My First Live Cricket Of the Year, Middlesex v Essex Day One At Lord’s, 21 April 2017

At last, the new season proper, i.e. a day of live cricket at Lord’s with Charley “The Gent” Malloy.

I made something close to our traditional picnic, with Alaskan salmon bagels, plus some variations on a theme, using Brunswick ham and some soft cheese with chives for a slightly more smokey-flavoured afternoon roll.

A bottle of Gewurtztraminer to help the salmon go down – I might have gone Gewurtz rather than Riesling before, but tend to go Riesling for Chas (who likes that stuff) but thought that today was the day to broaden his horizons just a tad. Thanks to Edwardian over on King Cricket for recently tweaking my memory on that idea.

The white wine aspect worked for sure; Chas was so convinced that Mrs Malloy would like the Gewurtztraminer, he even photographed the label so he could hunt down the wine.

Chas’s desire to please his good lady was a charming and endearing theme, until his ulterior motive was revealed. This Monday is Mrs Malloy’s birthday and also day four of this Lord’s match. Chas was hoping (I think more than expecting) that Mrs Malloy might enjoy part of her birthday treat being a visit to Lord’s. Given the match position, the weather forecast and Mrs Malloy’s predisposition towards the shorter forms of the game, I’d offer long odds on seeing the Malloys at Lord’s this Monday.

Then again, Chas is a master of persuasion, as previously reported on King Cricket in the matter of the Aggers book signing – click here.

We sat in our traditional, back-breaking death row seats (front row of the pavilion terrace) for the first session and quite deep into the second; unable to move until Sam Robson had secured his hundred.

A charming brand new Middlesex member, named Barry (not Father Barry I hasten to add), joined us on death row for a while, towards the end of the morning session – he really seemed to be delighting in the benefits of his new membership.

When Chas and I finally moved, we went for the further reaches of the Grandstand, to which we had to walk the long way round while workmen are putting the finishing touches on the new Warner Stand. We found a nice quiet spot at the front of the Grandstand, wonderfully close to the action, as the pitch in use for this match is well to the north of the square.

Shortly after tea, play was suspended for bad light. I was hopeful that some slightly better looking light might be on its way but only the umpires returned periodically to test the light and shake their heads.

While waiting in vain, Chas and I chatted for a while with a nice couple who turned out to be visiting West Midlands folk, just taking advantage of being in London on a match day to see a day of cricket at Lord’s. Chas and I shared some Edgbaston stories with them and I showed them some of the pictures Chas had taken at close quarters in the Eric Hollies stand, the day that he and Nigel “Father Barry” White made their bucket-list visit to the dark side.

This is a picture from the Eric Hollies Stand in 2008, you understand, not the charming couple we met in the Lord’s Grandstand in 2017. Thanks to Charles for the picture.

It started to get quite cold, but Chas and I naturally braved it until the umpires bowed to the inevitable.

In the meantime, we made some more headway into the delicious bottle of Rioja Chas had brought. This was ideal for the Brunswick ham and soft cheese rolls; it also warmed us up as the afternoon got cooler.

I was being a little careful with my wine intake – my limits are lowering as the years go on – but Chas was keen neither to waste any nor take any of the red home with him, so he polished off the Rioja before we went our separate ways home.

As Chas said in his e-mail to me the next day:

I must have seen the Red off too quickly as I was a little wobbly on the way home!!

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