Four Days In A Row At Lord’s For Either Tennis, Cricket Or Both, 18 to 21 September 2017

No, not bageled at tennis

Monday 18 September 

After work, I went to Lord’s for my long-awaited round of 16 tournament fixture, tennis racket and baroq-ulele in hand.

The least said about my performance at tennis the better. I wasn’t bageled in either set is about as far as “the positives” will go. Perhaps I would have played better tennis with my baroq-ulele than with my racket.

Afterwards I went on to DJs place for a very enjoyable guitar/baroq-ulele jam.

Tuesday 19 September

A day of county cricket between Middlesex and Lancashire at Lord’s with Escamillo Escapillo. After an early visit to the gym, I got to Lord’s a few minutes after play had started. Middlesex were batting and had lost two early wickets by the time I got to HQ. Things didn’t improve for Middlesex that first hour, with four early wickets going down.

We had an excellent lunch of roast beef baps and salad from the Long Room bar; Escamillo’s idea and treat to spare me the picnic preparation. A superb idea it was too.

It was an excellent day of company and cricket, the latter of which got better, then worse, then better again for Middlesex. Escamillo seemed a little conflicted, as a Lancashire supporter who nevertheless wanted to see Middlesex survive in the first division.

At the end of the day, Escamillo Escapillo joined me as a guest at the sponsors’ party in the Thomas Lord Suite, which was very pleasant. I scored a half case of wine in the raffle, which put paid to any thoughts of walking home after the party.

Wednesday 20 September

Early start, as I had agreed to play the real tennis equivalent of a “naughty boy net” at 9:00 (a doubles partnering Mark Ryan) and needed to prepare my share of the Charley The Gent Malloy picnic before heading to Lord’s. Charley and I had agreed to share the picnic duties.

The above photograph shows my share of the picnic, which includes several food items which were to be the subject of foodie debates which, I hope, will form future King Cricket pieces, which will be linked here if/when published.

I performed well in my naughty-boy doubles and got changed in time to secure good seats for me and Chas before Chas arrived, a few minutes after the start of play. Middlesex took a wicket while I was signing Chas into the pavilion.

Charley, being an Essex supporter, was able to give his full support to Middlesex today, as Essex had already won the county championship last week.

We nibbled little during the morning, as I had a tennis singles at 13:00. Chas came and watched some of that match, which went very well for me.

When I returned to the pavilion, the sides were off for bad light and Chas was chatting with a blind member who was visiting with a partially-sighted pal who was enjoying a day at Lord’s for the first time. Delightful company, those two were.

Much like my day with Escamillo yesterday, Chas and I retired to the Warner Stand for the second half of the day. More comfortable seating than the pavilion and a similar view. Nice coffee available in that new stand too.

The centrepiece of my share of the picnic is there to be seen in the above photo; the centrepiece of Chas’s picnic was a plentiful supply Dot’s speciality corned beef baps.

Colin, who used to be on the Warwickshire committee and who acted as my guide at Edgbaston earlier in the season, joined us for a while, enabling some good chat including reminiscence of many Edgbaston visits passim.

Middlesex got into a good position but then subsided in the second innings to leave the match tantalisingly poised overnight.

How quickly the season has been and gone, Chas and I agreed, as we parted company at cricket for the last time in 2017.

I supped on a couple of Dot;s corned beef baps with salad.

Thursday 21 September

Working at home today, while following the latter stages of the Middlesex v Lancashire match. I went to the gym mid morning and heard some of the match on the radio; a couple of early wickets for Middlesex not quite settling my nerves, but improving my outlook for the match. It was a tight finish, but Middlesex were ahead of the curve in taking wickets for most of the day.

Here is a link to the scorecard and Cricinfo resource on the match.

Soon after Middlesex won the match, it started to rain. Not long after that, I set off for Lord’s to play in the quarter-finals of the doubles tournament.

My good performances from the day before did not translate into performance in the big match that mattered. It was a tough fixture, especially as my doubles partner had been on holiday and therefore not played for a few weeks. We fought hard but came second, so that is the end of the internal tournament season for me.

