Three Days At The Lord’s Test, England v West Indies, 7 to 9 September 2017

Day One – Thursday 7 September 2017

One guest today, Escamillo Escapillo, our Lancastrian nephew-in-law.  A veteran of The Lord’s Throdkin, he appreciated  the slight variation to the recipe from last time and agreed with me that the flavour and texture were somewhat improved. Some conjecture on this point might well follow on Ogblog, King Cricket or both.

There was also some ingratitude in the matter of special cream cheese and its pairing with smoked salmon, about which I intend to publish at length elsewhere.

But other than those controversial culinary matters, the day progressed as only a relaxing day of test cricket at Lord’s could and should.

West Indies chose to bat and struggled through a difficult morning and early afternoon, only to collapse in a heap as the afternoon went on.

Jimmy Anderson bowling with only 499 wickets to his name.

Postscript: we encountered a superb arachnid upstaging us in our front row seats – that aspect of our day now published on King Cricket – click here.

If by chance anything ever happens to King Cricket, I have also scraped the spider piece to here.

Ben Stokes bowled beautifully and deserved the bulk of the wickets:

England found it no easier once they were asked to bat that day.

By that time, Escamillo Escapillo had left early to go to a function with his wife, our niece, Lavender. Daisy had spent the day with Lavender and took pains to bring the young couple together in Marylebone, while also swiping Escamillo Escapillo’s ticket and spending the last 90 minutes or so of play with me.

It got very dark and very cold towards the end of play – so much so that we escaped early, but only an over or two before bad light (even with floodlights) intervened.

Daisy and I spent the latter part of the evening at the Proms – click here.

Day Two – 8 September 2017

The weather forecast was distinctly iffy for Day 2. Brian sent me a “what’s happening if…?” e-mail and I sent my response to him and both of the others. There was general consensus that we go to the ground, hope for some cricket before the rain and see what happens.

Brian came round to my place just as I was finishing the picnic and getting ready to go; we travelled to the ground together. As we were nice and early, I showed Brian the real tennis which immediately grabbed his fascination.

Real tennis and baritone ukulele – photo from another day – click here for that day!

I went off to meet Ian and Graham, leaving Brian with the tennis (at his request), who then joined the rest of us when play started, around 11:15.

But soon after play started, the rain returned, so we all decided to wander round to the dedans to watch real tennis; Brian wanted to see more, Graham had never seen it before and wanted to, the other Ian had seen it before but was happy to see it again.

Brian observed that we had four very similar, uber-English names; Ian, Ian, Brian and Graham. As everyone traditionally has a pseudonym in my cricket pieces, I think we can improve and simplify.

As it happens the other Ian is already “Iain Spellright”; King Cricket has not yet published the outstanding piece about him from 2014, but it does exist. Brian should be known as “Ian Borne” and Graham should be “Iain Insteadman”.

That should make the rest of this piece really easy to follow.

It was clear from the TV screen in the dedans that the rain was getting harder and harder; I went to rescue our picnic around 12:30 in the sodden gloom and felt very little optimism for the prospects of play.

At least we had the picnic, so we tucked into The Lord’s Throdkin with Iain Spellright’s utterly delicious bottle of Barollo. Janie was envious when I told her.

By around 13:30, Ian Borne, being the most sensible of us, concluded that the prospects of play were very poor. Also, having told me excitedly about the interesting projects he’s working on at the moment, I suspect that the lure of those projects was greater than the lure of watching it rain at Lord’s.

However, soon after Ian Borne left, the announcer reported an expected start time of 14:15 and the weather forecast changed from “no hope after 15:00-16:00” to “no more rain expected until after stumps”.

So, we the remaining threesome resumed our seats and hunkered down with a super-sized picnic and several hours of cricket to watch.

Good cricket it was too, with England working hard in still difficult batting conditions to press ahead with a reasonable lead.

We had some interesting number-crunching business, trying to decide what a decent and realistic first innings target might be. Iain Spellright was looking to double the West Indies score, but soon backtracked a little. Iain Insteadman and I thought 50 to 60 would be a decent, admittedly not insurmountable lead. 71 lead was the outcome.

