Monday, 17 June 2013

Every cricketers dream - to play at Lords

Yesterday I got to play against the MCC at Lords, on the nursery ground. It was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. The pitch was firm and hard, our opposition the feared and mighty MCC. The match ended in a draw with our team 4 short in a run chase with one wicket left. Every possible result was possible on the last ball of the game as the sun went down over London.
The day started well when I took the first wicket by stumping an MCC batsman who dared to give the charge to the Reading MP, Rob Wilson's off break. But the MCC are made of stern stuff, and proper cricketing ability, and they scored at will, stroking the bowling of the part time parliamentarians to most parts of the ground and beyond. Sadly my batting, which is normally that of a robust number 6, proved hopelessly outclassed by a pacy former county player who did me all ends up first ball. The umpire helpfully took a picture of the carnage that were my stumps after my forward defence so obviously failed to blunt the 75mph MCC bullet. Thanks Mr Umpire!
We were captained by my Yorkshire colleague Nigel Adams MP, and our team of MP's featured such esteemed finance gurus [and cricketers] as Joe Johnson and John Redwood, our Labour colleague and demon opening bowler Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Minister, and the outstanding athletic fielding prowess of the diving Milton Keynes MP, Mark "Bomber" Lancaster. Mark produced the champagne moment with a boundary diving stop and gather that Jonty Rhodes would have been proud of.
But the highlight of the match was a brilliant hundred by Nigel Adams, scored at more than a run a ball, which almost saw us home.  I have played with the skip a few times down the years and yesterday he batted with a freedom few have seen him have before - seeing off the new ball with only a few played and missed, before then tucking into the off spinners like a Celtic supporter in a pie shop. Nigel never likes running singles so he decided to get a hundred the IPL way - hitting 18 fours and 4 sixes in his ton. It is a brave bowler who puts the ball in Nigel's hitting zone and sure enough many a ball disappeared robustly in the direction of cow corner.
Huge thanks to all the Lords staff for making it possible and the MCC team, who were a great bunch of lads.
There is a big sign at the Lords gate, which has the following words by the England bowler, Graeme Swann:
"Every time I play at Lords I feel like a kid on Christmas Day... the whole place is magical"
I am pleased to say I now know how he feels - it was an incredible experience.