As I left Lord’s that evening, I ran into several members of the Lord’s staff who had clearly been in end of season goodbyes mode for the last few hours with members leaving the ground after the last professional cricket match of the season.  “Winter well”, “see you next year”, that sort of tone.

“See you Tuesday”. I responded. That’s when I’ll be back at Lord’s, picking up again on the fragments of my so-called real tennis career.

A Tragedy Of Epicurean Proportions, Saying Goodbye To Tavola, 25 April 2017

Goodbye, Tavola

When I popped in to Tavola on Westbourne Grove a few days ago, I expected simply to buy a few provisions.

I did not expect Al to exclaim, “ah, here’s someone else we need to tell” and announce to me that they would be shutting up shop and emigrating en famille to Sydney, Australia.

“Oh dear”, I said, “when should I start panic buying?”

“I wouldn’t leave it any later than Wednesday,” said Al, “Friday will be our last day”.

Given my timetable the following week, Tuesday was my only slot for panic buying so Tuesday it had to be for the final few purchases (a bit of freezer stocking) and fond goodbyes.

I shall miss the place of course. It must be…sorry, it must have been one of the finest delicatessen’s ever anywhere. It is very rare for a top, top chef (in this case, Alastair Little) to decide to run a deli rather than a restaurant. Here is a scratch or three from the now defunct Tavola website:

But more, I shall miss the Tavola people. Al and I became friends. We’d chat about food and cuisine. Al’s great strength is Italian cuisine and I found that, strangely, he could pick my brains for a tip or two on Chinese and South-East Asian cuisine. We also share a love for cricket, so we’d often chat about that too.

Alastair (in the guise of Big Al DeLarge) became one of the people/characters I write about in my occasional pieces for King Cricket. Much of the story of Al, me and cricket can be traced through the King Cricket pieces that mention him:

Last but most certainly not least, is King Cricket’s own wonderful match report from 2016, in which Alastair finally did get to Lord’s with me and got to meet King Cricket himself and got to try The Lord’s Throdkin.

But returning to Tavola, I shall miss the whole Tavola team. Sharon (Al’s lovely wife), Sue (the perennial member of staff) and the friendly young folk who served in the shop from time to time. Also I shall miss the sense of community in that shop; the regular customers and that local vibe.

Of course, it is becoming nigh-on impossible for a place like Tavola to exist commercially in a street like Westbourne Grove any more. I understand it but I don’t like what that means for our community. I also realise that Alastair and Sharon’s reasons for taking their young family to Australia go beyond commerce; I wish them all well and respect the decision…

…although why anyone would go half way round the world to be a stone’s throw from the Sydney Cricket Ground when they are already merely a stone’s throw from Lord’s is a mystery to me.

So farewell then, Tavola

PowerSolo Cricket Bat, King Cricket Piece, 17 October 2016

One of the joys of writing for King Cricket is that you never know when your piece is going to be published.

For example, I wrote a little piece about a spunky spider we encountered in the Lower Compton Stand at the Lord’s test match on 7 September 2017; within a fortnight King Cricket had featured the item – click here.

Then, two days later he published another quirky piece entitled, “A cricket bat in a Danish nouveau-punk duo’s video” – click here. My first thought when I saw this headline was, “I vaguely remember seeing this video before”. Then I saw that I was credited with the piece. I had to search my outgoing e-mails to find the thing – nearly a year ago I wrote and sent it; 17 October 2016.

If by any chance anything ever happens to the King Cricket site, I have scraped the PowerSolo piece to here.

Still, the pleasure from seeing my little contributions go up there is just the same eleven days or eleven months later.

I’ll keep a more efficient log from now on though…

…there are still a couple of neglected masterpieces from 2014 on King Cricket’s pile that should eventually see the light of day one way or another; on King Cricket, on Ogblog or eventually on both.

I commend the PowerSolo King Cricket piece to you – not least for the bants in the comments section, but if all you want do is see the vid, then that is embedded for yuo below:

 

King Cricket Explained by Sam Blackledge, 10 October 2016

king-cricket-logo copy

As regular Ogblog folk might know, I write occasional pieces for Alex Bowden’s wonderful website, King Cricket, using my nom de plume, Ged Ladd.

punim de plume
Punim de plume – Ged Ladd

I’m still in the process of linking through to all of my published pieces there; a few dozen now, over the years. But readers might not realise that I far more regularly (like, most days) put down scribblings in the comments section of the King Cricket site, which is remarkably active and indeed one of the site’s main attractions for us regulars.

