Middlesex CCC Annual Lunch and Player Awards, Lord’s Nursery Pavilion, 30 September 2016

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This photo belies the fact that I saw Angus Fraser smile more that day than I have seen him smile before in total over the years.

After a rather poor performance at real tennis in the morning, I stuck around and Janie joined me for the Middlesex County Cricket Club annual lunch and player awards.

A new format this year, apparently,  this event has previously been a black tie dinner. We’d never been. Richard Goatley was keen to open the event up a bit and he chose a good year for that idea, as Middlesex won the County Championship a week before this event. Have a mentioned that before?

The event started with a Champagne reception on the Mound Stand Terrace – a wonderful location for a bright (albeit slightly showery) noontime gathering.

Then round to the Nursery Pavilion, which was set up for 400 or so guests to dine and hear tales of derring-do told by the actual derring-doers.

We sat with Chris and Shilpa, Richard and Tina, Alvin and Rowena plus Westy and Bridget, making a very pleasent table indeed.

The MCC staff were playing their annual end of season knockabout match on the Nursery Ground, as if to entertain us with some live cricket. That backdrop gave the whole event that sense of “cricket making all well with the world” that makes so many of us cricket lovers tick.

Amusingly, though, several of the big screens (where highlights were periodically shown) were on that window side, making people turn towards the Nursery Ground, perhaps fooling the MCC staff/players into thinking that they were more of an attraction than was actually the case. I did pop out on one occasion to lend moral support to Adam, who manages the real tennis and squash courts.

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The lads gather for a group photo

As always with Lord’s catering, the meal was remarkably good for a large-scale catered thing. The wine was plentiful. The mood was, understandably, relentlessly upbeat.

I’d left my real tennis stuff at the real tennis court, so once the event was over we wandered back round that way to get my kit. We ran into Adam again on the academy steps, enjoying a post match drink. Then when we got to the court ran into one of the real tennis regulars who had messed up his knee, so Janie proffered some sage advice.

By the time we got out of the court area, we ran into David Kendix who was taking the trophy back to the office for safe-keeping…at least that’s what he said he was doing. David and I were the only men at the dinner who had dared to wear celebratory light-coloured suits and loud-coloured shirts for the occasion; David could probably explain why that was less statistically unlikely than one might imagine. Anyway, we thought a joint photo with the trophy was in order in the circumstances.

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David also very kindly allowed me a solo moment of glory with the prize.

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In short, Janie and I had a very enjoyable day at Lord’s.

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