by Sam Blackledge
The cry echoed around the Nursery End toilets, bouncing off porcelain urinals. “Warwickshire, la la la. Warwickshire, la la la.”
Trott carried on, oblivious to the merriment. Scratch. Fiddle. Grimace. Flick to leg.
Returning to my seat in the lower Edrich stand, I realised I could relax. The job was nearly done.
I can’t write about September 4, 1993 any more. Nostalgia is all well and good, but if you keep looking back you might trip over your own feet. A generation has passed; it’s time for new memories to be made.
Journalist Emma John tells of the “coming of age moment” when she crossed over into adulthood.
After years of being taken to cricket matches by her mum, one day she bought their tickets and made the arrangements herself.
Twenty-three years had passed since my first Lord’s final; 11 years since my last. Marriages, divorces, house moves and babies peppered the intervening period, but cricket carried on in the background like a familiar song at a tense family wedding.
Surrey got off to a flyer, pinging long-hops and half-volleys to the boundary at will. Please not today, I thought. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. We need a win.
With the score on 45, Jason Roy took a couple of steps down the pitch and creamed a short-armed pull. Laurie Evans dived full length to his right and plucked the ball from the air.
We jumped up, cheese sandwiches and Country Slices flying in all directions.
A few minutes later Steven Davies was stumped down the leg side. Sangakkara appeared to be booking in for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but then he edged behind off Hannon-Dalby, sparking the sort of collapse usually only seen on eroding Cornish clifftops.
I’d packed a couple of beers, having carefully checked the Home of Cricket‘s strict alcohol allowance, and produced them when the fifth wicket fell.
I’d even remembered a bottle opener, the sort of detail which would have eluded me in years gone by when I was pretending to be a grown-up.
Days like this always hit a natural peak. I went out after the match and had a few too many drinks which, mixed with exhaustion and adrenaline, took their toll in a mediocre curry house near Vauxhall.
The high point was probably during the second innings, Trott and Bell strolling towards their modest target, victory all but assured.
I laughed as a familiar feeling returned, like catching a whiff of a long-lost memory. Childhood Christmases; chalk on classroom blackboards; sunny days at the beach.
Later on, picking over how the final was won and lost, a journalist friend told me there had been rumours of disharmony within the Warwickshire camp.
“I reckon you needed that,” he said. I smiled to myself and nodded back. “I think you’re right. We did.”