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Onions Brings Tears To Middlesex Eyes

One is the Loneliest

By Ged
July 28 2006

Ged Ladd reports on a surreal second day at Lord’s. Read about the adventures of Ged & his guest, Charley “The Gent” Malloy. Learn how Charley, who started the day with only vague Durham connections, ended the day with a broad Geordie accent. Also an authoritative report on the day’s shower. Onions Bring Tears To Middlesex Eyes

It all seemed so promising for an hour or so


It would be incredibly rude to blame a guest for anything, so suffice it to say that my guest, Charley “The Gent” Malloy, helped me to arrive fashionably late and miss the first of the four Durham wickets to fall early doors.  Lord’s was bathed in sunshine at this hour and it was a humid heat in the pavilion.    


Cricket is rarely a mind-blowing thing, but we tried that trick where you listen to one match on the radio while watching another.  This trick is only minimally mind-blowing when you want both teams to take wickets or both teams not to lose wickets.  It really starts to blow your mind when you want the opposite thing in each game.  [My mind anyway, perhaps some readers are better at this multi-loafing activity.]


Well, with Harmison snuffling a quick two and Durham barely hanging around everything seemed to be going according to plan.  Charley, who is essentially an Essex man, was making light of his vague Durham connections at this stage.  “Been there once or twice”.  “Dad had the good sense to move away from there as soon as he was old enough”.  That sort of thing.


Cricket-wise, Silvers and Chad did a good job with the new ball.  Only Lewis looked like scoring a few before Breese got out quickly in the (just) post 400 party.


Sun Deck


We retired to the sun deck to take the first beer of the day during the changeover.  Charley thought 407 was formidable.  I thought it an ordinary score at Lord’s this year.  Still think it was ordinary despite the shocker that followed.  They’ve got the Young’s working properly in that upstairs bar this season; as good as it has ever been up there.


Reading the comments on the message board, I can tell that many MTWD readers imagine that day 2 was a good day for bowling and the decision at the toss therefore flawed.   While I didn’t witness the new ball on Wednesday, I’m afraid I have to report to you that the conditions were fine for batting.


Of course the new ball did a bit, the new ball always does.  Their new ball pair, Onions and Lewis, worked well in tandem.  Onions looks a bright young quickish prospect – certainly a threat with the new ball.  Possibly as good as Silverwood.  Lewis looks very ordinary to me.  He makes it very hard to score runs early doors, but didn’t look threatening.  A bit better than Louw, but it is astonishing to me that he played for Australia recently.  Saw him on the balcony after stumps huffing away at a cigarette.  Kind of summed him up for me.


Pakistan v Middlesex


Four wickets to the new ball.  Smith a strangle down the leg side.  Shah got a good one that popped up to short square leg.  Joyce tried to hit the cover off one of Thorp’s first over deliveries (poor choice of shot at that time) and Rymps did his across the line LBW thing to one of Gibson’s first over deliveries, which surely can be coached out of a player of his quality – he simply does not get the percentage on playing that shot.


Two wickets at lunch would have been a pass given the quality of new ball bowling (Thorp and Gibson looked very ordinary to me despite their success).  Four was a shocker.


At about ten to one, with Middlesex already in tatters, I suggested to Charley that we catch up on the England match.  In with the earpieces and the very next ball Monty takes that vital wicket that brought on the Pakistan collapse.  Within a couple of minutes, Pakistan were four down and lunch was taken at Old Trafford. 


Spirits revived, Charley started talking in more detail about his Durham roots and suggested that Middlesex would make about 170.  Not here at Lord’s, I said, once the new ball is seen off we should manage at least one major partnership.


Very sedate perambulation


The small crowd took a sedate perambulate at lunch.  The weather was still glorious (forget the swingy cloud cover – you either imagined it or Kevin the commentator was describing stuff he could see in the distance – there was sunshine or high wispy cloud until gone 16:00).  Only a handful of nuts had the energy for playing ball on the hallowed turf during the lunch hour. 