Then England started bowling and very, very soon, Jimmy Anderson took that historic 500th test wicket:

West Indies then batted in the fading light, but not gloom, so the floodlights could keep the show on the road and I don’t think I have ever seen Lord’s looking quite so special at dusk before – aided by the double-rainbow to the south-east as some heavy clouds threatened but passed us by.

First a single rainbow…
…then a double rainbow.
The pavilion end looking equally special.

Against all the odds, we got a more than decent day’s play; very relaxed, relaxing and enjoyable. I think this was the latest test match finish I have experienced live; 19:30. After saying goodbye to Iain and Iain, I (Ian) walked home.

Day Three – 9 September 2017

I stayed at the flat overnight and got my few bits and pieces together quickly and easily enough – Daisy was doing the main picnic.

I walked to Lord’s and secured some good seats. I ran into one of my real tennis pals so we chatted for a while. Then Daisy arrived. Then Alan and his pal Jonathan came over in search of some throdkin cookies, which I had promised Alan the last time I saw him at Lord’s.

England made reasonably light work of finishing off the West Indies; three more wickets before lunch, then the last four soon after. Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the bowlers.

Daisy didn’t think to photograph England bowling…
…but did photograph England batting

We continued to tuck in to Daisy’s enormous picnic while England tucked in to West Indies demoralised bowling and won the match.

Henry Bloefeld did a lap of honour to celebrate his final match as a commentator:

Henry, followed around by Aggers and Vic…
…Henry seule
Daisy and I

…contrary to rumours and cinematic evidence broadcast to all corners of the earth – click here,  Daisy and I were very happy; we just looked tired and emotional on the screen.

For sure we were ideally located, not only to be caught on camera but also to see the presentation ceremony, which took place right in front of us in the Warner Stand.

One of many presentation ceremony pictures

More photos can be found on my Flickr stack – here.

Full scorecard and Cricinfo resource on the match – here.

That’s three days at Lord’s for Janie this year – all three being days when England won the match at took the ceremonial plaudits. Daisy must be a lucky mascot for England when she’s in that new stand. She should visit more often.

Day/Night Test Match, England v West Indies, Edgbaston, 17 to 19 August 2017

After a super meal at Colbeh – reported here – and a good night’s sleep at the Eaton Hotel, Daisy and I would have been fit and ready to walk to Edgbaston for an 11:00 start…

…but this was a day/night test match, so instead I arranged to have a music lesson with Ian Pittaway in Stourbridge. It bucketed down with rain on the way to Stourbridge, which made me wonder whether Edgbaston would be fit for cricket by 14:00, but I needn’t have worried. Day/Night One of the match turned out to be a very sunny although slightly chilly affair.

Daisy and I walked to the ground in dry, improving weather. Security was tight but well organised this year, so we joined the others at about 13:40. The others were Charley The Gent Malloy, The Boy Malloy, Nigel “Father Barry” White and Harsha Goble.

Mrs Malloy had made a splendid picnic for us all, consisting mostly of an extremely plentiful supply of big bap sandwiches. Chas went into major-domo mode, insisting that we tuck in at regular intervals, saying:

“I cannot report back to Dot that any of these sandwiches remained uneaten.”

At the end of Day One I sent some thoughts about our day/night experience to King Cricket, who published my thoughts along with those of others –  click here.

Daisy took loads of pictures, which you can see on Flickr – click here – a sample of which are shown below.

 

A shot from the first session
Things seemed to be going England’s way
Lunch at four in the afternoon? Getaway!
Shadows lengthen on the Eric Hollies Stand opposite

After the instruction “Nessun Dorma” (reported on King Cricket), Daisy stayed awake to take the following lovely shot after sunset:

Stunning, although it looks a bit René Magritte

The weather forecast for Day Two was not so special – indeed it was obvious that the weather would close in sometime between 19:00 and 20:00 and there would then be no further play that day.

