Watching the `action’ in the Long Room at Lords can be as entertaining as the cricket on the field.
For the players to get from their dressing rooms to the ground they must walk through the Long Room which is usually full of members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
As my visits to the Long Room over the last two years have revealed the reaction from these members varies from polite applause for the opposition team to loud clapping for the English team.
Entry into the Lords ‘ Member’s pavilion (which includes the Long Room) for certain games, including the last few days of test matches, is one of the benefits of my full membership of the Melbourne Cricket Club. And I have taken full advantage of this over the past few years as it is fascinating to watch the comings and goings of both players and members.
Player Reactions 2015
The players seem oblivious to the surrounding throng in the Long Room although there were a few despondent shakes of the head from the first couple of English batsman who capitulated on the fourth day of the Second Ashes Test this year. Interestingly as more players came in during the afternoon, after being dismissed for low scores, the crowd in the Long Room and the sympathetic/encouraging applause diminished!
There was no reaction from any members of the Australian team as they went out to field. They walked in single file along the path that had been cleared for them. All had serious expressions on their faces and looked straight ahead.
The only participants this year to show any emotion were the umpires. Both had big smiles on their faces and seemed to enjoy the applause.
The Indians 2014
The most bizarre event occurred last year when England played India. The Indian batsman appeared before the English team and, as protocol demands, they had to wait in the Long Room for the fielding team to appear. For a few minutes it seemed the batsman were trying to do everything but look at the the hundreds of members who were studying them intently.
Before the Match
While the player’s passage through the Long Room is strictly controlled once play starts, before the match it is far more relaxed. Last year I shared the stairs leading from the players dressing rooms to the Long Room with English captain Alistair Cook while this year there were a number of close `sightings’ of both English and Australian players.
Marylebone Cricket Club vs Melbourne Cricket Club
While there are some similarities between attending cricket matches in the members at Lords and the MCG there are also differences.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is much bigger than Lords however Lords has a more `intimate feel.’
The popping of champagne corks from around 10 am is one of the major differences between the Grounds! Members attending matches at Lords can bring a small supply of their own alcohol and bring alcohol on sale in the ground back to their seats.
Judging by the number of `pops’ around me in the Warner stand (one of the member’s stands next to the Pavilion) the English like to bring their own wine and champagne! Pimms and beer seemed the most popular drinks purchased at the bar.
No food or alcohol is allowed in the Lord’s Long Room (there are other restaurants/eating establishments within the Member’s Pavilion) which may explain the empty viewing chairs during play – the crowds only appearing when the players come and go.
I have never tried taking pictures at Melbourne Cricket Club’s Long Room but at Lords I was told it’s not allowed in the Pavilion at any time.
As is the case in Melbourne there is a strict dress code for the Long Room although, at the risk of being barred from future Lords visits- some may argue the red and gold Marylebone Cricket Club blazer is not the most fashionable clothing item! Dress requirements are not as strict for the other Member stands.
Both the Member Pavilions at the MCG and Lords have some wonderful paintings and provide the opportunity to learn about each club’s history.
Both clubs have adult members of all shapes, sizes and ages! However, there do seem to be far more women in the members area at Melbourne compared to Lords. Most likely this is due to the timing women were admitted as members.
This year there were also far more Australian accents than last!
Sadly for the English friends I went with and the new friends I made during the match (there was great sense of camaraderie with the English around me ) the result of the cricket was the same as last year- an English loss.
But you can be assured everyone will be back next year as there is nothing quite like a Lords Test match!
During non match days the MCC offers guided tours around Lords which includes the Long Room and Players dressing rooms.
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