After our perambulate, Charley “The Gent” and I retired to one of the gardens for our picnic.  Wild smoked salmon bagels.  Parma ham and Parmesan Cheese bagels.  New Zealand Riesling.  Chocolate ginger biscuits.  Very nice.


When I remembered to switch on the radio again, Pakistan were already six down and soon seven down.  Some consolation for that feeling of inevitability about Middlesex today. 


Lovely afternoon, but what a shocker of an afternoon for Middlesex


We watched the first hour or more of the afternoon session in the shade of the Warner Stand finishing off that bottle of Riesling (it would be a shame to make it travel any further).  Pakistan all out for 119.  Surely Middlesex could do better than that!


Saw Styris play the silliest of silly shots from there and the partnership between Morgan and Compton.  Yes, Middlesex could do better than 119.  My view that their partnership was starting to look threatening was presumably shared by Benkenstein (pronounced “Benkenstine” by the announcer but surely should be pronounced “Benkensteen”, as Mel Brooks would have it).  He brought back Onions who got Compton with a good one and then the rest of the wheels came off very easily.


When Compton fell, we moved round to take what was clearly going to be the last of the sunshine in the Edrich Upper.    My recollection of the rest of the afternoon becomes a bit hazy at this point.  Perhaps it was the heat.  Perhaps the Young’s and Riesling.  Perhaps the dismal Middlesex performance. 


For some strange reason the Turkeys, in a synchronised movement, all pointed water pistols at me and gave me a soaking.  Then I woke up. I’d imagined the soaking.  But Middlesex were still fading away fast from their shower of a performance and Charley “The Gent” had been born and raised in Durham.  Indeed, he apparently had elocution lessons as a young man in Essex to shake off his Geordie accent and to acquire the Essex accent he now boasts.


The light was poor when Middlesex came out to follow on, but you can hardly blame the light for Ed Smith’s gift of a wicket to extra cover.  They were off for the light soon after never to return.  One of the Turkeys yelled out that the umpires should have taken us off earlier and inferred that we were winning until we were forced to bat on in bad light.  I hope he was joking.


Evening time


So Charley “The Gent” (a Durham man born and bred, probably will retire to his North-Eastern homeland etc etc) and I returned to the Pavilion for some coffee and Test cricket on the TV, followed by a couple more beers just to make sure that the end of the day remained in a similar blur to the earlier part of the day. 


I had bought Charley some Owzat dice in The Lord’s Shop (£3.50 a set and plastic at that) as he had a deprived childhood down the mines and had never seen them before.  Once the test match was over I taught him how to play.  Charley 1st innings 117 a.o., Ged 1st innings 244 a.o. – Charley threw in the towel at that point as it is a mere game of chance, apparently.


Botting for Middlesex


Well, I can confirm with my 20:20 vision that Janet is right – that advertising hoarding looks more like “Bonking for London” than “Banking for London”.  I can also confirm that the stuff I witnessed yesterday looked more like “Botting for Middlesex” than “Batting for Middlesex”. 


With all due respect to Durham, that was an ordinary bowling attack on a very flat pitch.  Middlesex should have been able to make a very respectable 1st innings score.  For those reasons, this was the worst Middlesex batting performance I can ever remember witnessing in a first class match. 


We’ll have to fight like tigers for a mere 7 points but more likely will pick up another miserable 3, which is probably all we deserve from this match.


I am one of the more optimistic people on our site but I can see no reasonable chance of escape from relegation now.  To my mind the rebuilding work needs to start now if we want any chance of getting back into the first division reasonably quickly.  But more on that anon.


Some of you will hate me for saying this, but I still enjoyed my day at Lord’s.  I cannot spend a day watching 1st class cricket and not enjoy it.  I would have enjoyed it more had Middlesex performed, but I’d rather be there watching us lose than not be there.  And England have got themselves into an awesome position at Old Trafford.  And Charley “The Gent” and I have developed a cunning master plan for winning our “UnPro 40” match on Sunday.

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