My first visit to Lords

The first time I went to Lords was for the 1979 B & H Final, Essex v Surrey. It was a fantastic match, lots of runs, a great century by Gooch, and the first trophy that Essex ever won. I went with my dad along and a pal and his wife.

During the lunch break, we had a stroll around the ground, and as we were behind the pavilion, who should drive up in his swish 3.5 litre Rover (the hatchback version, which was very new then) but Mr. Brearley himself. He was surrounded by small boys demanding autographs.

“Not today, lads, I’m on holiday and I haven’t had my lunch yet” came the reply, and the England Captain disappeared into the Middlesex Club HQ hut. A few minutes later the Great Man emerged again and was again surrounded by small boys. More persistently, he stated “Not today, lads, I’m on holiday and I haven’t had my lunch yet” and started to climb the open staircase at the back of the pavilion.

I didn’t catch what one of the autograph hunters said to him, but he turned around as though stung, leaned over the rail and boomed in his cultured Harrovian tones over the heads of many hundreds of ordinary cricket goers just mooching about,

“You’re rude little buggers! Sod Off!”

On Wives and Cricket

Mrs.  Wow came to some cricket matches.

There was one famous occasion, at Southchurch Park, when Essex played Middlesex, whose captain at the time was Mike Brearley (1977?). We were in the Old Westcliffian’s tent, which is where local piss-heads go if they want to mix beer and cricket. Twice, during this 40-over Sunday league match, Keith Pont skied the ball to Graham Barlow, who was fielding right in front of us. Each time the ball went high enough to gather ice crystals and came right out of the sun at poor Graham, who was actually a world-class fielder and played quite a few times for England. Twice, the entire throng in our tent said helpful things like “Graham, you’re going to drop it, Graham…” and twice Graham dropped it and it went for 4, right at our feet.

During all this excitement, Mrs. Wow failed to look up from her wool.

Essex won by 1 run.

I gave up taking my wife to cricket matches.