“ Address: Marylebone Cricket Club / Lord's Ground / St Johns Wood / London NW8 8QN / United Kingdom / Tel: 020 7616 8500 „
I've been to Lord's on three occasions over the last four years. The first was to watch a Twenty twenty game between Scotland and Middlesex. It was a mid week game and the crowd was fairly sparse. The second was the final match between Hampshire and Sussex in the FP trophy. It was absolutely packed. On the third occasion I was lucky enough to get hospitality in one of the boxes above the main stands to watch England against Sri Lanka.
I found the ground easy to find provided you travel by train and then use the underground. So for travel considerations I would rate this ground good. I travelled by car to a station in North London and then used the train to get in to the ground which was also fairly pain free.
Each match was a completely different atmosphere but all were enjoyable. For the Scotland game I was sat in one of the main stands adjacent to the members stand. I met with some Scot's on a business holiday who made the day very welcoming and enjoyable. I recall that lunches were shared amongst the fans of both sides and food was traded in a light hearted friendly way - a pork pie for a packet of crisps etc. At one point when Scotland were fielding towards the end of the match one of the Scottish spectators kindly offered one of the boundary Scottish players a pint which went down well when he accepted. For the second game I attended I was in the stand below the television box (i.e. directly across from the member's area). It was crammed with a mix of Hampshire and Sussex supporters, the later chanting 'We are Sussex by the Sea' continually. The game was good to watch and I enjoyed the banter between supporters. On this day I took time to walk around the ground which has many posters telling tales of old games which were interesting. There were plenty of bars and food stalls and I have to say the standard of the food was good if not a little pricey. Despite a busy day I also noted that there were not long queues for food which was refreshing.
On my third visit watching the game in one of the boxes I found the view more attractive as I was able to look down on the play a little better than from the lower seating areas. The food was excellent and I liked the traditional tiered cake stands that were served at tea. It felt like a very quintessential English thing to do. There were no cucumber sandwiches but it was certainly enjoyable. The only downside to the boxes was that although there was enough room for a good 20 visitors it felt a little less sociable when compared to the stands as the boxes were restricted to the one party only. It would have been interesting if we were offered the opportunity to mingle with other boxes.
I have been lucky to have completed all three trips with good weather and watched some good matches. Overall I would recommend that whether you like cricket or not that you consider a trip to Lords. I would suggest that you consider taking a packed lunch and some warm weather clothes as it can get a bit cold at times when the sun isn't shining.
I would rate Lords with five stars.
I have been to Lords twice and it is a great experience that every England cricket fan should get to do at some point in their life. The ground itself is so easy to get to as are let's face it most places in London.
The ground has a great atmosphere when it is full of England fans and Australia fans sitting side by side cheering on the teams. The seats aren't the most comfortable to sit on all day which is a bit annoying considering how much you spend to get through the gate for an international game.
There is however a definite feel about the place, you get there and walk round the outside of the stands and see all the stats about the various records that have been set at the old ground by all of the great players over the years. There are plenty of places to buy food round the outside (especially if you like to spend an arm and a leg) and there are also lots of little stalls where you can play catching games or catch up on other sports etc and a big screen to keep track of the cricket.
I have been lucky enough to be there for an England win on a wet day against the South Africans and the atmosphere during the run chase and when Flintoff was at the crease hitting boundaries and getting ever closer to the target was absolutely electric. I have also been unlucky enough to attend during the one day series during the 2009 ashes tour when we left with about 10 minutes to spare as Australia cruised a win, the day and the atmosphere however was still great and was all thoroughly enjoyable.
Sure the ground has a few setbacks here and there but it is the home of cricket and there is something very satisfying about sitting at Lords watching a game of cricket.
Well what a weekend, cricket such a dramatic game partly because of those gaps in-between the day's play, the Lords test a perfect example of that, the game smashed apart by the match-fixing allegations. Four years ago on the last Pakistan tour of England; of course, the visitors would infamously walk off at The Oval and forfeit the match over ball tampering allegations and so this trauma nothing new with crickets most irritating and arrogant team. Its pretty clear now who the villains of world cricket are and let's stop making excuse for them to keep them in the game.
