There were all sorts of anoraks at Lord's today- and not all of them were carrying scoresheets, pencils, binoculars and lifetime supplies of Wisden Almanacs. It rained off and on most of the day so there were genuine anoraks of the raincoat variety in abundance. The delayed start meant we didn't have to combat the Tube too early, giving us the opportunity to get a barrage of pints in at Gordon Ramsey's pub, The Warrington, before the start of play. There's something strangely wonderful about drowning your sorrows before the Test has even begun.
Ross Taylor is right – there are men (and the odd woman) in beige scattered about Lord’s this week. Not that they make it easy for there to be a presence for Kiwi fans: it is nigh in impossible to get a group of more than about six people sitting together en masse. We are there in several platoons of course, and will be reuniting at lunch for a spot of Pimm’s and some BYC on the Nursery Ground on Saturday and Sunday.
It was fascinating meandering around Lord's as the ground, the players and all the auxiliary facilities were being prepared. Scaffolding was being erected, new signs stuck to fences and the red-skirted npower girls go through their paces. (I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with them via these profiles.) Not sure why they needed to have a warm-up, but I suppose walking around looking magnificent and getting ogled by men in red and white striped blazers and bizarre spectacles takes a bit of psyching up. For the record, every single one of them looked blonde, friendly with a sunbed, and effective.
Lord’s is truly a citadel of cricket. Every single one of you must come here before you die. Cricket oozes from these pores in St John's Wood – there is nowhere better to be watching cricket. But while it is a magnet for cricket-lovers from around the world, the weird and wonderful eccentrics of London also gravitate toward it. For example, as I waited at the MCC reception, I heard grunting and groaning and a chap emerged with a weird looking racquet, in top to toe white towelling. He'd been unleashing on another bloke similarly attired, as they played what must be one of the most ridiculous sports ever invented: real tennis. Just what the point of a court promoting another sport is doing at the home of cricket is not clear to me, but there you go. And sitting in front of us in The Mound Stand was a match made in heaven: a husband and wife listening to the BBC's Test Match Special via one cheeky earphone each. A beautiful thing.
Elsewhere there was the sight of the Kiwi players fleecing a football around at practice. Jamie How could sign up for Wrexham or Stoke City – he really is quite good. We're off back to The Warrington as I type this - and we're trying not to not mention the pain of seeing Baz self-implode for one more run than last time, seeing Broad bowl consistently well, SoR fail to emulate his old man, and the most ridiculous attempted hoik to cow corner from the aforementioned Mr Taylor. He is batting in a style very reminiscent of our own BYC efforts. The V Ross, stick to the the V.
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