Indeed, it has occurred to me occasionally that I should, one day, write a piece on Ogblog explaining what the King Cricket site is about and what it means to me and to those of us who read and scribble there regularly…

…but now I don’t have to…

…because journalist Sam Blackledge, bless him, has written a simply delightful piece about King Cricket and us on his own blog. I really couldn’t have put this as well myself – click here to read Sam’s piece – trust me you’ll enjoy it. While you’re there, you might enjoy some of Sam’s other pieces about cricket too. I certainly do.

A Visit To Manchester, Mostly For Lancashire v Middlesex but also Some Real Tennis and an Evening With King Cricket, 12 to 15 September 2016

The view back to MediaCityUK when strolling from there to Old Trafford
The view back to MediaCityUK when strolling from there to Old Trafford.  The tall building is TheHeart.

This was my last away trip of the cricket season. Possibly because this was to be Middlesex’s last away match of the season. I decided to take in pretty much the whole match, driving up to Manchester on the first morning, staying three nights and returning to London on the final evening of the match.

Knowing Manchester reasonably well from business trips, I found TheHeart Serviced Apartments, a suitably located (MediaCityUK) facility, getting a late booking deal there; a two bedroom apartment for the price of a studio. Not a spacious apartment as it turned out, but plenty of room for just me and Benjy the baritone ukulele.

I also pre-arranged a couple of visits to the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club in Salford, to play real tennis while up there.

Monday 12 September

I set off early from the house, hoping to avoid the rush hour; I largely succeeded, taking the M6 toll road to avoid the Birmingham crush. I expected to miss some of the first session with the September 10:30 starts and was pleased to arrive at Emirates Old Trafford (Old Trafford) around 11:00, thus missing little cricket.

Keith Hayhurst, Lancashire’s historian, was our wonderful host for all four days. I thought the instructions said to go to the Committee Board Room, but when I got there the only person to be found in there was Paul Allott, just finishing a phone call. Paul kindly took me to the suite on the opposite side of that floor, where Keith was hosting a small group of us.

Lancashire had won the toss and inserted Middlesex, much to the surprise of most observers. Middlesex batted well all day.

It was that stage of the season when eyes are on other scores as well well as one’s own; in Middlesex’s case at the top of the table, in Lancashire’s at the bottom. Most of the excitement elsewhere was at the top, where Yorkshire were making a surprisingly awful start against Somerset, despite being at home and having won the toss.

The hospitality at Old Trafford was excellent, but I only partook modestly that day, without alcohol and choosing fish, as I was driving and due on court in Salford at 17:30. About an hour before my tennis match, I took my leave of Old Trafford and drove across to Salford, finding the tennis club building second time around – I wish I’d reviewed this link about the building’s look/history before setting off – but still got there in good time.

The tennis club building is quite extraordinary. Darren welcomed me and gave me a guided tour. A rackets and a squash court as well as real tennis. There is even an old-fashioned skittles alley behind the dedans gallery of the real tennis court.

The tennis court surface differs considerably from that at Lord’s; slower and far more sit-up bounce – perhaps as different as playing modern tennis on clay when you are used to fast hard courts. Still, I won my match and then headed off to find my apartment in Salford Quays, running into a few strolling Middlesex players along the way.

After checking in, a quick stroll to the Booths supermarket myself so I could snack and have a quiet drink while I strummed for a while to end the evening.

Tuesday 13 September

I had arranged to play tennis again at 7:30 and to meet Richard Goatley before the start of play at Old Trafford 10:00/10:15, so it was an early and well planned start to the day. I drove from Salford Quays to Salford proper for my game of tennis this morning, a truly excellent match which was as close as close could be: 5/6, 6/5, both of those deciding games going to 40-40 deciding points. Despite the dead heat scoreline, I was credited with a win for that match as I received fewer handicap points than my handicap entitlement. I felt I had done well winning both days on that beautiful but “alien court surface”.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club
Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club

After a juice, kindly provided by my opponent, I changed, dropped the car back at TheHeart and walked, across the bridge and along the canal, to Old Trafford.