Daisy, Nigel and I went over to Chas and Nick’s hotel on that Day two morning, hatching a plan that we should eat relatively light at the ground that day with a view to eating a good meal together in Colbeh to make up for the session of cricket that we looked likely to lose. If the weather by chance relented, we could always stay at the ground and eat from the selection of increasingly interesting and decent food outlets at Edgbaston these days.

Daisy captures the look of the pink ball on the big screen

Harsha had, unfortunately, needed to return to London for a funeral on the Friday, but was expecting to arrive back at Edgbaston around 19:00.

The rain arrived as expected around 19:30. We had redirected Harsha towards the “dining at Colbeh rather than watching the rain come down” plan.

Much better than sitting at Edgbaston watching the rain

Once again, Colbeh was excellent.

In truth, it was great to have the opportunity to have a meal together and “chew the fat” after the cricket – this aspect (which would normally be absent for a day/night match) is the biggest down side to such match timing…the colder evenings being less of an issue, although…

…Day Three did turn out to be a chilly day.

Daisy and I walked to the ground all three days; Day Three being the most pleasant walking conditions of the three – sunny but a tad cooler than Day One.

We saw an interesting sight on the way to the ground:

An Ethiopian Orthodox Service at St Georges Church on a Saturday
It looked half service, half church fete.
Dawid Malan fielding right in front of us…I don’t think he spotted me!
There was some freezing cold business with lads behind us clearly not dressed for the occasion and divesting themselves of what little clothing they had
Members of the Mexican community behind the Eric Hollies Stand looked more suitably dressed for a chilly day/night match…
…members of the Flintstone community behind the Eric Hollies Stand less so.

England were all over the West indies like a rash on Day Three. Here is the Cricinfo summary of the  match.

The others bailed out before the end of the match, as Chas, Nick and Harish were travelling home that night and Nigel wanted a lift back to the hotel.

We’d all had a good time – three days had just flown by.

Daisy and I stuck it out until the last ball – the first time I had ever seen a whole first class match, let alone a test:

Close to the last moments of the game

Gosh it was cold by the end; we thought about bailing out a couple of times, but then a wicket would fall. We walked back to the Eaton Hotel that night to warm ourselves up, which worked rather well.

A very one-sided match but also a very enjoyable few days.

Long To Rain Over Us – Heavy Rollers Edgbaston Trip 2012 – Nigel Hinks’s Take, 6 to 8 June 2012

Nigel in full flow
Nigel in full flow, the following season, at Chester-le- Street

I am very grateful to Nigel for this wonderful, redolent submission in response to my piece, Long To Rain Over Us, about our most heavily rain-affected Edgbaston trip of all.

“The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened’ by Don Robertson is an evocative journey back to the early 1950s. Readers are introduced to a teenage Morris Bird III, considered by some to be one of the most endearing characters in contemporary American literature.

Our Edgbaston trip in 2012 was so lacking in memory that it is now, well, not memorable. Very little that was meant to take place actually did so.

It was as if we had been enticed to this sodden part of the UK to be teased with the promise of things that almost happened. Morris Bird may well have speculated?

Perhaps we were being tested on our resolve as real Heavy Rollers. Could we cut it when things were bad?

I recall my solitary mission to the nearby cricket ground in advance of the others. They were perhaps still somewhere on the M6 arguing about the relative merits of Delta and Detroit Blues genres, while a dozing Nick yearned for some early Metallica.

Knowing Charles’ detailed preparations before any pre match knockabout, the ‘cricket kit’ would have been checked (several times before being unpacked and repacked) in readiness for our long-awaited net. This was scheduled to take place at Harborne CC. To grace this attractive little ground, in leafy suburban Birmingham, was to be a privilege indeed. All a direct consequence of some emotional story- telling from Charles to some unaware individual who was to forever regret their selfless move to the ‘phone with, “I’ll get it”. Charles had become a master of spin. This had little to do with his ability to pick a ‘Doosra’.  Detailed and distressing tales would be discharged to whomever got the job of dealing with random emotive requests, mostly for tickets. Much was at stake this time. A chance to display limited abilities for a donation. It would be a wonderful prelude to the main course.

