Crowd Around a Sight Screen

It was very pleasing to see the crowd once more take their place on the field at the close of play on the final day of the Lord’s Test Match. 

It was not long ago that at the end of the Nat West Final everyone was welcomed onto the pitch to get a good view of the presentation ceremony.

By that time, often at around 8.30 pm, the September sun had all but left the field and the darkening shadow of the Warner Stand had sped across the turf all the way to the Tavern concourse – a powerful visualisation of the passing of time and a poignant symbol of a season’s end.

Third Man expects that Keith Bradshaw, the Secretary of MCC, was the person behind this revival.  He is a huge influence for good at Dark’s Lord’s and in cricket generally.

But of course it would have needed a Lowry to capture the moment properly as he did in the painting above of a Crowd (and a dog) Around a Sight Screen probably from the Nineteen Fifties.

Lowry would consult Alick Leggat, the Hon Treasuer of LCCC, on field placings in his cricket paintings.  But he would have needed no help with the cast or positions in this wonderful painting that captures the anarchy of the crowd.

Authority takes much energy out of cricket.  They do not mix well.  It is the potential for disorder of ball, of bat, of stumps, of personality, and yes, even of the behaviour of those who watch and barrack or just mill about that impels the experience of cricket.

Sometimes it is the world’s quietest, stillest game, then chaos breaks seemingly without warning.  How life-like.


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