Richard and I met just before play started and found a quiet place in the stands to have a chat about the proposed new City-based T20 tournament in the context of our strategy work. It was an unusual conversation, as Richard was bound by an NDA, so could say little, but I could still float ideas and make suggestions based on rumours/leaks that had found their way into The Telegraph and Times by then. Both prospect theory and game theory came into it, much as they did, coincidentally, in a different context, on the final day of the season 10 days later.

When Richard and I returned from our chat, Keith Hayhurst offered us a tour of The Point, the new conference/exhibition facility at Old Trafford. There was a food fair going on in there that day, heaving with people entirely unconnected with and oblivious to the cricket. Richard and I agreed that we were witnessing something very different from our imaginings and expectations. The facility is enormous and is flexible space for all manner of commercial activities; it was very interesting to see it for sure.

Lancashire played much better today and the ball seemed to be doing quite a lot more, in the hands of both sides’ bowlers. I had hoped to see young Hameed bat, as everyone is talking about him and I missed him at Lord’s this season, but he got a nine-ball blob. Young Rob Jones, his opening partner (whom I’d seen bat at Radlett a few weeks’ before), did much better and was not out overnight.

I indulged a little bit more in the hospitality today (and why not?), so after stumps, having walked back to my apartment and strummed for a while, a very light snack of fruit and nuts was enough; I went to bed early and happy.

Wednesday 14 September 

Setting off from MediaCityUK to Emirates Old Trafford
Setting off from MediaCityUK to Emirates Old Trafford

Not such an early start required on Wednesday; time for a morning strum. The walk across the bridge and along the canal from TheHeart takes about 30 minutes door to door. I timed it to arrive just before the start of play.

Lancashire batted better today, working hard to make the game safe. Rob Jones hitting a six to score his maiden first class/first team century was the highlight; his joyous celebration really was a sight to see and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – click here for a 30 second YouTube clip of that big moment.

Keith Hayhurst gave me a tour of the pavilion today, including the famous stained glass window that he spent many many years hunting down.

Geoffrey Shindler, with whom I chatted most days, gave me some interesting background to the legal tussle that Lancashire CCC went through to secure the new development plans. We also discovered several shared interests and coincidences, not least a love of theatre and his daughter (Nicola’s) heavy involvement with BBYO, a few years after mine.

I’d arranged to meet Alex Bowden, aka King Cricket, after stumps. We arranged to meet in Sam’s Chop House, the scene of our previous (indeed first) meeting in Manchester some six year’s earlier, Ogblogged here.

It was a glorious evening and we worked out that I would have more than enough time to walk in to central Manchester while Alex commuted in from Macclesfield. I had told him that I had plenty of reading matter with me. Then a text from Alex:

Train’s half an hour late …hope that reading matter’s more than a pamphlet.

It was; indeed I took the time to catch up reading his site too, making a reference to pamphlet-length postings on that day’s posting/thread – here. 

We had a very enjoyable evening in the end; both the food and the drink in Sam’s is reliable and not ridiculously priced. Far more character to that place than the modern but sterile-looking places around MediaCityUK. We strolled to Piccadilly together, where Alex got his train and I grabbed a taxi back to Salford Quays.

Thursday 15th September

Early start again today, as I arranged to check out and then pay a final visit to the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club (MTRC), where I had a very useful lesson with Darren at 8:30. We focused especially on picking up the low ball off the back wall, with some drills that perhaps work on that bouncier surface in ways that wouldn’t work at Lord’s, but taught me some useful techniques that I most certainly can now deploy at Lord’s.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club
Reproduced with the kind permission of the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club

I really was made to feel most welcome at MTRC and am very grateful to Darren, Stella and Steve for looking after me so nicely that week. I hope to get the opportunity to play again there on future visits to Manchester.

Straight on to Old Trafford, where they parked me up very conveniently and I was able to time my arrival almost perfectly for the start of play.

