LV= County Championship Division Two, Kia Oval (day one) Surrey: 145-4 Davies 41*, Jarvis 2-50
To the Oval! …rather early on Sunday morning for another weekender with the ‘rrey.
But what’s with this 10:30am rendez vous start?
I’m normally returning home from a tired and emotional night out at this hour, ahead of a fashionably late Oval arrival wearing a pair of dark specs.
The occasion was the de-flowering of the Oval virgin that is Lido Peter. We arranged a date, of sorts, back towards the fag end of last summer. Sunday morning was the outcome.
And whaddya know: it was pissing it down.
Thanks for coming.
I almost missed my man outside Oval tube station. I didn’t recognise Lido Pete with his clothes on, etc.
A brief architectural tour of St Mark’s, Kennington (him, not me) and then we walked up the Harleyford Road towards the old ground.
“I don’t want to miss the start of play!”
…exclaimed Lido Peter, still sky high after an even earlier Lake Brockwell dip two hours previous.
With rain forecast until well after luncheon, there was no chance of this happening.
And so what does one do at The Oval with no play taking place?
I’m normally left doing the housework back in Sunny Stockwell, waiting for the fifteen minute warning sign ahead of the covers coming off.
We decided to explore EVERYTHING around the ground. I found areas of The Oval that I never knew even existed.
“What is this pleb’s public seating area that you speak of?”
We lingered around the now sponsored Surrey Museum slightly more than I normally would. I occasionally enter the source of all Surrey knowledge to have a browse through the books.
And then I decide to order another pint.
But Lido Peter was fascinated by EVERY minor detail within.
It was a promising start for our morning of occupying our time as the rain continued to piss it down.
Lido Peter educated me with tales of Lambeth pottery. A squeal of delight was enthusiastically let out within the Museum when he found some old pots. I reckon you can buy some half-decent replicas down the road at the Nine Elms Car Boot.
Bruncheon (seriously) was taken on the top tier of the pavilion. A couple of 29p Lidl croissants momentarily halted the conversation.
And then we went for a walk. All the way around The Oval.
I tried to replicate the earlier St Mark’s architectural walking tour. The best it got was pointing out where the beer barrels are stored.
But this was to be a sober day.
I just don’t trust myself on the pop at The Oval with unfamiliar cricketing company. I have three Oval jokes; two at best. Even though I see Lido Peter naked every morning, I don’t think that he was ready for my drunken ramblings.
The covers came off, then on, then off again.
It was just like the gents changing room back at Lake Brockwell.
And then finally at 3pm, the old bell tolled and play commenced.
The ‘rrey were batting on a wicket that looked lively, with cloud cover still creeping in from over the other side of Battersea.
Also creeping in from the mean streets of Bal’ham was my cricketing companion Red Maz. I didn’t like to say anything, but the dark shades at 3pm suggested another tired and emotional experience from the night before.
I tried to explain quietly to Lido Peter what I thought was taking place. Basically a bloke chucks a ball, and another one slogs it.
I needn’t have bothered as the hushed tones were drowned out at the other end of the top tier row by the Incredible Sandwich Man.
Talk about feeding an army.
His sizeable sandwich box contained a full loaf of Hovis, heavily decorated with butter and doorsteps of cheese.
Fine effort, fella.
I think I’ll stick with the croissants, ta.
And so how do you drown out a cricket sandwich munching bore?
By having a whole bloody row of cricket bores, each accompanied by a cricket virgin and a desire to tell the entire top tier what was taking place.
Lido Peter gave me the look I normally see when he has had enough of the cold waters of Lake Brockwell.
Red Maz was more diplomatic:
“Fuck this shit. Let’s piss off elsewhere.”
We found solace in the tier below, just in time for KP to make his manly stroll out to the crease in the final few overs ahead of the tea break.
KP played it safe, and sovdid we ahead of invading the pitch during the break: wait for the young kid to jump over the boards first, rather than risk a lifetime ban.
Lido Peter LOVED IT.
He kept on telling me so.
Some silliness with the light metres followed from the Umps after tea.
On, Off On, etc.
I almost got my swimming goggles out.
The disruption didn’t do much for KP’s concentration. A triple century one week, two runs the next.
Ta for coming, again.
The old Pavilion clock was counting down. And so were my commitments elsewhere.
We left The Oval after 6pm, some seven and a half hours after entering. This is the longest that I have been in the old ground, apart from that time when I foolishly took four cans of Special Brew inside.
“Can we come again?”
…asked Lido Peter as we strolled back down the Harleyford Road.
He said the same thing each morning at the lido.
C’mon the ‘rrey!