Stuart George

Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s’

Bear necessities

In Cricket on September 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

With the usual motley crew, I was at Lord’s yesterday to see Warwickshire, which I’ve supported for over 20 years, play Somerset in the CB40 Final at Lord’s.

My Somerset-supporting mates pointed out that there was no Warwickshire flag hoisted on the Pavilion. I quipped that this was because Warwickshire played in Lord’s finals so often that the flag was worn out.

Earlier this week I had seen an article by Vic Marks in which he thought this would be the lowest ever attendance at a Lord’s One Day final. He was right. So few tickets had been sold that the Tavern Stand, where my mates and I normally park ourselves, was closed. It was a woeful attendance, with the ground barely half full.

The idea of starting at 3pm and finishing under floodlights at 9pm or so is fine if you live in or close to London but if you have to travel from Birmingham or Taunton it is a very long (and expensive) day. I hope that Lord’s sees sense and reverts to the morning start.

I have never been fond of 40-over cricket but this was a super match. Daringly, the Warwickshire captain Ian Bell asked Somerset to bat first. Historically, the side batting second (Warwickshire in this instance) has always won the match. Mid-September morning dampness can make a cricket ball do all sorts of cruel things to batsmen. But batting second under floodlights and with a bit of evening moisture was courageous indeed.

Somerset should probably have scored 250. Warwickshire’s outstanding fielding kept them to 199.

Bell scored a magnificent 107, out with only one run needed to win. Until he played some big shots towards the end of the match, it was far from certain that Warwickshire would win.

It was tough on Somerset, who are also runners up in the County Championship and the FP 20/20 – second place in three competitions, which makes them, by general consent, the best team in the country. But they have nothing to show for it. Somerset were runners up in two competitions in 1978, which preceded the golden era of Botham, Richards and Garner in one of county cricket’s greatest teams. This current Somerset squad will surely come good.

In the meantime, I will enjoy Warwickshire’s first gong since 2002. Come on you Bears!

Flintoff plays at Lord’s

In Cricket on September 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm

A Flintoff played at Lord’s today but it was not, alas, Andrew.

John Flintoff (no relation) represented Sassay in the Village Cup Final. His team from North Yorkshire beat Shipton-under-Wychwood of Oxfordshire by seven wickets in the best Village Final that I’ve seen since I first attended this match in 2004.

The cricket was of a very high standard. There was some brilliant batting, notably 38 runs from 13 balls by Jason Hunt of Sassay, a scoring rate that would be considered outrageous even in an international 20/20. John Barclay, the charming and highly amusing President of MCC, said at the post-match presentation that it had been “the real thing.” The photo above shows how spread out the Shipton field was because of the big hitting – no slips needed for all those hits square and forward of the wicket.

Shipton won the Cup in 2002 and 2003 and has probably been the best club side in England over the last decade. Kudos to Sassay for this fine achievement.

During the lunch interval we were allowed onto the playing area – a rare privilege. I cannot recall being onto the outfield at Lord’s since the England vs. West Indies Test in 2000, when I was briefly stood next to Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose. They were both about a foot taller than me. No such giants today, though some of the Shipton and Sassay players were probably a foot wider than me.

The pitch shown above is the one that will be used for Saturday’s 40-over County final between Somerset and my beloved Warwickshire (hurrah!). It will also be utilised for Monday’s England vs. Pakistan One Day International, which will be the last match of the year at Lord’s. From 21 September on I will have to console myself with members’ dinners and visits to The Oval library.

Notice how bare the pitch is – a grass covering would be fatal for batsmen at this time of year – and how it is being rolled to make it as flat and batsmen-friendly as possible.

I saw the last hour or so of the England vs. Pakistan match at Headingley on TV. That wide by Umar Gul in the last over was rather suspect, non?

Fine legs? Ladies’ day at Lord’s

In Cricket on June 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

I spent yesterday’s sweltering afternoon at Lord’s, alternatively watching Middlesex vs. Northamptonshire outside or England vs. Bangladesh on the TV in the Bowlers’ Bar.

Lord’s had decreed that Saturday 5 June was “Ladies’ Day”, in the tradition of the same at The Derby on the previous day. Under- or loudly-dressed young (and not so young) ladies could enter free of charge.

I should not complain about loud-dressing – my egg and bacon tie and claret moleskin trousers combination always gets a few comments.

One gentleman, however, took the Ladies’ Day concept perhaps a bit too literally. He was sat in the Members’ Bar wearing a kilt – a dress, I’d call it.

The legs were not fine but I was assured that the ball swung.