Friday, 20 June 2014

Column 16, 2014 – Lord's vs Lounge

Printed in The Cricket Paper issue 88, Friday June 20, 2014.
[Full text below]

I love Lord’s. I love the buildings, the history, the look of the grass, the uniquely joyful sound of 20,000 people engaged in polite conversation. Is there a better place to watch cricket?

Well there’s really only one other contender. Thomas Lord’s place has to battle it out with my place. The home of cricket, vs the home of me.

Like most people these days, my home has a dirty great HD TV with a 1080p picture and 5.1 Dolby digital stereo. It has a large comfy sofa, which I’m confident would be worth well under £75 on the open market, and a fridge full of beer which is not only cold, but actually tastes like beer, and cost really quite significantly less than £4.60 a pint. It also boasts a choice of toilets with dry floors and no queues.

Last Friday I had the best seats I’ve ever had at Lord’s, (though my actual seat was wet and sticky, because the first thing I did was spill Champagne all over myself, but that’s beside the point,) right under the media spaceship, behind the bowler’s arm. The best possible view.

Except when something happens.

When something happens, there is little doubt that the best seat in the house is actually in your house.

At home I have Hawkeye, Hotspot, Snicko, super slow-mo replays – all the toys. On my sofa, I will scrutinise a contentious moment with all the veracity of any third umpire.

When Silva nicked Broad to Prior, there was some debate about whether it carried. But I only know this because I have since watched the highlights. At the ground, all you got was a five minute delay while people in the crowd asked each other if they had any idea what was going on, until the big screens dotted around the place finally sprang into action with six helpful letters: NOT OUT.

Quite why those at the ground are denied what those on their sofas are privy to is beyond me. Another of the modern game’s inexplicable foibles.

But never mind all that. I went to Lord’s with two old school friends I don’t see nearly enough anymore. One flew over from Ireland for the day, the other had a stand up fight with his boss about taking the day off. Without the pull of a Lord’s Test, at least one, possibly all three of us would have found it all too easy to cry off. But Lord’s is special, and we weren’t going to miss it.

We had a fantastic day, full of beer and news and cheese and wine, which just happened to have the magnificent backdrop of Root making a double ton and England declaring for 575 on a perfectly sun-kissed afternoon.

In terms of watching cricket – really watching it – telly may have the edge. In terms of enjoying cricket – really enjoying it – there’s just no contest. Lord’s wins hands down.

- ends 487 words -

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