I was luckily enough to go to the Oval last week, one of the two cricket grounds in London which hosts international matches, Lords being the other. England were playing South Africa in a tournament of one day matches and we were taking a visiting American friend who had no idea about this strange game but he was really relieved it wasn’t the five day version of the game!
It has to be said that the spring and summer of 2013 have been rather chilly and wet so we were very nervous about our chances for the cricket match but lady luck and the sun shone on us all day making it the hottest day of the year.
They’ve been playing cricket at the Oval since 1844 and of course there is a plaque to celebrate this, although a few more playing years have passed since their 150th year.
We had seats in the Members’ Pavilion which has 2 impressive entrances and it feels like you are entering a gentleman’s club – just guessing there, as they’d never let me in!
Once inside it’s all wood panels, long lists of previous chairmen and captains and paintings of ancient cricket games. The members bars and Long Room look like they are from another era but there were enough modern touches like TV screens to let you know they had moved on a little towards more modern times.
We rushed up to our pavilion seats as South Africa were losing wickets rapidly and we didn’t want to miss their innings completely! Looking out across the wonderful green grass to the dramatic far stand to the teams battling for a place in the final was a real thrill.
Wickets continued to fall fast and furious so the sight of the sadly and lonely walk back to the stand became very familiar:
The match raced on and then England came on to bat and the boys in red gave us some good cricket to watch. We moved seats to pitch side, giving us a different perspective and some close ups of the players.
Unlike more serious games, we had drummers between overs and flames bursting out each time a 6 was scored – I wonder what the traditionalists think…. If you are not familiar with cricket and are at a loss as to what an ‘over’ is, I suggest you try this link.
As we approached 4.30 England eased into in unassailable position and this scoreboard said it all:
It’s a great day out, even for those who don’t completely follow the cricket and we enjoyed the hog roast, some Indian snacks, a few Pimm’s and a bottle of Rose and had plenty of time to chat between overs, so it’s not just about the sport!
England went on to lose the final to India by 5 runs a few days later, which was a real shame, but we loved our time at the Oval and I’d recommend a day at the cricket. Now, it’s on to Wimbledon, one of my favourite events in London and let’s hope Andy Murray becomes the first British winner since 1936!
Bye for now,