The 'alleged' (cough!) corruption of the game this time around was that players would be involved in 'spot betting', bowling no-balls or wides to order during the test and one-day matches to help illegal gamblers win money on side bets in Pakistan and Asia. The problem is the fixer proved he could do it by predicting when it would happen in the Lords test and so the fix can be confirmed. It's the worse case scenario for the game and extremely undignified, like it was for the Lords members to have to suffer copies of the News of the World in the members pavilion. He also bragged about previous match fixing scams which he claimed he was also involved in, including the recent test series in Australia, which I have talked about here before. It seemed obvious the Sydney test was fixed as Australia's odds fell to 150-1 against winning until their last two wickets put on 200 odd and Pakistan were bowed out chasing 179 in two days to lose, all ten guys caught in the field. The fixer claimed to have made his syndicate 850k from that game alone. The World cup game against Australia is also under suspicion after Mike Husssey was again the man who scored a remarkable late score to win a game. Its nightmare for the sport and anyone who writes about cricket or watches it knows just how much fixing is endemic in the South East Asia game and feeling justified today, but sued or called racist for saying it over the years. Their players take advantage of that fear and continued to cheat, on and off the pitch, be it picking the seam, illegally bending their arms when bowling spin and, of course, allegedly fixing these games. The guy seemed bang to rites on the News of the World sting and claimed to be able to do far worse to later games in the English summer, hugely damaging to future ticket sales, all this while Pakistan drowns under water and terrorism rages in the north of the country like your mums Hoover when she has guests coming around. The 'fixer' said the players go along with it for 'easy women, booze and money', hardly the three pillars of Islam during the current Ramadan. It's so sad for the game we love and the up and coming one-day series with Pakistan is now under threat as the guy claimed two of those games would be fixed and presumably bets already placed to get the best prices, even more shocking as that one-day team is another group of players coming in. When you have the captain, the wicket keeper and opening bowlers in your pocket you believe the fixer of his plans. It was certainly the first time the News of the World was seen in the Lords members' area!!
Afridi, the original captain of this touring side, resigned early on under a cloud and it now seems the players wanted him out because he wasn't going to play ball. For two young excellent fast bowlers to be named in this scandal would suggest their condition of selection and gently bullying by their new captain meant they had no choice. I'm sorry but its time to just kick Pakistan out of the game for five years to send the message that we won't tolerate this anymore, this stuff hurting ALL test nations. It's clearly endemic in the set up and there and there are even allegations swirling around online that the Pakistan secret intelligence services, the ISI, were involved in the attack on the Sri-Lankan cricketers. The spin has started that the players were coerced with violence and threats but sadly the Pakistan cricketers play for money not honour and so this will never go away.
-The Lords Ground-
It's the home of cricket and a grand bastion of the British class system, all manner of rules drawn up to keep the oiks out or in-line. Famously built on slopping ground, the surface drops an incredibly 9ft from one side to the other, very noticeable to anyone who has been there. It's not quite steep enough for a static ball to roll one side to the other but you would think you would pick some flat ground for the home of cricket, especially as this is its third location in its 215 year history. Crickets most played fixture in the games history, Harrow v Eton, saw its 200th encounter at 2005 at Lords.
The honours board in the main pavilion, the one you see on TV when the players walk out through the crowd, is where all the players that get centuries or 50s in a test match have their name placed as reward. It's every cricketers dream to be up there. 'Old Father Time', an iconic weather vane, is another famous quirk of the old ground. The modern monstrosity that is the new media centre was cruelly named 'Cherrie Blair's Mouth' for its ugliness and relentless gaping and gormless appearance. New floodlights were installed last year on a five year trial with conditions attached, the lights dimmed to half strength at 9:50pm during matches so not to upset the affluent neighbours. The ground has been rebuilt over the years and the prices have risen steeply because of, seats nudging £100 for the Pakistan match Bowls, tennis, archery and baseball have been played on the hallowed ground. It will also feature in the 2012 Olympics in some capacity.
* The Pavilion
* Warner Stand
* Compton Stand
* Media Centre
* Edrich Stand
* Mound Stand
* Tavern Stand
* Allen Stand
Other attractions on the ground are the Tavern Stand pub and the excellent museum, containing cricket's most famous trophies and memorabilia, including The Ashes Urn and even a stuffed bird that was bowled out and killed instantly by a Cambridge University bowler in the annual Varsity game in 1936. Over 100 test matches have been played here and so there are lots of exhibits for cricket fans to peer at in dusty cabinets. Its free with your ground ticket and a must.