The scene, however, was a precursor to the forthcoming event. The said ground was deserted. The outfield resembled a small lake. If anything had been planned for this evening it had long been called off. Phone calls from office to office relaying the unhappy, but inevitable, news. I couldn’t avoid observing that the early season volunteers, allocated to small working groups tendering the ground, had failed miserably to:

  1. Clean around the area you want to repair with a wire brush to remove loose paint or rust.
  2. Use an old screwdriver to dig out any old jointing material.
  3. Put the nozzle of the sealant gun into the joint, and run a bead of roof and gutter sealant around the pipe.

One side of the pavilion’s guttering resembled a waterfall. Safe to say the kit wouldn’t be making an appearance this year.

I returned to Harborne Hall with heavy heart, but gratified by the familiarity of our accommodation, and its proximity to some decent restaurants on Harborne High Street for later. High quality Chinese food surely? At least we would be reunited and sustained by our past recollections of basic, but friendly, home-from-home accommodation. It was soon to be revealed that this just was a futile memory, unless your home was a Category C prison.

The corridors still echoed with the long past anticipation and apprehension of eager volunteers, about to make their way to various VSO outposts around the world. The evocative black and white photographs of some wiry young men with mullets, and women in cheesecloth skirts, dancing self-consciously with grateful African children, or in makeshift classrooms, adorned the stairways to our rooms. Such warm recollections were soon to be illusions, as the march of commercialism that had begun to engulf this little haven took shape. It was becoming transformed into something neither here, nor anywhere really. VSO were still present somehow, but surrounded by an impression of a low budget boarding house with an identity crisis.

The futile negotiations over extra breakfast toast rather summed up the whole affair. Jokes about when parole became due and “are you in Block H?” were tinged with reality. As Ian has described, we didn’t see any cricket either. Given that was the whole purpose it could be argued things were not going too well.

I recall walking back from the equally uninviting and playless Edgbaston in time for a planned tour of the local graveyard. This was advertised on a display outside the adjacent church amidst notices, it transpired, unchanged for many a decade. I should have twigged on reading the one with rusty drawing pins, congratulating the Mother’s Union for raising £7 19s 11d for Church upkeep. My children have often reiterated their displeasure when on holiday, mostly in France, when I would enthusiastically jump from the car and excitedly head off (alone) towards a remote cemetery or graveyard. This would make up a little for earlier non-events.

Wet through from my walk back, I just made the appointed time only to be met with a resounding silence, where I imagined the throng would now be congregating.

Just me then. The church was securely locked and, without a guide, any chance of an educational tour of the graves was out of the question. So, given I was staying one further night, I returned to the honesty bar at Harborne Hall before lock down and lights out. I left rather early the next morning, not stopping for toast.

This was to be the final ‘non-event’ of the 2012 gathering, so dominated by things that almost happened….

 

Long To Rain Over Us, England v West Indies, Edgbaston, Days One and Two, 7 & 8 June 2012

It rained.

Photo, thanks to Charles Bartlett, probably unconnected...unless Chas was building an ark and starting to populate it during this trip
Photo, thanks to Charles Bartlett, probably unconnected…unless Chas was building an ark and starting to populate it during this trip

There shouldn’t be much else to say.

It rained for the entirety of our visit.

When I started typing the headline of this piece, I typed “Wet Indies” rather than “West Indies” by mistake. Or was it a mistake? Spooky.

To add to the disappointment of this visit, Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett had, as usual, organised a blinder of a visit, including our front row seats in the Raglan Stand and nets early in the evening on the day before the test, at Harborne CC, just up the road from our residence at Harborne Hall.

We had a roadworks/lane closure filled journey up to Birmingham. Chas had kindly offered to give me a lift from the outer reaches of the Central Line (Redbridge? Gants Hill?), so the three of us (including Nick) had plenty of time to bicker about music choices in the car.

If I recall correctly, Chas and I were both on a bit of an electric blues odyssey at that time, so (two to one) we mostly settled on Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters for that journey. In any case, I’m listening to my playlist of those artistes to tweak my memory as I write.

