Cricket is very much a game played by the English and members of Commonwealth countries.the most famous venues are The Oval and Lords cricket Ground which is off Wellington Road.
Equipment: As cricket is played in summer, spectators should make sure they have sunscreen. With the vagaries of the English climate, an umbrella and both summer clothes , and sweaters are advisable.
Lord's Cricket Ground has been home to cricket since 1814 and regularly hosts both test matches and one day international matches. Its alos the Home of Middlesex c.c which happens to be my team!
Nearest tube station - St Johns wood
Anyone who has read my VT pages in any detail will know that I’m a big football fan, but I have to confess that the English obsession for cricket has largely passed me by. However, I’m always willing to give anything a go, and an invitation to Lords from a friend who is a member of the MCC (the Marylebone Cricket Club) was too good a chance to pass up.
We went to the first day of a four day county game, Middlesex v. Leicestershire. My cricket-watching friends warned me that a slow-paced match such as this was not the best introduction to the sport. Certainly the action was leisurely (to my untrained eye) and moments of drama were few and far between. But the day was good fun, and I learnt a lot about cricket. I also got to experience the special atmosphere of the Pavilion, thanks to my friend’s MCC membership, including the famous Long Room.
The game of cricket
If you’ve never watched cricket, you may find it more than a little confusing, although anyone familiar with baseball or rounders will spot that the main principle is the same, i.e. to use your bat to hit a ball bowled towards you, and to score by running between fixed points while the ball is in play. But that’s probably where the similarity ends. As I said, I’m not an expert, but anyone who watches a bit of sport in England can’t fail to pick up the basics of the game, so here’s my attempt at an explanation:
A cricket match is played on a grass field, roughly oval in shape, in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called the pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood and consisting of three uprights with two horizontal pieces balanced on them, is placed at each end of the pitch. The objective, for the batting side, is to defend this wicket while also scoring runs.
The bowler, a player from the fielding team, bowls the ball from one end of the pitch towards the other. The ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman. The other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field and are known as fielders. Their aim is to retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman may run between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker"), who has been waiting near the bowler's wicket. However, there is no obligation for the batsman either to hit the ball or to attempt a run. A batsman will be out if:
1. the ball hits the wicket by passing his bat or glancing off it
2. he hits the ball and it is caught by a fielder or the bowler while still in the air (i.e. before its first bounce)
3. a fielder “stumps” him by catching the ball and using it to hit the wicket before the running batsman has got either his bat or his body across the crease
Each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area (four runs if it crosses the boundary, or six if it does so while still in the air). After six balls have been bowled (known as an “over”), the other bowler takes over and the direction of the bowling switches to the opposite wicket.
When all the batsmen bar one are out, the “innings” is over and the teams swap roles. The match is won by the team that scores more runs over the course of the game. Traditionally a match consists of two innings for each team, but various shorter games are played, known as “limited overs” games.
This is an incredibly abbreviated description – if you really want to know more, read the Wikipedia article about the rules of cricket.
Marylebone Cricket Club
The MCC was founded in 1787 and is probably the world's most famous cricket club. You can read about its history on the Lords website, but here’s a potted version:
The first officially staged cricket match in London was between Middlesex and Essex on 31st May 1787 in Marylebone, by the newly formed Marylebone Cricket Club. A year later, the club laid down a Code of Laws, requiring the wickets to be pitched 22 yards apart and detailing how players could be given out. These laws were adopted throughout the game, and MCC remains to this day the custodian and arbiter of laws relating to cricket around the world.
In 1814 Lord's (named after Thomas Lord who staged that first match) moved to a new rural ground in St John's Wood in 1814, which remains MCC's home to this day. The present-day Pavilion is not the original, but dates from 1890 and is a listed building of great historic significance. Only members of the MCC and their guests are allowed inside, and until about five years ago that privilege was the preserve of men only – the MCC being one of the last British institutions to modernise and acknowledge equal rights for women! This famous building will form the backdrop to the archery contests in the London Olympics in 2012.
If you are at all interested in the history of cricket, of the MCC in particular and of Lords, you should certainly visit the museum at the ground. This contains a wide range of exhibits but it is best-known for being the home of the Ashes. The Ashes urn was given to the England cricket captain, the Hon Ivo Bligh, after his side had triumphed against Australia in the 1882-83 series. On his death in 1927, his widow bequeathed the urn to MCC. Since then, the tiny trophy has remained on display at Lord's, where it is seen by the tens of thousands of people who visit the Museum each year. Even when Australia has won the most recent test series and is the holder of the trophy, it remains here at Lords for safe-keeping.