It seemed unlikely that this match could catch light on the last day; Lancashire had managed to blunt Middlesex’s attack and take enough early wickets to keep Middlesex cautious; much as Middlesex would have loved a win from this match, the draw points might just prove to be a useful buffer to assist in the final round. Lancashire had seemed most interested in a draw throughout.

Here’s the scorecard.

By tea it was clear that the match was petering out to a draw, so I (along with others) decided to bail out and miss the Manchester/Cheshire rush hour. The hospitality at Old Trafford really had been first rate, although again I didn’t take full advantage on a driving day, especially after eating and drinking lunch and dinner the day before.

Coincidentally I ran into Harry Latchman and Blossom at the service station on the M6 Toll Road on the way home – what were the odds on that? I got home in good time – around 8:30 pm and took an early night ahead of a busy working Friday.

The Sound and The Fury, Four Versions of One Trip To Edgbaston, 26 August 2016

king-cricket-logo copyClick here to read my four-part literary report on a visit to Birmingham/Edgbaston in September 2015; The Sound and the Fury, as published on King Cricket.

For some reason, during 2015, I felt motivated mostly to have my artifacts report cricket matches for King Cricket. It started with the idea of Dumbo the Suzuki Jimny reporting on his first cricket match, in Dublin, May 2015 and grew from there.

By the end of the season, Ivan Meagreheart, my smart phone, was also an occasional reporter.

Ivan The Smart Phone Reporting
Ivan The Smart Phone Reporting

For my visit to Birmingham to see best part of three days of the Warwickshire v Middlesex match at Edgbaston (early September 2015) and to get some business visits in to boot, I decided to go for short versions of the same story told from four different perspectives, starting with Benjy the Baritone Ukulele and ending with Ged himself.

The result is this short literary “masterpiece” which I thought King Cricket might choose to serialise but instead he (probably wisely) chose to publish the whole piece as a a magnum opus just ahead of the bank holiday – here.

England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test Day One, Lord’s, 9 June 2016

The first of three days in a row at Lord’s for the test match – the first time I have ever done more than two days total for a Lord’s test.

Conveniently, one of my guests for this day was Alex “King Cricket” Bowden, who wrote up the day on his King Cricket web site the following day, while I was busy doing it all again, so to speak. Alex’s report is pretty comprehensive, sparing me the need to write much.

I’d baked the Lord’s Throdkins and prepared the glazed drunken prawns (recipe to follow on the King Cricket site at some point way in the future) the night before. Still, an early start for me that day to get the picnic ready.

Postscript 30 March 2017: King Cricket has today published the glazed drunken prawns recipe – click here.

King Cricket really has summarised the day well – click here, so there is little more to say.

I had an interesting conversation with Charley and Al about the playlists for Kim and Janie’s party (lists downloadable towards the end of the piece for that event – click here). Charley of course was suggesting his usual peculiar mix of heavy stuff, most of which I had considered  and rejected or not even considered. Al then started reeling off names of tracks he would want on the lists, almost all of which were on them!

In particular, the dance music, it turns out that Al was really into that Motown and Stax stuff back then – he even saw the Stax/Volt tour in Nelson, 1967 – lucky chap. It also turns out, when I mentioned that the lists had Joe Boyd’s blessing, that Al knows him well; another peculiar coincidence.

Just one other point to add. When I took Alex round to see the real tennis court, I deposited a small packet of the Lord’s Throdkins with Rachel on the reception desk. The following day I deposited a few more with Adam. If all goes according to plan, the Lord’s Throdkin really will become “a thing” at Lord’s.

Did I mention that most of this delightful day is wonderfully written up by Alex “King Cricket” Bowden – here?

Middlesex v Warwickshire Days 2 & 3, Lord’s, 18 & 19 April 2016

Monday

‘Twas the second day of Middlesex’s cricket season and my first glimpse of live cricket for far too long. Charley “the Gent” Malloy was my guest for the day.

I went to the gym first thing, then on to the bakers for fresh bread and then the flat to prepare the picnic. Cray fish breakfast muffins and wild Alaskan salmon in poppy-seed bagels formed the highlight of the feast. A fruity little Kiwi Riesling was the highlight beverage.

