We had a special treat this week thanks to a friend who is a member at Lord's - a trip to the famous 'home of cricket' and a chance to nose around the private members' areas.
It was Ladies' day and Middlesex were playing Derbyshire and it must be said, the match was a bit one sided in favour of Middlesex. However, we were excited to be there and have a tour around this iconic sporting venu. The day started with champagne in the outdoor garden area and then we were allowed to walk onto the hallowed turf, once play had stopped for lunch! It was amazing to walk around and see the ground from pitch level and get very close to the wicket. These first photos show you what we saw: the very proud score board; the wicket with the amazing JP Morgan media centre behind; and, the original Victorian stand - built in the shade as those good folk were so heavily clothed they couldn't manage any direct sunshine!
After a spot of lunch we had a wander around and even got to see the famous 'Long Bar' where I took a quick photo as I'm not sure it's really the done thing...... Until relatively recently the only women allowed in were the Queen and the cleaners but things have moved on, not least thanks to the lure of lottery funding, and since 1999 as long as you have a member is there to sign you in, women can wander freely! We stood on the balcony which is reputed to have the best view of cricket anywhere in the world and also has the bell which starts the play. Have a look at these photos: the Long Bar (quick snap); the great view of the ground; a match in play - bowling and batting; and, yours truly ringing the bell (almost)!
The current venue has been the home of the MCC since 1814. MCC stands for Marylebone Cricket Club and the ground is called Lord's after Thomas Lord who established the private ground for them although this was originally where Dorset Square is now. The MMC set the laws of cricket for the world and still retain this role The wonderful Victorian pavilion dates from 1890 and the ground has seen many developments since then including the JP Morgan media centre in 1999. I'm sure they are already looking forward to celebrating an incredible two centuries on the present site in 2014!
You can have your own tour of Lord's by contacting them directly on www.lords.org - tho' yours won't be a free visit with champagne - sorry!
Bye for now,