.

I had managed to catch a fair chunk of the England Women v Australia Women semi-final on the TV on the Friday. I thought the Aussie girls had scored plenty but England batted beautifully that day.

On finals day, it was the England bowling that shone through – taking advantage of morning conditions to bowl. Not an enormous crowd for the women’s final, sadly, but a decent number of us turned up to support. The ground started to fill up as the match progressed.

Here’s the scorecard from the women’s final.

It was a great feeling to witness live the England Women win a World Final at Lord’s.

Daisy wears one for the girls (some months later) – thanks to Kim for the picture

For the men’s final, what had been the empty seat next to mine was taken by a young Asian gentleman from Birmingham who was supporting Pakistan. He got more and more excited as the match unfolded and was in a state of great euphoria by the end.

In truth, it wasn’t a very exciting match. The Sri Lankan score always seemed below par and at no point did the Sri Lankan bowlers seem capable of containing the Pakistan batsmen.

Here is the scorecard from the men’s final.

We left Lord’s and wandered over to Harry Morgan’s to wait for a cab in comfort with a coffee. Cars were driving around St John’s Wood hooting horns, hollering Urdu chants and waving Pakistan flags. I don’t suppose the residents of NW8 had ever seen anything like it before.

Thus ended my four days at Lord’s in less than a fortnight (which started here). I must say that these short-form International cricket matches make so much more sense to me in the context of a multi-country tournament than they do when they are simply a string of bilateral matches. I had enjoyed a couple of excellent midweek days with friends and a couple of super Sundays with Daisy. Well satisfied, I was.

Ireland v Sri Lanka and England v India, ICC World Twenty20, Lord’s, 14 June 2009

Back to Lord’s for the third time in a week (or my fourth double-header in six days, if you also count the Orange Tree Theatre double-bill the night before).

The reason for my ICC World Twenty20 excess is explained in the first of my pieces about attending the tournament – here.

This time Daisy is with me and I am pretty sure that she took on the picnic duties for this visit as we would have been in “the country residence” (Sandall Close) the night before.

We got to see two really good matches, as well as enjoy a good picnic:

  • Ireland v Sri Lanka – one of those matches where you always felt that the giant-killer/underdog (Ireland) was still in the hunt, yet sensed that Sri Lanka would eventually overcome them, which they did – click here for the scorecard;
  • England v India – a very exciting match, which England somehow managed to win, despite the sense that India would eventually overcome England’s seemingly below par score – click here for the scorecard.

We watched from the dizzy heights of debenture seats in the Grandstand, my “prize” for ticking a box requesting a shot at a ballot for a pair of debenture returns. These seats were not too far away from the Warner Stand seats I’d sat in earlier that tournament – that Warner side of the Grandstand and a lot higher of course.

My favourite memory from this day was Ravi Bopara’s six, which was caught in a beer skiff by one of the pair of gentlemen sitting next to Daisy in the Grandstand, splashing (mercifully little) beer all around us.

I have just looked up the BBC on-line commentary for that six – click here – which reports that the ball went into the Grandstand (last ball of the fifth over) and then simply says for the start of the next over “Umpire de Silva calls for a new ball”. What actually happened was that, after our neighbour returned the beer-sodden ball, both umpires had a poke at the ball and then a sniff at it, before deciding that the ball was no longer of the requisite quality. Our little section of the crowd, which knew exactly what had happened, took great pleasure in all that.

That England win kept England’s hopes alive for more than 24 further hours, until a rain-affected night match against the West Indies at the Oval proved a bridge too far for England.

But that Sunday, concluding with an unexpected England win, was a very happy day at the cricket.

Sing To Me Through Open Windows by Arthur Kopit & The Private Ear by Peter Shaffer, Orange Tree Theatre, 13 June 2009

In the midst of all those ICC World T20 cricket double bills (two visits to Lord’s that week and another visit the next day lined up)…

…ironically, a double header at The Orange Tree.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree stub for the two productions.

I was familiar with the Shaffer, having read it (I think I might also have seen a TV film version of it), but I was not at all familiar with the Kopit.

Frankly, I could have done without the Kopit. It all felt so obscure I’m not sure I can even describe it to you. Beckett with even less action?

Had it been up to Daisy and/or had I not been familiar with the Shaffer, we might have left at half time and taken our Spanish meal at Don Fernando early. But I really wanted to see the Shaffer and we both agreed afterwards that the Shaffer had been well worth the wait.

I can’t find reviews by the usual suspects for this double bill. Perhaps Michael Billington was spending too much time at Lord’s and not enough time at the theatre that week. Or perhaps my web searching isn’t up to it for double bills.