I needed to be back in London reasonably early on the 8th, so this time I went up the night before the start of my two days of cricket and drove back to London at the end of day two.
I had decided (following research some weeks before) to stay in West Bridgeford at The Beeches, for ease of parking and close access to the ground. I felt a slight chill through my back when I looked up the name of the place before setting off, realising that the name was very similar to The Beechwood in Birmingham, which I had recently unearthed for my “worst place we have ever stayed for cricket” piece. I am delighted to report that the resemblance between the two places was merely nominal.
A couple of men in suits saw me checking in with Luke the Baroq-ulele and suggested that I provide some musical entertainment for the evening. I told them that they would need to ply me with plenty of drinks before I’d attempt that, the idea of which didn’t seem to put them off. Mercifully, though, I managed to avoid them while I took dinner and saw them briefly enough on exit merely to wish them goodnight as I returned to my room for a little solo jam and reading before bedtime.
I used the gym and leisure facilities of the hotel first thing. After breakfast, a very pleasant short walk to the ground. We were hosted in hospitality suites at the Radcliffe Road end today, a very good view, similar to the pavilion but which made a nice change of aspect.
Quite a large group of people; many of the usual suspects plus an expert on American rural history, Mark Friedberger, who originally hails from England and mostly follows cricket over in the USA via the internet. Mark and I had a long chat about various subjects, including professors, e.g. Ronnie Frankenberg, whom we both knew. The outcome of that encounter was a long list of stuff for me to follow up as homework. That’s academics for you.
Cracking cricket, with Middlesex bowling out Notts for 241, probably below par, but then succumbing to a Jake Ball hat trick to be 0/3 off five balls. First time I had ever seen a professional hat trick live.
The Trent Bridge hospitality is very generous, so I wanted little in the evening and spent my time reading, writing and playing Luke the Uke.
I used the gym again this morning and then drove to the ground after breakfast and check out.
We were in the pavilion today; a slightly smaller group. David Kendix, Chris Lowe and Shilpa Patel joined the usual suspects from the Middlesex side; we had some interesting chats.
At lunch, we were entertained at table by Bill “Wild Bill” Taylor with tales of his exploits, not least his cavalier match-winning performance against Sussex in 1975, retold in John Barclay’s excellent book, Life Beyond The Airing Cupboard…
“pages 72 to 73,don’t forget to look it up when you get home”
…I didn’t forget to look it up.
Middlesex bettered Nottinghamshire’s first innings score, just, but then failed to make any inroads in the few remaining overs.
I had a pretty clear run home, getting back to the flat not much after 20:30.
It’s a bit of a shame I wasn’t able to stay longer; the match continued to be a humdinger – see scorecard here.