Through the good offices of Bob Tickler I was able to purchase a seat – my own seat – in the Upper Mound Stand. This affords you the right to watch the big events of Lords cricket from your seat in the Upper Mound for 3 years. I was initially unsure because of the cost, amount of use and, following the Rust debate of TV v stadium, whether I would prefer to be at home. I have to say that after my first day there I’m delighted with my decision.
The space is atop the Mound Stand which affords a fine view over the most attractive and traditional of cricketing arenas. There is plenty of space and for one with a weak bladder toilets are ubiquitous. No queuing to miss key moments. The staff were especially friendly and helpful. From the Greeters to the waiting staff I cannot recall a higher standard of service.
It has the added advantages over the MCC stands of less formal dress and you can arrive at your seat at any time. As to dress I went for a Panama hat, a smart jacket, slightly bold royal blue trousers and docksiders. I got this absolutely right. There was the odd spectator in a MCC tie or bandana hat but most dressed in the same vein. My people-watching concluded that the debenture holder was affluent but either unwilling to wait on the MCC list or wanted something less formal.
As to the day, I arrived early for a hearty breakfast. The waitress could not have been more helpful and I felt set up for the day. I assumed my seat which had a superb view. I have never been one to see cricket as a excuse for a day’s drinking as I like to concentrate on the unfolding event, not see it as back cloth to quaffing in industrial quality. There was an increasing noise of cavorting by the bar and knapsacks full of prosecco and wine but at least the general conduct was acceptable and not boorish. Lunch was similarly well organised in a restaurant on the second level. I was given a time and table on my admission card. The buffet served hot and cold food of which Daffers would have approved and the waitress, a music student, was delightful. I allowed myself a glass of wine. It gave an interesting twist to the Rust debate as you could easily watch the cricket on the tv screens whilst dining.
After tea I met Bob at one of the bars. I saw the Great Man with his golfing pal, a jovial high flying ad man and with Sir John Egan, the former head of Jaguar and the BAA. I was slightly in awe of such company as if I was at a conference at the Institute of Directors, but Sir John is a most ebullient character regaling the story of how he met Bob’s mother for the first time at Warwick University. He asked her what she had in a large bag. “Curtains” she replied, as if he was daft to question why a person should bring curtains to a academic/social event. Bob said that his mother was the first to spot the future leadership qualities of his lifetime-chum when he arrived at their house aged 9 in a cab and when asked if he needed help to pay the taxi replied that he had settled the cabbie with a 15% tip. No wonder he is the COE of a global agency of which Unipart, as led by Sir John, was an early client. It was not clear whether Bob had watched a ball bowled.
It was a poor day for England. Their batting line-up is brittle and I can foresee an agitation for Ian Bell to be recalled if Compton (over 30) is ditched, but why not then go to the the younger Luke Wright, a consistent accumulator with red and white ball? We can’t expect Jonny Bairstow to bail us every time after 4 wickets, 3 sold cheaply, have gone. It was a memorable day in the Rust debate of tv at home v attendance and I’m now no longer a stayer.