All the weather reports insisted that Saturday would be a fine day. When I looked out the window at 7am it was rather grey and overcast. When I opened the door for the taxi at 9am it still looked a little uncertain. However, the clouds blew away and only a few white clouds remained. No rain.
My destination was Lord’s Cricket Ground in St John’s Wood. Lord’s the Home of Cricket. This was my first ever visit to Lord’s, and I was lucky enough to be the guest of an MCC (Middlesex Cricket Club) member.
Upon arriving at the ground and meeting at the North Gate as planned we walked past the training area (which gives the name to ‘The Nursery End’) and around the stands to enter the Pavilion.
The Pavilion is an oasis of calm. Gentle chatter and well dressed gentlemen and ladies (well, it was Ladies Day). We arrived at the ground floor and walked through the Long Room, taking time to admire the cricket themed oil paintings. Sitting at the back of the Pavilion out of the sun we had a perfect spot to enjoy the match (Middlesex v. Somerset) and enjoy our picnic.
I have been a cricket enthusiast since childhood (it being the only sport that my family all watched on TV) but I have been to very few matches. I enjoyed discovering some of the finer points of the game which had been lost in translation watching on TV.
I was particularly perplexed at the amount of time spent looking for a stray ball which had been hit into the upper level of the stands. In baseball (which I also follow with enthusiasm) if the ball leaves the park (whether home run or foul ball) it is replaced, instantly, with a new ball. In cricket you have to make all efforts to find the ball, and when eventually a ball is replaced a box of balls arrive to pick out the ball that is most like the one being replaced.
A county game is played over several days, and this was a continuation of a game already started. Somerset had won the toss and elected to bat, this they did with proficiency, eventually declaring on 443-9. The match was eventually drawn when play finished on Monday.
Sitting in the sunshine watching cricket, enjoying a picnic (with a couple of bottles of wine) and some gentle conversation; as my friend observed, a very grown up way to spend Saturday.