We crawled through Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire in glorious sunshine, secure in the knowledge that we had allowed plenty of time to get to our net; we thought that we were merely losing “decompress” time between the journey and the net. Not quite Kim’s levels of ludicrously OCD “plenty of time” – see this write up in recent memory at the time of writing – but still plenty of time.

However, once we were on the M6 scooting through the West Midlands getting close to Birmingham, we saw some dark sky ahead. rather a lot of it. Rain clouds. Wet rain. Very wet rain. We arrived at Harborne Hall in what could only be described as a tropical-style storm. That storm passed pretty soon after we arrived, but we more or less knew that the soaking was bound to have put our nets at risk. We went down to Harborne CC in hope more than expectation, only to have our fears confirmed. Pools on the outfield and around the nets. No chance of a net.

We’d seen the gloomy weather forecast for the first two days of the test, of course, but still we hoped for a further 36 hours.

I remember little about our two evenings in Harborne that year. I think we went to Harborne’s very satisfactory Chinese restaurant, Henry Wong, one of the evenings, I think that first night. Perhaps the others can remember where else we went.

I remember a lot of sitting around at Harborne Hall. I remember the other three deciding to go down to the ground, despite the pouring rain and no sign of respite. I remember staying back, making some notes about Heavy Rollers visits from years gone by, which are now proving to be a most useful starting point for this blogging.

I also remember how much Harborne Hall had declined since our last visit. Not down to Beechwood Hotel levels – those depths would take some plumbing – but still decline. Harborne Hall had been the VSO conference centre, run along similar lines to The Children’s Society’s Wadderton. But it seemed that VSO had sold (or at least put under management and attempted to commercialise) Harborne Hall. The resulting approach had subtracted almost all of the friendly, folksy character of the place, leaving only the distressed gentility and a rather grasping approach to commercialism.

The nadir for our visit was on the final morning, when Nigel made the mistake of asking for an additional slice of toast with his breakfast and was informed that he would be charged extra for that extra slice. Did I see steam starting to come from Nigel’s ears? I don’t remember exactly how this matter was resolved. Nigel probably does recall.

The other occupants of Harborne Hall were now mostly peripatetic tradesmen. We played some pool and I think darts with some of them, at least one of the evenings, during that stay. We more or less held our own. Perhaps they were more inebriated or had failed to mis-spend their youths playing those games any more than we had.

I also don’t remember when we bailed out of this hopeless situation. I don’t think we stuck around too deep into the second day. I don’t even remember whether Chas gave me a lift back to the Essex borders or whether I stuck with my original plan to take the train home after the game.

It was the first time that the first two days of a test match had been entirely rained off in England since 1964. Not even the modern drainage could save play from that type of relentless rain. This telegraph piece has a lovely photo.

Despite the fact that we saw precisely nothing of this match live, it still counts as one of our Heavy Rollers matches in my view, so here is the scorecard. No surprises that the match was a draw, but there was a surprising stand between Dinesh Ramdin and Tino “mind the windows” Best who put on nearly 150 for the last wicket, Tino managing a batting-career-defining 95 of them.

Crickey, I have generated some 900 words, merely to elaborate on the main point, which I managed to get across in the first two words.

It rained.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka and India v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20, Lord’s, 12 June 2009

Just three days after my previous visit to Lord’s for the World T20 and a couple of days before my next visit, this was the second of my four visits for that tournament. The embarrassment of riches, ticket-wise, is explained in the previous piece.

This visit, on the Friday, was with Ian Theodoreson. I first met Ian when he was at Save The Children and I was on my first assignment for Binder Hamlyn. We’ve kept in touch, on and off, ever since. In June 2009, he was about to join or had just joined the National Church Institutions from Barnardos.

Ian very kindly contributed the Foreword to Michael’s and my second Book, IT For The Not For Profit Sector. Indeed, at one time I recall Ian being quite miffed, because the only reference to himself he could find on the whole internet when “ego-googling” was a critical reference to that foreword. I cannot imagine why anyone would or even could criticise that piece – here is a link to the text of the very foreword, so you can judge for yourself.

But I digress.

