English Cricket Season 2014

Another year is over, and another cricket season ended a few months ago. I quite enjoyed it, but like always it went far too quickly.

A few quick words of thanks. I have had several opportunities this summer to photograph on behalf of the Lord’s Taverners, and I am eternally grateful for their support and the work I’ve done for them, including the Women’s test at Wormsley and a Lady Taverners match back in July.

Next year looks set to be even better. I can’t wait.

1 in 200 – my personal tribute to Lord’s Cricket Ground

This week, Lord’s Cricket Ground celebrates its 200th birthday, and celebrations are in full swing at the England v Sri Lanka test match and at the anniversary day next weekend. Fine celebrations for a wonderful sporting venue.

Lord’s holds a special meaning to cricket fans everywhere. The self-styled Home of Cricket, the spiritual home of the game and the keeper of many a fine cricketing artefact and collectible from across the globe. A cricket fan’s first visit to the ground is always a special day, and I remember mine very fondly. It wasn’t for a cricket match, but a job interview.

In early 2011, I was finishing my undergraduate degree and was considering a career in museum conservation. I sent an email to the MCC Museum and Library asking for some work experience for a few weeks in the summer after my graduation. I was invited to an interview at the library one very cold and wet Friday morning in February, and with my head spinning with excitement and nerves I entered the sacred ground.

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The sight that greeted me that cold morning.

I can’t remember much of what I talked about in the interview with Collections Officer Charlotte Goodhew in the library, but she showed me round the place after we had finished. I was fairly awestruck by the Ashes in the museum, but the view I was greeted with in the Long Room, looking out over the lush green grass, was second to none. I wish I could have taken a photo, but rules are rules. I was offered 6 weeks work experience in the Museum and Library at Lord’s, starting on 18th July 2011.

My first week couldn’t have been a busier one. I arrived to find the ground gearing up for a test match against India. Security and media were swarming all over the ground as I was trying to make my way around at lunchtime, loyal fans of both teams at the gates trying to catch a glimpse of Tendulkar and everyone else. The atmosphere of the test was absolutely incredible, one I will never forget.

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The Lord’s Crowd on Day 5

That was the start of a magnificent summer for the England cricket team, going to Number 1 in the world and beating India 4-0, and the start of a whirlwind 13 months of working for the MCC. For a first job, it’s quite a good one. I left Lord’s in August 2012, after 3 test matches, several County Championship games, several t20s and 40 over matches, a ODI and an Olympic Archery tournament. I still can’t quite believe it all happened.

I feel lucky and a little bit smug about all this. It is the dream of many a cricket fan to come to this special ground, and I was paid to go there 5 days a week for 8 months. I’ve seen the ground in all its glory in the summer sunshine during a test match, covered in a clean blanket of snow in early January, and fought through the crowds of punters hiding from the rain at all times of year. I once pointed Darren Sammy in the direction of the museum for his pre-match press conference, and I left the MCC two days after Andrew Strauss retired (he was invited to leaving drinks and meal in Maida Vale. He didn’t attend.)

Lord’s still is a very special place to me, even though I’ve left and moved on. I was desperately sad to leave, but I was determined it wouldn’t be the last time. Working there for those 13 months only enhanced my knowledge and love of the game, and all the experience and chances I had there have only spurred me on to working harder for the chance to go back. Nevertheless, walking back through the Grace Gate always brings back happy memories of the one year I spent there, and a shiver down the spine for how lucky we are for having such a beautiful place for cricket to call home.

Happy Birthday Lord’s. You’re looking good for a 200 year old.

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Gallery: B.B.M.F Lancaster Bomber flyover, Naphill

Something a bit different and non-cricketey today. We heard word there was a flyover from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster Bomber over the RAF base up the road. So, armed with cameras, I drove up to a field near the base and stood around for a bit until the throaty roar of the plane could be heard. Quite magnificent.
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Gallery: LVCC Worcestershire v Derbyshire, Day 3, New Road

First of all, two apologies to make. The first of which is that this gallery is late uploading; I attended this match last Tuesday and have only just got round to uploading the measly three photos I took, which leads me to the second apology. I only had my small point and shoot camera with me for this match. I had left my big camera and lens at home because I was attending a wedding in Worcester the following day and couldn’t look after the kit all day along with everything else I had to do, and didn’t feel happy leaving it in my hotel room or my car either. So sorry!

