Tales From 2011
Tales From the Lord's Test
Paul Edwards pens his latest missive from the Lord's Press Box after watching Day One of the England v India Test Match.
Missing You Already
In Radio 4's antidote to panel games I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue there is, or was, a round called One Song to the Tune of Another. Fairly obviously, this required the panellists to sing the words of one ditty to another, often grossly unsuitable, tune.
In keeping with the irreverent, not to say anarchic, tone of the programme, this has produced some pretty bizarre combinations over the years: Tom Jones's Sex Bomb to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory gives a flavour of the enterprise, I think.
Occasionally the song merely had to be sung in the another musical style. Listening to Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden perform Aled Jones's Walking in the Air in the manner of Chas 'n' Dave is a particular memory from the mid 1990s.
But, you may be asking, what on earth has all this to do with cricket? Simply this. Yesterday, the Test series between England and India got under way at Lord's. It is the summer's marquee attraction and I was privileged to be covering it for a number of outlets, including this one.
However, as England made their tentative way against the Indian attack, my thoughts strayed to Leeds, where Yorkshire wickets were falling like saplings in a gale.
My attempts to concentrate on the proddings of Messrs Cook and Strauss in the gloom of St John's Wood were not helped by the ECB's seating plan. Alongside me was my Channel 5 colleague David Smith, who had attended the first day of the game at Headingley and is a keen Yorkshire supporter. Two perches further along Cricinfo's Andrew McGlashan, who began his journalistic career at Old Trafford, was offering his own take on events. Behind us, one or two representatives of the national press, their roots in the North, were also keeping a close eye on events in a remarkable Roses match.
Before long I was watching one match and listening to the tune of another. England proceeded carefully to 18 or so for no wicket; Yorkshire were 22 for three. Half an hour later Strauss and Trott had taken their side to around 30 for one; "32 for five" I informed Cricinfo's Andrew Miller, who was acting as an informal MC for this bizarre meeting of the trans-Pennine ghetto. "35 for six," he replied.
You all know that it got to 45 for eight at Headingley before Yorkshire launched their famous fightback. England were 43 for one at lunch. While Strauss and Trott continued their afternoon performance of one of Bach's Cello Suites in the St John's Wood conservatoire, Richard and the Pyrahmaniacs were blasting out a six-fuelled version of The Doors' Light My Fire on the Wicket Stage at the Headingley Festival. Cricket, bloody hell.
One man had a foot in both camps, of course. Deemed surplus to England's needs at Lord's, Tim Bresnan immediately hurried north to answer his county's call. Was he travelling by car or train, we wondered. If car, I imagined a traffic jam on the M1 as the Milnrow Traffic Control Company put out a line of bollards to no obviously discernable purpose; if train, I envisaged a hold-up at an obscure Midlands halt where the Haslingden-born stationmaster had suddenly decided to give the points a thorough overhaul. Once upon a time it would not have seemed so fanciful.
By 4.15 the rain was teeming down at Lord's and we had seen our last cricket of the day. At Headingley Carnegie the excitement continued as Bresnan ushered Pyrah to his century before whipping out Lancashire's openers.
The Lord's Test is a wonderful occasion. All the same, I felt like sending an email or postcard or something to Graham Hardcastle, Chris Waters and my friends in the Yorkshire press box: "Loving it here," it would have read, "but I wish I was with you lot."