Lord’s changes every year. A new stand here, a new stand there – expect more to change in the coming years as the Nursery End of the ground gets redeveloped. A number of things never change though. The Pavilion, the immaculate grass which could easily replicate the surface of the baize at the Crucible, the electric sound of the crowd from outside, as an English boundary crashes over the rope but one thing you can't hear, see or touch, is the buzz, the anticipation of the first morning of a Test at Lord’s...
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Your trip to Lord’s will vary from where you watch the game. Whether watching it from a hospitality box in the Mound or the Grand Stand via Keith Prowse (www.keithprowse.co.uk/sport/
cricket/) will give one of the best views of the ground. The side view from the lower seats will show you how quickly the professionals bowl; watching Wayne Daniel here in the Seventies with the keeper standing back a pitch and a half certainly tested the 20/20 vision of a child. The seats in the upper tiers of the Compton or Edrich stands give a fantastic view from behind the bowler’s arm, whereas sitting in the Pavilion as the players walk through the Long Room before doing battle on the hallowed turf, is one of the more unusual sights in sport.
The Pavilion is worth the admission fee alone. A rabbit warren of corridors and committee rooms, the art hanging around the venue is worth a look. The honours boards in the dressing rooms are a monument to some of the finest players in the game, yet the likes of Warne, Tendulkar and many more greats have failed to get on them. The Dining Room where the players eat is always rated as the number one venue in the game, one player describing it to this blog as, “so good you could go there on a first date”.
Behind here the MCC offices are situated, with the Real Tennis courts on the downstairs floors. Jazz bands playing in the gardens, people picnicking or a meeting place tends to be the congregating that takes place around here during a Test match. On colder days, admission to the museum is advised. You can see the Ashes or the Prudential World Cup amongst a host of other cricketing memorabilia.
I’ve seen so many amazing games here – a Sunday league game as an eight year old, England v Australia in the 1979 World Cup, the 1984 West Indians or the 2001 Australians – both of whom lay claim to be the best sides that ever set foot on a cricket pitch. I’ve seen some wonderful innings. A KP 158, a languid Gower ton, Andrew Strauss’ debut with a hundred, Graham Gooch’s 333 versus a 16 year old Sachin Tendulkar.
Lord’s holds so many memories for me. Whether it is watching from the grass in front of the crowd, sadly no longer allowed, as I did as an eight year old, watching it with your mates in the stands or entertaining clients in corporate hospitality, nobody can fail to be impressed by the history and grandeur surrounding this magical part of NW8.
That is why it is the Home of Cricket.