Graeme Gouch scored 333 and then 123 in the second innings against India in 1990, the highest Lords score and aggregate on the ground. He has also scored the most test runs at Lords with 2012 in total and the most test centuries, six.
Australia's Glen McGrath is the most successful overseas bowler at Lords in Tests, taking 8-28 and a total of 26 wickets, level with Richard Hadlee's 26 wickets.
The most famous Aussie of all, Don Bradman, scored 254 in 1936 in the grounds biggest ever test total of 729/6.
Our most famous English player, Ian Botham, has the highest ever English bowling figures of 8-34 and scored 100 in the same match for good measure, still the best test all-round performance to this day on the ground. He has taken 69 test wickets at Lords, still the highest by any test bowler. Bob Massie of Australia has the best match bowling analysis of 16-137 v England in 1950.
The prestigious Lords Test against the less than prestigious current Pakistani was nearly a dead rubber rather than a deciding one, dumped on the end of the four match series and the latest ever test to be held at Headquarters as it nudged September, increasing one-day cricket around the world and Pakistan's inability to play at home stretching the schedule once again. But it was rain and not politics that delayed the start as only 12 overs were possible on day one in murky and damp conditions, enough overs squeezed in to avoid full refunds, even though brand new floodlights had been installed. But your not allowed to boo at Lords so people just trudged away with faces as long as the famous Long Room there 75% light of their match ticket price.
Day two and the sun shone but the ground still moist, England s overnight 39-1 soon 47-5 as young Amir exploited that movement, three going down for no runs, failures once again for Cook, Pietersen, Strauss and Collinwood, the home team rocking, Amir 4-0! At 107-7 just after lunch with Prior out and just Trott and Broad left it looked curtains. But the South African is a top draw Test cricketer and followed up his double ton debut last year at Lords for England with another big one here and so up on the honours board again. This guy will seriously threatening Gouch's hundred test record for England. I have said before we have too many South Africans in the team and I feel he is one too far, clearly qualified to play for the Springboks and only here for better money. Strauss and Prior were born there but came to England at a young age and so learnt their game here, the important bit for me, but this guy a Springbok like Pietersen.
If Trott could get a ton then why not Broad, the dashing young all-rounder finishing the day on 125*, the highest ever score for an England number nine, his first hundred and his highest test and first-class score by far, and with Trott at the other end on 149* the two had put on an amazing 244 for the 8th wicket, just two runs short of the England test record.
Day three and it took just two balls to pass Gubby Allen and Les Ames record of 246 and it got better still, amazingly passing the world test record for the 8th wicket, beating Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq's record of 317. When Broad was out for 162 at 434-8 he had passed his dad Chris's best test high and then fell just two runs short of the highest ever number nine test century score of 171, New Zealander Ian Smith keeping that record, a great bat that had to bat so low down for his country because of the likes of Hadlee, Jeff Crowe and Lance Cairns. It was an amazing partnership of 332, Trott finishing on 184 for 446 all-out, the brilliant little pace bowler Amir taking 6-84 for a place on the honours board.
England 1st innings 446 all-out
Pakistan's batsmen have been woeful all the way through the series and again rubbish here, skittled for a feeble 74, their second lowest test score against England ever, the first being 4 weeks a go at Edgbaston. This is the third time they had been bowled out for the less than 100 this summer in tests and something is wrong in the team.
Pakistan 1st innings 74 all-out
Lords and the cricketing world woke up to the news that the Pakistani's had finally been caught bang-to-rites on fixing matches, something controversial happening every tour to England now, this palaver routine. Everyone in the game knows it's endemic in that part of the world but shouted down as racist if they print that. Some of the Lords members booed the Pakistan batsmen as they came out to bat and their overnight 41-4 quickly got worse as they were clearly in no mood to play cricket and soon 97-9, one of the accused ( and most suspect) in young Akmal slogging 79* with 13 boundaries at one end as the wickets tumbled, showing contempt to someone, putting on 50 in 40 balls for the final wicket, of which he scored 49, this, Pakistan's worse ever innings defeat against England, Swann up on the Lords honours board with 5-62 to close this dreadful and now controversial series.
Pakistan 147 all-out
England win by an innings and 225 runs to win the series 3-1.