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Miles Jupp: Why does Lord's make it so hard?

May 8th, 2009 by Miles Jupp in England, Test cricket


Watching cricket at Lord’s is a surprisingly hard thing to do. As I sat in the stands yesterday I was amazed by the constant interruptions of members of staff telling people to what to do and how to behave. Not only is there a manifest number of strict rules governing exactly who sits where, when they can move and what their allowed to do once in place, but these rules are stringently enforced.

Every time somebody stood up in my stand, a steward noisily hurtled over to tell them to sit down again until the end of the over. It seems that regardless of what angle to the crease you are seated, any sort of movement, sudden or doddery, is deemed capable of distracting the players. If you were watching the game on the television yesterday you might not have noticed, but there was a terrifying moment when Ravi Bopara nearly lost his concentration as a result of an elderly lady sitting eight rows back at wide mid-on getting out of her seat because she’d dropped her spectacles case.

Only the prompt reactions of the stewards in my stand helped England narrowly avoid a disaster.

Perhaps they are under the impression that spectators who stand up or use their mobile phones occasionally are hampering the enjoyment of those around them, as would be the case at, say, an opera. But if a steward genuinely believes that a man sending a text message is more of a distraction than a steward clambering over the seats to tell a man not to send a text message, then he’s got a chemical imbalance of the brain.

Rightly, some will say that the stewards are only doing their jobs. But I don’t think there’s anything “only” about it – many of the rules they are required to enforce are ridiculous, and they apparently have not been entrusted to use their discretion. A man yesterday had been sold a ticket in a block largely allocated to school groups and wanted to move to a quieter, half-empty and less expensive stand. The stewards had to tell him that, although they personally sympathised, they were not allowed to let him move owing to a strict new policy on “stand migration”.

Simply getting around the ground was a bit of a hassle yesterday. The energy firm who generously sponsor our home Tests were marketing aggressively, as I imagine they will at all grounds this summer – even Cardiff if there’s room. It’s bad enough being cold-called at home by people who want you to consider changing your energy supplier, but to be harangued about it at cricket matches somehow feels like even more of an invasion.

What I find particularly odd about Lord’s is that many of the people with stewarding responsibilities appear to be members of the armed forces. It’s as if the Test has been organised by some rather flamboyant man who works in events and thought it might be rather fun to have “a lot of people dressed as sailors”.

Alternatively, and more frighteningly, they are genuine soldiers and the reason that Gordon and Barack have been withdrawing troops from war zones is because the Ashes are coming up, and they feel they really need their top people making sure that no-one dares even think about using a Blackberry in the Edrich stand.

The cricket was good though.

Miles Jupp is an actor, comedian and cricket fan

Posted in England, Test cricket | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Miles Jupp: Why does Lord's make it so hard?”

  1.   Helen Rawson says:

    I agree fully. I have so many horrible stories of days at Lords and the Oval completely and unnecessarily ruined by officious, domineering ‘officials’. I don’t go to tests any more and I love them. I still go to county cricket. The decision was made at a final of the C & G when a young lad was removed from his seat and escorted away which made me feel physically sick and do you know what his crime was-he was wearing a silly hat!! Give cricket grounds back to cricket lovers.

  2.   Cricket at Lord’s | Free Cricket says:

    [...] as a fan for some four years, which is a bit of a blight on my character and personality. Miles Jupp has an interesting and worrying piece on the intrusiveness of the [...]

  3.   Bruce Doy says:

    Whilst I sympathise with the over-zealousness of some stewards at Lord’s, a lot of specatators need to learn how to watch Test cricket - you do not go mad for every boundary scored, give a standing ovation for a 50 or 100 unless the innings is outstanding. The boorish approaches and attitudes seen at T20 and ODI matches is not what those who go to test matches want to see or experience!

  4.   Dave says:

    This was shaping up to be a cracking match report until you mentioned the cricket at the end.

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