As New Zealand wickets rang out throughout the opening session and half of the English international summer cricket provided more than enough entertainment to capture a nearly full crowd at Lord’s. Which was perhaps just as well, given that the promised side shows proved disappointing.
Fans had been asked to wear the colors of the British flag, and there were perhaps a few more Union Jack jackets and ties than on a typical day at the Test, a scattering of patriotic evening wear to clash with traditional MCC bacon and eggs. But among the themes expected off the pitch, the excitement of the Jubilee weekend was as hard to spot as the vast swathes of empty seats.
Few here would have been disappointed with the way the morning went after New Zealand won the coin toss and were down 39 for six, with the possible exception of chief executive Guy Lavender and MCC secretary. While preparing for the match, he said he was “really looking forward to seeing Lord’s and everyone on the pitch, dressed in red, white and blue.” Unlike the ball on regular occasions where it was nicked in the direction of Jonny Bairstow, it will have been disappointed.
Lord’s was a surprisingly bright area for the Jubilee. The only red arrows were thrown at the batters by Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Matt Potts and, briefly, Ben Stokes. It’s true that the simultaneous celebrations at Buckingham Palace were shown on a handful of screens around the ground, the only problem being that they were all located in a toilet. Most notably, it brought an unexpected new meaning to the phrase royal flush.
Although some flags were hung behind the Compton and Edrich stands, the eastern half of the pitch had banners in one place: at the foot of the media center, lying in a heap on the flat bed of a hydraulic platform. He was waiting there for someone to pick him up and let him fulfill his patriotic purpose.
Like the bunting, the promise to drape the structure in a giant union jack was not kept. Apparently a flag had been placed on its roof, but it was only visible to pigeons. A trailing “Jubilee-themed food and drink range” amounted to a single bespoke cocktail – gin, tonic, champagne, lemon, cucumber, raspberries, £11.
Beyond that, a vegetarian “it’s not coronation chicken” sandwich was widely available, while a bar behind the members’ lodge offered a coronation chickpea salad with spicy cream chutney – both part of the pitch’s standard repertoire – and there were rumors of a Jubilee Pudding being offered in the premium seating areas.
The only place that was flamboyantly pointed out was the Coronation Garden, a leafy oasis behind the Warner Stand. A sapling had been planted there hours before the game to mark the jubilee – pleasantly a few yards from a bench dedicated to the memory of a Mr. Plant, a member of the MCC between 1966 and 2010. Early arrivals also had right to the performance of We Thank You From Our Hearts, a new anthem commissioned by the British Monarchists Society and sung by ‘national treasure’ Lesley Garrett and musical comedy star Rodney Earl Clarke.
Clarke will know a few things about the events of the Bargain Jubilee weekend, not exactly about the message, given that he plays the Bishop of Digne in the popular anti-monarchist, insurrection-themed classic The Miserables of the West End. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there seem to be plenty of spots available this weekend for that as well.
As this musical memorably asks: do you hear people singing, singing an angry men’s song? The MCC certainly had and decided to appease the chorus of criticism over its ticket prices on Thursday morning by promising to review its policies ahead of the 2023 season and release discounted tickets for that game. These seats are available for Sundays and for under 16s – accompanying adults must still pay the full price. The move may not completely defuse the revolutionary zeal some overpriced punters feel, with the Cricket Supporters’ Association describing the cost of tickets for the match as “astronomically high”.
Still, sales for the opening day of the international summer had been as buoyant as ever, and the only significant vacant areas were tucked away in the upper tier of the Grand Stand, where tickets cost £130 with no concessions for a side. distant- In sight.
Regardless of the amount paid, no one will ask for a refund. Whatever their take on the action, there were at least plenty on a day that will thankfully be remembered solely for the quality of the sport and the drama it provided and when England’s efforts, such as the place that welcomed them, were tireless. do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 300 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at [email protected]