Bucket List Entry #5: Cricket At Lord’s

To most Americans, “Cricket” is a darts game, or else a stupefyingly-boring sport played by Brits, or something.

To me, and to millions of people around the world, cricket is the ultimate gentleman’s sport: leisurely, subtle, with occasional moments of great excitement and still-more periods of escalating, gut-wrenching tension made all the more so by the quiet  hours that led up to them.

I’m not going to bother to explain the mechanics of the game: either you know how cricket is played or you don’t, and that’s it. Suffice it to say that there are essentially two kinds of cricket: first, there’s a quick slogfest that takes just a little longer than the average baseball game, but wherein over three hundred runs can be scored by each batting side (as opposed to the average winning baseball score of only four or five runs… talk about boring). It’s called “limited overs” cricket, and as the name suggests, each side gets a set number of “balls” (pitches) to get the highest possible score, the winner getting the higher score. I don’t much care for limited-overs cricket, because it’s just a slogfest (and therefore more popular with hoi polloi, go figure).

The second type of cricket is called “Test” cricket and is played between different nations — mostly, it should be said, by England and the former British colonies: Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh and the West Indies. (Other nations also play cricket, e.g. Scotland, Holland, Zimbabwe, Kenya and even the United States, but those are considered lower-class competitions, not Test matches per se.)

Test cricket is played over a much longer period of five days, and each side gets two innings to bat and field. (Unlike baseball, in which only three batters play per innings, cricket has all eleven players bat consecutively in a single innings.) If you think that a game which takes five days is going to be unbearably dull, well, it sometimes is. But that very dullness is not dull for the players, as each side attempts to penetrate the defenses of its opponent whether by bat or by ball, and dullness can be turned into heart-pounding excitement in a matter of seconds, let alone minutes. Over those five days, well over a thousand runs will likely be scored by the two sides — unless of course it rains (something which happens from time to time in England) and the match becomes shortened. It is also possible that five days will yield a draw rather than victory for one side.

Anyway, having not explained cricket to people who aren’t familiar with it, allow me, then, to introduce you all to #5 on Ye Olde Buckette Lyste.

5. I want to watch a cricket match, and preferably a Test match at the Lord’s ground in St. John’s Wood, London.

Lord’s is rightly called the “home of cricket”, and cricket has been played there since 1787 (admittedly, in three different locations, but the current ground had its 200th anniversary in 2014).

Currently, South Africa is touring England, and the first Test will be played at Lord’s on July 6-10 — and Mr. Free Market has informed me that he’s trying to get tickets for at least one of the days. (It’s a difficult task because both England and South Africa have very powerful teams at the moment, the rivalry goes back well over a century, and interest is therefore keen among the sport’s many followers.)

I’m holding thumbs on this one, but I have to say that if he’s unsuccessful, I’ll settle for watching a county match (between the home team and any other county side). It’s Lord’s, FFS, and it’s my personal haj (if you’ll excuse the cultural appropriation).

(Some people may comment on the unsightly colored advertising splodges on the otherwise-emerald-green turf. Don’t get me started.)

And about that rain business:

Colloquially, that’s known as Pub Time. And yes, I’ll be taking my brolly and wellies, just in case.

Incidentally, the darts game known as “Cricket” in the U.S. is called “Killer” everywhere else in the world. Just thought I’d clear that up.


  1. Educational as always Kim. Thanks for the explanation. I’d never heard of Cricket as a darts game either.

    To me Cricket means an annoying insect that likes to hide in the house on quiet summer nights and keep me awake, or the .22 rifle I bought for Darlin’ Daughter on her 8th birthday.

  2. <B I want to watch a cricket match, and preferably a Test match at the Lord’s ground in St. John’s Wood, London.

    You might want to do this before the Lord Mayor of London-istan declares cricket to be haram.

    1. If that tool were to do that, he’d be assassinated… by one of the British Indians or Pakis. They love cricket more than the Brits do.

      1. I’d agree that the British “Asians” love their cricket. In my corner of SE Texas, the group of them petitioned the city to build a scoring sign in the park where they have their games every Sunday, on what had originally been intended as a football field.

  3. Kim, if you can’t make a Test match day at Lord’s, I highly recommend the guided tour of the ground on non-match days.

    It takes about two hours, costs about 20 Pounds and you will get to see all the Holy Grail cricket treasures held by the MCC, a peek inside the famous Long Room and a chance to tread the hallowed turf (but not the wicket).

    I ticked off the Lord’s bucket list with the Australia vs England “Ashes” Test in 1989, a real highlight for a traditional cricket tragic, despite costing me an arm and a leg in airfares, accomodation and way too much English ale.

  4. I grew up on British children’ books, so I have some small grasp of this Cricket of which you wrote, though I admit i was over forty before curiosity drove me to look up the rules. Which I still don’t understand. OTOH, I don’t really understand baseball either.

    I would like to watch a cricket match someday, but my venture of choice would be some small English village with a centuries long not-too-serious rivalry (and a good pub). For that I would break my usual rule and have a pint or two. I’d just deal with the gout later.

  5. Not Lords, but in Dallas County, City of Garland has a cricket field in Troth Ablon park on O’Banion Road. Bet a phone call (or two) could get you a local fix for your yen.

  6. I remember watching the West Indians play Cricket in the Canal Zone. I never did get the rules but thought it was fascinating – and they seemed to be having a great time.

  7. I tired to figure out the rules a year or two ago and just reread them once more. I kind of understand now what they are doing and I imagine it would be fun to watch this sport being played with a person who could keep me updated. Sounds like a great Bucket List experience.

  8. Hey Kim – good all that about cricket; but why here? Why Lords?

    Why not someplace else? Not trying to be snarky, I just don’t travel. I’m just curious what this place holds for you over other venues…

    Hope you scratch this one off your list soon

  9. I once played in a softball grudge match under (as I remember them, which isn’t all that well for reasons that will soon become obvious) some unusual rules: Before doing anything – pitching, hitting, moving to catch a ball, running for the next base – you had to take a drink of beer. I don’t think you had to carry the beer with you around the bases, though. It sounds as though limited overs cricket would be terrific played under those rules.

  10. If you enjoy watching cricket, you might enjoy playing croquet. It’s very strategic, so exercises the little grey cells.

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