This was a very enjoyable day at Lord’s. Our tickets were on the Warner Stand, near the Grandstand (as were the seats a few days before with Mark). I remember Ian and I spotting Sachin Tendulkar being entertained in one of the Grandstand boxes, very close to our seat.

The cricket was good without being exceptional, as is often the way with T20 cricket. Little did we know that we were watching a pre-match between the two tournament finalists first up:

Pakistan v Sri Lanka Scorecard – click here.

The second match was also a bit one sided, with the chasing West Indies always seeming to be ahead:

India v West Indies Scorecard – click here.

Still, it was a great opportunity for Ian and I to catch up over one of my classic Lord’s picnics and some fun cricket to watch. A very enjoyable day.

 

Anything Hughes Can Do (Ramps Can’t Do Better), MTWD Piece, Following Surrey v Middlesex and England v West Indies Remotely, 7 May 2009

We sometimes struggled to find reporters MTWD reporters for away matches, so ended up resorting to somewhat detached reports.

It seems that “Hippity volunteered” to report on this particular day, from his vantage point on the bed at the flat.

Hippity’s vantage point

Younger readers (or older readers with early stages of memory loss) might need to resort to this Wikipedia link to learn/remind themselves what Ceefax was.

It is sad to reflect on Phillip Hughes, who played such a huge part in that early part of Middlesex’s 2009 summer and who was so sadly cut down in his prime just five years later.

Over to Hippity: Anything Hughes Can Do (Ramps Can’t Do Better) – 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 – Anything Hughes Can Do (Ramps Can’t Do Better)

In case anyone was wondering about the England v West Indies match – click here for the scorecard from that one.

Continue reading Anything Hughes Can Do (Ramps Can’t Do Better), MTWD Piece, Following Surrey v Middlesex and England v West Indies Remotely, 7 May 2009

England v West Indies, 1st ODI, Lord’s, 1 July 2007

It was just me and Janie that day. After Pauline’s extraordinary behaviours over cricket and Proms for two years in a row, Janie threatened to dump me if I was daft enough to get Pauline a ticket again in 2007. I took the hint.

I think we were in the Upper Edrich and reasonably near the front.

My main memory of the day was calling my folks from the ground before the game started – we always try to get in early ahead of the crush at the gates. Mum reminded me that dad had not finished his food when we all went out for dinner on the Friday before – described here. She then added that he had pretty much not eaten since, claiming that he had no appetite; she was worried. I remember trying to allay her concerns while agreeing that they should go to the doctor the next day (Monday) if he did not feel better in the meantime. I remember also confiding to Janie that I thought it was a very worrying matter. My dad being off his food was a non-trivial turn of events.

Ah yes, the cricket match. In truth, I really don’t remember much about this match.

Fortunately, for those of us with short memories for ODIs in years gone by, there is the Cricinfo scorecard to remind us what happened. An England win in an ODI at Lord’s – how could any of us forget?

 

England v West Indies, Day One and Day Two, Old Trafford Test, June 7 & 8, 2007

The usual Heavy Rollers gig is Edgbaston, of course, but this year there was to be no test match in Brum.

Indeed, there has been much musing and debate since June 2007 as to whether this outing comprises a Heavy Rollers event or not.

In short, it does as far as I am concerned.

The evening before the match started, we were supposed to have a net at Old Trafford.  Charles had arranged it all.  The Old Trafford lot had been reluctant at first, priority for test match teams, can’t have oiks in the same nets as international players, blah blah.  But when Chas explained that it was our tradition to net at Edgbaston the night before the match (based on a sample of one previous occasion, the year before, negotiated through similar reluctance), someone at Old Trafford was daft enough to relent and take our booking…but was then too polite to tell anyone to keep the place was open for us.

Result – disappointment the night before – only consolation being an amazing meal at Yang Sing (yes, my idea, yes, I know what I am doing, Chinese food-wise) for the four of us who had ventured that far north.  Given the fuss-pot group involved: Nick, Harish, Charles and “me-no-fuss-pot” , the Yang Sing team worked wonders with a feast with plenty of food for all to enjoy.

