A thought from Charles Haddon Spurgeon and some excesses at the Oval

Surrey v Leicestershire, The Oval, County Championship, Friday 4th June  

Not, perhaps, a full report, but a few vignettes.

The Oval tube station has a very pleasing aspect – art deco uplighters on the escalator, “classical” music played in the entrance hall (presumably to soothe the savage breasts that might otherwise congregate there and Behave Antisocially) and these murals –

 

 – the figure on the left is Alan Knott, I think (or possibly Jack Russell) –  the other two I can’t place.  The thought for the day – written out neatly on the whiteboard – is from Charles Spurgeon, the Baptist minister whose Metropolitan Tabernacle was situated not too far away ( I have a cousin who studied for the Ministry at the college named after him, also quite nearby) –

Interesting to see that his influence still persists near his old stamping (or preaching) ground – the quote-merchant at the entrance to the Hammersmith & City Line at King’s Cross prefers Bertrand Russell.

The last time I visited the Oval was for the equivalent fixture last year see here and I see then that Matt Boyce had already been dismissed by the time I arrived.  This was also the case on Friday, and seemed a good omen for my hoped-for repetition of last year’s performance from Leicestershire – a double century from Taylor and a hundred from Dut Toit.  I got something similar, though the runs were differently distributed – a big hundred from Jefferson, 61 from Taylor and decent knocks by Nixon and Du Toit.  

A wag behind me wondered whether the partnership between Nixon and Jefferson was the biggest at the Oval between two American presidents, which it might have been until Taylor (Zachary Taylor) came in.  An amusement for a long winter’s night – devise a Presidents’ XI.

I bear Surrey no ill-will, but I derive some satisfaction from seeing the richest county (we’re told) at the bottom of the Championship – at least money can’t yet “buy success” in this form of the game.  But then, wandering round the Oval, it’s clear that (unlike Grace Road or Wantage Road) this is not a stadium (ground is too small a word for it) that is made with the County Championship in mind, and that success there is not what they’re hoping to buy.  The towering Babylonian stands, the high rise pavilion, the endless bars and countless lavatories, the sumptuous (I’m sure) hospitality suites, the other nameless constructions and  – soon to come – the hotel need Test Matches and star-spangled 20/20 games, and no doubt they will get them, though I’m not sure even that will be enough to satisfy this mini-megacity’s ravenous appetite for cash.  There is an air of hubris about this place, though I fear the coming nemesis is more likely to be visited upon poor old Leicestershire, Northants and Derby than Surrey.

Mind you, a fair proportion of the money for the hotel must have been generated by the group whose photo I presented in my last past – not in fact the Surrey team (you guessed?) – but a stag do (I imagine) who seemed to be supporting Leicestershire, at least until the point (about 2.30 in the afternoon) when they must have been too ratarsed to have much idea where they were, let alone which team they were supporting.  At £3.70 a a pint (London prices!) they must have made a considerable contribution.  And no doubt, when the hotel is built, they could have been carried back to their rooms in wheelbarrows by the stewards.  I think I may have seen a glimpse of  the future here.

What would Spurgeon have thought of all this?  Not a lot, obviously, though I can’t deny that Little Bo Peep, Baloo the Bear and, no doubt Surrey themselves did seem to be enjoying their excesses.

“It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness“.  I shall think of that through the coming months, as I sit under my tree at Fairfield Road with a bottle of pop. 

3 thoughts on “A thought from Charles Haddon Spurgeon and some excesses at the Oval

    • Glad you enjoyed it – I imagine all this cricket must get very dull. Hope things are OK for you over there – not too vexed by Landlords and other bastards?

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