On my way to Lord’s, I noticed that King Cricket had that very day published my piece about visiting the Ashes test with Daisy, less than nine moths after the event. This coincidence seemed most timely to me, not least because I wanted to discuss with Charley the future of my “match reports” in this brave new Ogblog era.

Charley was waiting for me at the Grace Gate and looked at his watch as I arrived, as if to say “where have you been?” In fact, we had both arrived some minutes ahead of the appointed hour, which was probably just as well, as Charley wasn’t moving too quickly. “Done me knee,” said Charley.

“I’m not in the best of knee health myself,” I said, as my ignominious tumble on the real tennis court on Seaxe AGM day was still causing me gyp in the knee department, not least because I had managed a couple of unfortunate knocks on just the wrong spot since. “We’ll swap knee stories when we sit down”, said Charley, which we did. Charley’s was worse. Much worse.

In accordance with our tradition, Charley and I sat on death row; the front row of the lower tier of the pavilion. Normally, our backs can only tolerate death row for a while, but as it turned out, our knee problems probably served to mask any back pain. Further, with Charley’s limited mobility and no chance of sun that day anywhere in the ground, we ended up staying put on death row for the whole day.

I described to Charley my correspondence with King Cricket on the matter of match reports henceforward. Charley liked my ideas about writing book reviews and recipes for King Cricket, while posting reports of this kind on Ogblog. I wondered whether I should revert to real names here on Ogblog, but Charley felt that the characters’ names were a tradition and allowed me a bit more poetic licence. (Little does Charley realise that I write with reckless abandon, at least in the matter of creative licence, regardless of naming conventions).

While all this was going on, my understanding is that there was a bit of a cricket match taking place on the lawn in front of us and that Sam Robson blessed us with the sight of him reaching a double-hundred. I hadn’t seen one of those since I caught the very end of Chris Rogers’ match winning double a couple of seasons ago in the match linked here. Not that you’d realise what had happened from the King Cricket match report linked here, as you are not allowed to say anything about the actual cricket in a KC report about a professional match.

It was seriously chilly but Charley and I had both wrapped up warm and were chatting eagerly; the start of the season holds so many exciting possibilities. So the day passed very quickly. With just over an hour left to play, the umpires decided that the slight gloom which had pervaded for much of the day had become a little too gloomy, so off came the players and that was that for the day. Charley and I stuck around for a while, partly in hope more than expectation and partly to warm up with some coffee inside the pavilion before heading home. We’d had a very good day.

Tuesday

I returned to Lord’s the next day, primarily for meetings, but with the hope and expectation that I’d get to see some cricket too. Indeed, as a couple of the meetings got postponed, I got to see much of the day’s cricket and get some good reading done.

It was a much sunnier day, so I decided to take up position on the north side of the middle tier balcony. As soon as I plonked myself down, I sensed that I might be blocking Dougie Brown’s view. So the moment I heard “excuse me”, in that unmistakable Scottish accent, I started to shift along the row and checked that all now had a clear view. Dougie was chatting with Peter Such and soon Graham Thorpe joined them, but my mind was firmly on my book, A Confederacy of Dunces (read nothing into the juxtaposition, folks) and of course I was taking in the cricket.

Despite the sun, it still wasn’t warm and I hadn’t donned my thermals on the Tuesday. Also, I was quite peckish by about 12:30, as Charley and I had picnicked sensibly the day before and/but I had only snacked in the evening. So I went to the upstairs bar and bought a nice chunky sandwich and a hot cup of coffee for my lunch, both of which I downed with great pleasure. The bar was mostly populated with Warwickshire 1882 Club members talking exclusively about soccer football.

After my lunch, I retired to the writing room, where I thought I’d get some quiet and a decent view of the cricket protected from the cold. To some extent, my plan worked, especially the matter of getting some reading done and shield myself from the cold.

But my attempts to make headway with this Ogblog piece were continually thwarted. Initially, for a few brief minutes, I was distracted by the arms of Morpheus. Then when play resumed, there were interruptions and enough going on in the cricket to tear me away repeatedly from my little Kindle Fire gadget. No matter.