The first day at the test was a day to watch England batting pretty well.  Chas was still fidgeting about the net; I suggested that our best chance of real redress (i.e. a net) was to try and get them to allow us a net the next morning before the start of play.  So we went to see the indoor school people and managed to find a suitably apologetic and sympathetic lady.  She agreed that we had been seriously inconvenienced, to the extent that merely getting our money back was not adequate; she also managed to arrange for us to have our net at 9:00 am, before play the next day.  She even arranged for us to have a parking space at Old Trafford when the inevitable question came up.  Yes, Chas could then leave the car at Old Trafford all day.  Quite a result.

So in the end, we were able to drive into old Trafford for Day two of the test early in the morning, as if we owned the place.  Into the nets and let the fun commence.  Around the time I came to have my bat, a small posse of West Indian stars turned up in the adjoining net.  I especially remember Ravi Rampaul bowling to Shiv Chanderpaul.  I also remember having to encourage the heavy roller guys to bowl at me rather than rubbernecking at the adjoining nets.

Whether Shiv Chanderpaul rubbernecked to observe my technique I couldn’t say, as naturally I was concentrating hard on my batting – watching the ball all the time, all the way.  But Shiv did make a 50 that day, so I suspect he picked up a few ideas through observation in those nets.

The day got weirder once we were in our seats.  Someone behind us spent more or less the whole day on his feet in a Borat mankini.  He and his mates were also doing some strange business, passing around a whole cooked chicken while singing its praises.  And of course the inevitable Old Trafford beer snakes etc., as was the case Day One.

I also ran into Mike Redfern and a bunch of his mates from the Red Bat Cricket Collective. I noticed the Red Bat shirts walking past us and stopped the guys, asking them if they were by any chance still in touch with Mike.  “We sure are – he’s sitting over there with us”, was the reply.  Really nice to see him again.

Of course we went home at the end of Day Two (driving off into the sunset straight from the ground), but the test remained weird after we left Manchester, with a streaker incident the next day. Strangely, that incident was recently (at the time of writing, December 2015) reminisced about on King Cricket – here.

For the actual cricket, here’s the scorecard.

England v West Indies at Lord’s Day 2, 18 May 2007

Went to this day at the test with Jeremy Smith, who headed up the Z/Yen business that was sold to Aon earlier that year.  Jeremy and his team were still working out of our offices at that time.

The weather was none too good for the start of that match.  They only got about half a day’s play the previous day, but we almost got a full quota.  England had been batting well and carried on doing so.  We saw Collingwood, Bell and Prior score tons.  This was back in the day, when people still said that Bell only scored tons when they didn’t really matter.

It was a batting pitch though – Lord’s was mostly those for a few years, I think it was because the new turf and drainage settled down and the pitches sort of died – some of the other grounds have suffered similarly a few years after putting in the modern drainage.

We had a very enjoyable day.  I recall Jeremy saying how, despite the pleasantness of actually attending, he feels that you can follow a cricket match more readily on the TV than at the ground. Possibly so; certainly back then before the ubiquitous big screens.

Match scorecard – click here.

Strangely, King Cricket just the other day (as I write in December 2015) reported on a streaker incident at Old Trafford, later in that series – click here. I attended the first two days of that Old Trafford test – report linked here. But the streak business reminds me that Lord’s is like a different world somehow – it’s a long time since we’ve seen a streaker at HQ. And on the rare occasions we get them, they look more genteel somehow than the “gentleman” who did the deed in Manchester – with thanks to Sam for digging out a better picture – here.

England v West Indies, 5th Test, Oval, 31 August 2000 but not 4 September 2000

Thursday 31 August 2000

I have documentary evidence to prove that I went to the Oval on the first day of the fifth test. Not much was arranged by e-mail in those days, but I wrote an e-mail to TMS. I was reminded of same, today (13 January 2017) as a result of some discussions about left and right-handedness on King Cricket – click here – which triggered a memory that I possess a great essay on the subject in The Boundary Book: Second Innings.

I found the book. Marking that very essay in my copy of The Boundary Book: Second Innings was a printout of the following e-mail, to TMS:

In the hope & expectation that Nagamootoo will be selected for the Oval, try this limerick for size.