Having said all of that, New Road is an utter delight. Having battled my way through the mental breakdown inducing city centre of Worcester in the car and found somewhere to park, entering New Road and being greeted with pleasant and friendly people and, above all, excellent bacon sandwiches and coffee, it was a really lovely experience. The ground was bathed in sunshine and a slight breeze and stunning views of the surrounding area. The cricket itself only adds to how idyllic and serene the atmosphere is. My only wish is now to return to the ground with my proper camera in hand. So tick New Road off the list of county grounds to visit, and add it to the list of places I’d like to go to again.

LVCC Surrey v Essex, Day 3, The Oval

First visit to the Oval of the season. It’s nice to be back, many thanks to Jason, Yvonne, Becci and Chris for the company. Highlight of the day was definitely the Ravi Bopara run out of Rory Burns, and three of us getting horribly confused when Tremlett walked out to bat and we mistook him for Dernbach. You had to be there, I think. Enjoy!
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Gallery: LVCC Middlesex v Nottinghamshire, Day 3, Lord’s

Back to Lord’s for more of Middlesex v Nottinghamshire. Fantastic to see Sam Robson doing so well, and it will hopefully lead to a much deserved England call up. John Simpson also scored highly today, his first County Championship century since 2011, and together have put Middlesex in a good position for the final day.

Enjoy!
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Gallery: England v New Zealand, Lord’s Day 4

On a whim, early in the morning on Day 4, I decided to head to London and go to Lord’s for the day. Having paid £30 for my ticket, I saw 14 wickets fall and England take victory from the jaws of the mess of the previous day and win by 170 runs. Broad and Anderson stole the show in the afternoon, taking 9 wickets and a highly comedic run out between them reducing New Zealand to 68 all out.

Sadly, my cheap ticket meant I was in a terrible place for photographing, and my 75-300mm wasn’t nearly long enough to compensate, and lots of very grainy and mis-focussed photos came home with me. But here you go, my best effort from a thoroughly enjoyable day at Lord’s.
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Is this thing on?

Oh dear. I did it again. I have neglected this blog for quite some time, haven’t I?
I have the bookmark for this on my Chrome tool bar all the time, I see it and remember it exists and then, presumably, move on to something else to waste some time on. Like YouTube  or the lethal combination of something mind numbing on BBC Three and the eyesight ruining torment called Temple Run.
So I haven’t updated this since August, when I did that long spiel about Twitter and sport and feelings and whatnot. It was quite good, I thought. I hope you liked it too. I haven’t done an awful lot since then.
Well, here’s the life update. Here’s why I haven’t been blogging since then. I’ve been unemployed. I left the job at the MCC at the end of August 2012, after 13 months of working there. I was very sad to leave, I loved working there and I met some fantastic people but things had to move on. So I’m in the big wide world again, living at home and spending most of my days with my laptop on my knees or trying to motivate myself into doing something productive, and in the middle of all of that, job applications. One after another and all have ended up in the bin at the respective companies I applied to. Seriously, all of them.
It sucks, and it gets me down sometimes. I try not to let it get to me, because otherwise I’d never get anywhere. I have days when I jump out of bed and try and get something moving down the career path I want, and days when I barely want to open the curtains. Please don’t think that I regret anything I’ve done up until now, I don’t like looking back on mistakes, they’ve all got me here. I adored University, loved the two glorious summers I spent hanging out at a cricket ground, met brilliant people and had wonderful opportunities, and those memories keep me going when I don’t want to remove myself from the duvet cocoon of a morning. I’m still stuck deciding what to do with my career as well, whether I carry on working in museums or try and break into writing and journalism, or the media as a whole, or try and get back into sport. I have no idea, and I don’t think I’ll work that out for a while.
So that’s that. Please try and get me to write in this more. Viewer stats make me happy.
If you missed it last time, I’ve got the Cuddly Cricket Challenge going on. Now the season has started again, I might get a few more on the list.
Thanks everyone.