Lords, LBW and Lagers
There are a plethora of cricketing grounds around the world that boast a far more vociferous and carnival style atmosphere than the home of cricket Lords. However they do not have such traditional cricketing references that leave the true fans chomping by the bit. Any cricket purist will tell you that watching Test cricket at Lords is very absorbing and streets ahead of the mickey mouse crash, bang, wallop style of Twenty20 cricket.
I was sitting in the Mound stand on the fourth day of the first Test match between England and Pakistan on 17 July 2016. The panoramic view from this area of the ground gives you the feeling of being a fielder on the pitch. At the Pavilion end where the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) members reside, the five-minute bell rings at 10:55am in anticipation of the 11am start of play. The lagers were already flowing amongst the crowd who took to the idea of a liquid breakfast! The bar tenders at Lords provide you containers to carry up to four pints in one hand. Given that a Test match is a full day out in the sun (at times), most spectators tend to use this as an excuse to carry more lagers to their seat than they might normally do!
The fans of both sides were generally civilised and shared cricket ‘banter’ throughout. It can become an Xfactor singing contest once spectators are in a more ‘merry’ mood. There is the occasional Mexican wave surge which invariably doesn’t involve the MCC members faithful. Therefore at Lords the atmosphere is generated through innovation rather than it just being a case of who can shout the loudest contest.
LBW (Leg Before Wicket) for those who are not well versed in cricket is when a bowler appeals or in extreme cases screams at the umpire for the batsman to be given out. The lack of noise in the stands allows fans to hear these appeals, thereby creating a closer vibe with events taking place on the field. Furthermore fans at Lords do enjoy joining in on the appeal by raising their lager glasses towards the bowler and yelling out ‘how’s that’ which when said in a tipsy voice sounds like ‘how’s zat’.
At the end of the day’s play if you asked me ‘how’s that’ my answer is quite simply ‘another beautiful day of Test cricket’. It was a social gathering in the first instance where the cricket was merely a sideshow. Thereafter the tension built with every passing Over as the contest became increasingly dramatic. By the way it is not a myth that a Test match can end in a draw despite players sweating it out for five days! In such instances bowlers will find any excuse to make LBW appeals which creates great theatre!
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