Other museum exhibits include the stuffed sparrow that was 'bowled out' by Jehangir Khan in 1936, and the copy of Wisden that helped to sustain EW 'Jim' Swanton throughout his captivity in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. Other displays include cricket kit used by some of the greatest players of all time, including WG Grace, Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman and Shane Warne. The museum can be visited on match-days by ticket-holding spectators (£3.00 for adults, and £1.00 for concessions), or is included in tours of Lords, which also take in the Pavilion and famous Long Room (when no match is in progress), the players’ dressing rooms and other facilities at the ground. Current tour prices are £12 for adults, £6 for children and £7 for other concessions. A family ticket (two adults & two children) costs £31.
Take a tour around Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood, home of both Marylebone and Middlesex cricket clubs and considered to be “The Home of Cricket.” Take in the 1890’s built pavilion with the famous Long Room then have a look around the MCC Museum with exhibits covering 400 years of cricket including the Ashes urn. Lords also has one of the few Real Tennis courts in the UK. This original form of the game is also called Royal or Court Tennis or Jeu de Paume in other countries.
You can then continue round the ground and get great views from the new Grandstand, the Mound Stand and the iconic and strangely shaped Media centre opposite the pavilion, which somehow finished above St Paul’s Cathedral in a 2001 poll of Britain’s fifty best buildings.
Tours take place most days throughout the year but it is advisable to check first as they are curtailed if there is a big game being played. Cost is around £8 including admission to the museum.
The MCC cricket museum at Lords is the oldest sports museum in the world dating back to 1953 and takes you through 400 years of cricket history with paintings, photos, artefacts and old cricketing equipment. All the great players are featured from WG Grace to Don Bradman to Ian Botham and even a broken bat used by current England favourite Andrew Flintoff. Then there is the macabre sight of the famous stuffed sparrow which was killed in flight by a cricket ball hit by Jehengir Khan back in 1936.
But the star attraction of course is the ashes urn dating back to 1882. In that year England were beaten on home soil for the first time by Australia and a newspaper printed an obituary to English cricket stating that the body would be burned and the ashes taken to Australia. Later that year England went to Australia and after beating them their captain Ivo Bligh made a speech about retrieving the ashes of English cricket. He was later given a small urn full of ashes (allegedly from a pair of cricket bails) that he bought back to England. The original urn now sits in the MCC museum and a replica is awarded to the winning team in the England vs. Australia “Ashes” series of cricket matches that take pace every couple of years.
Admission is £3 and a visit can be combined with a tour of the Lords ground.
The home of cricket is Lords and it is a fantastic place to watch the game. The ground is small enough to be intimate and the English fans support their team with a huge amount of passion. The Lords shop is stocked full of items to take back home and the beer tents never, ever run out!! Tickets cost 40 pounds so it's not cheap but worth the money as far as I am concerned.
Equipment: Cushion, binoculars for the close up look & a pack of cards if it rains.
One afternoon we were sitting in our hotel room and found the final of the local cricket league, it was something shire v's something or other shire. So hubby suggests - lets go to Lords and watch the end of it! Okay i said, so off we went. Unfortunatley when we got there, the game was so close to being finished that they weren't letting anyone else it! Shame, it sounded really exciting, and I just glimpsed a bit of green grass and a player through the walls. But at least we can say we went there!!
I remember hearing a recording of "Hankcock's half-hour" where Sid tries to con Hancock into buying an 'Urban farm' as Hancock is amazed at finding such a wide open space in the middle of London.
'Lords' is the spiritual home of Cricket, and although there is a stadium tour and museum, you really need to experience a game.
It is very difficult to get a ticket to a Test match (international) and it will cost of Fourty pounds upwards. You can however see a county (First-class) game for around ten pounds.
Children (under 16) always get in very cheap, as it is a way of promoting the game.
Check -out the website at www.middlesexccc.com
If you are a newcomer to the game then you might also like to check-out by VT tip on "Cricket explained to Foreigners" in my England section.
Lords itself feature a number of Interesting pavillions, including the space age Nat West Media Centre which give the appearance of a UFO hovering over one end of the ground.
if you were there during the past 5 days,
you'd have been aprt of South Africa Cricket history
Graeme Smith with his 2nd double century of 259 has overhauled the Don's 254 to become the highest-scoring overseas player at Lord's.
whilst Makhaya Ntini took 10 match wickets as South Africa won the second Test at Lord's with some degree of ease.
Along the way, a jubilant crowd was treated to an exhilarating ton by Andrew Flintoff, who was finally stumped for 142.
see also >> Salute the young master by
Jon Henderson Sunday August 3, 2003
for an interesting insight into another Graeme compared with our own legendary Graeme Pollock, Shaun's uncle -
Very very complicated,
I promise to explain when we meet by person next time.
Equipment: 1leather ball