To the Oval for a Surrey championship match. The county game is very under supported and the few people watching this game almost don’t qualify as a crowd. Players seem to outnumber spectators.
But, despite that, the atmosphere is quite wonderful. There’s plenty of space to get comfortable with the morning paper, the bar opens early and the restaurant in the main pavilion serves an old fashioned but very acceptable lunch and house claret to accompany it. Roast lamb and mint sauce followed by cheese for me.
After lunch the sound of leather on willow doesn’t intrude too much and there’s plenty of opportunity for a snooze before thinking about tea.
Unlike Lords, the Oval has rough edges. The ground is practical but not Hollywood pretty like its north London rival and the crowd here is much more cor blimey than the one at St Johns Wood – and the atmosphere, particularly on test match days, is all the better for that. Even today the wisecracks from the handful of regulars in the main stand as a wicket falls are worth the entry fee alone.
The score? I’m not absolutely sure. But it’s a great day out in the summer. You don’t even need to understand – or really be interested – the game to enjoy it.