From the Nursery End: Wrong place at the wrong time

09:37 20 June 2012

West Indies

West Indies' Chris Gayle Photo credit: Tim Hales. PA Wire.

I won’t be buying a lottery ticket this week. Luck and judgement seem to have deserted me. Here’s my diary of despair:

Wed 6th June

Mike Gatting’s 55th birthday and the second day v Somerset. To mark the jubilee the country had just been celebrating, a Jubilee line train stops working somewhere near the Palace, so all trains come to a halt. I get to Lord’s about 20 minutes after the start of play to find I’ve missed Middlesex taking four wickets in ten balls, which is the sort of thing that happens about once a decade. Thanks, TfL, hope you raise your game for the Olympics.

I do, though, get to enjoy some heavy rain and an early lunch, and later a bit of a flurry from Chris Rogers taking a pair of fours off consecutive overs and reaching his 50 out of 69-1, which is a hint as to what’s to come.

Because of the rain, the final session after tea becomes one of 41 overs. I have to leave at 5.30pm. Well not have to, I could change my plans. But I don’t. I choose to leave at 5.30ish with the score – I made a note – 187-1 off 48 overs. When I get home half-an-hour later, Middlesex have scored 57 off those 8 overs and I’m already kicking myself. By the close, the 21 overs I’ve missed at the end the day are worth 134 runs, with Rogers’ third 50 coming off 28 balls – pretty good for T20 never mind a 4-dayer – and Denly also reaching his century, and a 245-run partnership.

Thur 7th June

I make the effort despite rain being forecast. Get to Lord’s in plenty of time. Not quite 17 overs bowled in the day in which not much happens. Rain. Went home.

Fri 8th June

Day 4. Still rain around, surely heading for a draw even if they manage to play. Decide not to go. They play. I hear rain on my windows, barely five miles from Lord’s, and yet they’re playing. Think about going, but don’t. Suddenly it looks like Middlesex could force a win as Somerset wickets keep falling and things get interesting. But not for me.

Sunday 10th June

Middlesex v Lancashire in a 40-over. After a sunny morning it clouds over and the missus convinces me that’ll it’ll be raining by 3pm and it’ll hardly be worth going and anyway there’s a friend in hospital who needs visiting blah blah nag nag. Well it’s only the one-day stuff, so I don’t go.

I miss a couple of the great Middlesex one-day innings of our time and Lancs get knocked over and it’s a famous, crushing victory over a good side, an occasion that’ll be told in song and story for many-a long year. Except I won’t be telling it. I wasn’t there. Eleven sixes. And that was just Morgan. Highest Middlesex one-day score. Ever. Fastest century of the season and probably some other records but I feel too sick to check.

Wed 13th June

Well I warned you last week that it’ll pretty much be the Middlesex seconds against the West Indians. I thought I’d get there for mid-day but get delayed. So I manage to miss some entertaining West Indian batting, of course. When I arrive Middlesex are on a sluggish 10-0 after about six overs. By the time I walk round the ground and get a seat they’re 11-2 needing 7.5 an over. The match is lost before I sit down.

There follows a slow disintegration as wickets fall and runs accumulate far too slowly and the asking rate creeps ever upwards. It’s good to see the Windies at close quarters though, of course, I only see their fielding to an uncompetitive Middlesex side.

The most entertaining thing from then on is how far the Middlesex score falls behind the Duckworth/Lewis par. At 51-4 after 15 overs D/L is 156. At 63-5 D/L is 191, and at 89-7 D/L is 266. Well the sun comes out and I’m there, so I stay, as do a good crowd. We see the mystery spinner Narine, but the real spinning sensation is Gayle. Gayle is far too cool to look like he’s trying and his bowling has CBA written all over it, but he ends the misery with a solitary over which is a double-wicket maiden.

That’s the pitiful story of my eight-day week of hurt. For the rest of the season, of course, I dare not miss an over. And it’ll be rubbish.

Follow Laurence on Twitter @Laurence_Klein

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