There is a young man Nagamootoo,

Who the girls find it hard to stay true to;

He’s a little too shy,

Like the song by that guy,

Named Limahl from the group Kajagoogoo.

Do look out for us today, near the front of the Peter May North Stand. A monkey, a green rabbit, four chaps (including two American rookies trying test cricket for the first time) and a yellow duck named Henry.  Henry bears more than a passing resemblance to Henry Blofeld.

Ian

Earlier that same summer at the first test with the Heavy Rollers, plus Hippity the Green Bunny, Henry the Duck but no monkey. The monkey joined our household later.
We met Bananarama Monkey-Face in Pickering in early July 2000. This photo from 2014, after he’d established his own small-time writing career.

FALSE MEMORY PARAGRAPH

I have a feeling that the first day of the fifth test must be the occasion that Jeremy, Michael and I went together, with the additional American Rookie being a client or prospective client of Michael’s who turned out to have the attention span of a flea. He watched for about 5 or 10 minutes, got bored, wandered off and made us feel thoroughly irritated, as we knew loads of people who would have loved that hot ticket. As Michael said afterwards, “I’m not making that mistake again”.

CORRECTED MEMORY PARAGRAPH

Following an e-mail trawl for other summer 2000 matters, I realise that the above memory is false, or rather a memory from a later year/test match day. On 31 August 2000 the attendees were:

  • me
  • Michael “Timothy Tiberelli” Mainelli
  • Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett
  • Bob “Big Mac” Reitemeier (this pseudonym previously unused, but in the grand tradition of On The Waterfront characters as pseudonyms).

Both Michael and Bob were suitably interested in the cricket and indeed both have attended first class cricket and/or played several times since their initiation that day. Perhaps Charles also has some memories of that day. Big Mac e-mailed to say:

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the day.  I must admit that I did follow the events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with some interest following my induction on Thursday.  Great stuff.   The hook has been planted…

What about Monday?

But far more importantly, Aggers clearly liked my limerick a lot, because I heard him read it out at one point and learned that he broadcast it more than once during the day on that first day of the match.

I got very excited on the Friday, as Clean Business Cuisine (still available at all good bookshops, both on-line and real world) had just come out and we were promoting it heavily, so I got our book PR lass, Tanya, to bike a copy of the book to the TMS team at the Oval with a note of thanks re the limerick. I am now sure that such effort and expense is utterly futile. We live and learn.

That evening (the Friday) Janie and I saw Anthea and Mitchell. My diary says so. On the Saturday evening we saw Maz – my diary says so. I think it was her goodbye party ahead of going off to Malawi. A trawl of Janie’s diaries (and other people’s memories) at some stage in the future might well retrieve more stuff about those two evenings.

Monday 4 September 2000

Somehow, England, a shocking test match side at the time, had got itself ahead in a series against the (once) mighty West Indies (heck, they still had Walsh and Ambrose in those days, ageing though they might have been).

Going into the final test, England were 2-1 up. And now England were poised, in a great position to win the historic match and series on Day 5.

Click here to see the match scorecard.

I was reminded of all this 18 months ago (summer 2015) when King Cricket cricket wrote a piece about the summer of 2000 – click here.

Several of us recovered our memories for that piece and commented. Here’s my comment about 4 September 2000:

I remember taking an early call from Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff on the final day of the series, wondering whether I wanted to join him on a walk-up expedition south of the river (Thames, not Zambezi) to the Oval. He reckoned we’d still get good seats walking up Day 5 and it turned out he was right. But I had unmovable client commitments that day (long since forgotten by me and probably the clients), so he walked up and got splendid seats for an historic day without me. I made amends by buying Day 5 seats for the Oval in 2005 as a precautionary measure; Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff was one of the beneficiaries of that forethought.

Well I have now looked up my diary and can see exactly what I did that day. I was sort-of on a deadline with an important report. Plus lots of calls. But I did have some slack that week.

Could I have burned some midnight oil and caught up? Of course I could.

Should I have gone with Jeff that day? Of course I should.

Oh well.