The interruptions came primarily in two forms:

After the helicopter crescendo and witnessing Trott complete his double-hundred (they seem to be like double-decker buses, these double-hundreds), I then had an interesting chat with a couple of the remaining writing room gentlemen. The younger of the two had been a teacher at Highbury Grove School when Rhodes Boyson was the head, which made for an interesting chat. I said that I remembered protesting against Boyson’s cuts when he was an Education Minister and I was a student. The older of the two gentlemen suggested that they might be in the company of a dangerous leftist, to which I countered that the chap who had been teaching in an Islington Comprehensive in the 1970s had, by definition, more “dangerous leftist credentials” than me.

I did not share with those gentlemen the clear memory, which popped into my head, of an anti-cuts protest we staged in the early 1980s outside the UGC Building in Bloomsbury.  I’ll need to go through my diaries to write that one up properly and no doubt Simon Jacobs will again deny all memory of the business. Suffice it to say here that a similarly garbed non-violent protest stunt, staged these days, might be inadvisable to say the very least.

I was spotted by one or two other friends and associates at that writing room table, who stopped by for an early season hello and quick chat. Richard Goatley arrived to whisk me away soon after those interludes, so I had a quick drink with Richard and a few other people in the Bowlers’ Bar, then headed for home a few overs before stumps.

Middlesex v Yorkshire Day One, Followed By Meet The Players, Lord’s, 9 September 2015

Charley appealing...or celebrating a year early. Many thanks to Charles Bartlett for this picture.
Charley appealing…or celebrating a year early. Many thanks to Charles Bartlett for this picture.

Good drama often subtly uses a device known as foreshadowing. Something happens early in the piece, so when the dramatic climax or denouement comes, the audience isn’t completely taken by surprise by the twist.

Bad drama does this unsubtly, perhaps showing that one of the characters has an unsecured gun, or getting two characters to tell a convoluted back story for seemingly no reason other than foreshadowing.

Anyway, with the benefit of hindsight, the climax of the 2015 season (if that is the right way to describe it) beautifully and subtly foreshadowed the extraordinary climax to the 2016 season – reported here.

In many ways, the climax was all on Day One. Personally, because that was to be my last cricket of the year, accompanied that day by Charles (Charley “The Gent” Malloy) Bartlett. But also because Yorkshire clinched the title that day, by virtue of something that happened on some other cricket ground at some point during the afternoon. It was all a bit confusing for us spectators, who weren’t officially told by the announcer until tea, although many were listening to internet radio accounts from elsewhere, so word soon spread.

To some extent Charles’s presence was foreshadowing of day one of the same fixture in 2016. In some ways, the first over of Middlesex’s innings – three wickets and no runs – foreshadowed the Nottinghamshire match in 2016 – click here – which Middlesex also (despite the three wickets for zip setback) went on to win.

I wrote up this day for King Cricket as long ago as April 2016, but at the time of writing this piece (November 2016) the piece is as yet unpublished. I’ll add an update and a link here once he publishes.

Postscript – naturally, not much more than a week after I Ogblogged this piece, King Cricket published that article – click here.

At the Meet the Players party in the evening, which was splendid, I suggested that the Middlesex folk should encourage the Yorkshire celebrations. I don’t think my advice was heeded, but I also don’t think the Yorkshire players needed encouragement. Despite Middlesex being on the ropes at the end of Day One, we somehow snatched victory from the very jaws of defeat in this match.

Foreshadowing again.

Here is a link to the Cricinfo scorecard for this 2015 match.

And here is a link again to the equivalent fixture the following year. Just in case you don’t know, the match result was the same, but the County Championship result was splendiforously different in 2016.

 

A Few Days in Birmingham & Then Home, Including Warwickshire v Middlesex Days 1 to 3, Edgbaston, 1 to 4 September 2015

I wrote up this trip in literary style for King Cricket. The piece was published here, on 26 August 2016.

I more or less explained it – here – on Ogblog once it was published.

The trip was simply three days in Edgbaston, staying at the Eaton Hotel (first visit there). Straight to the ground day one, walking in to short business meetings in Birmingham proper on each of days two and three before returning to London early on day four for one last business meeting of the week.

Simples. Until Benjy, Ivan, Dumbo and Ged got their teeth into it.