The Alec Stewart gate is where the media (that’s me) have to go, and I don’t like the Alec gate.
Two reasons, it’s too far to walk, and it’s named after Alec Stewart.
When I finally get to the gate, my name is not on the list.
I was tempted to say, don’t you know who I am, but I held back.
He was right though, I wasn’t on the list, so he went over to the booth, and made the call, you know the call, was it a mistake, or was a weird fan boy trying to get in for free.
As if anyone would go to this trouble to watch a Shoaibless Surrey.
The man on the other end confirmed I was not a weird fan boy, at least not today.
I was sent in and was to find the media area behind the brilliantly named OCS stand, and I did, well done me.
Then I had to show my badge to 3 mores people, one who seemed confused when I said which way to the press box.
We had a brief surreal conversation about where the press box was, and in the end I ignored all his advice.
I stumbled around and I opened a door, and there it was, the press box, desks, windows, power points, and 3 guys were huddled up the front, they were deep in conversation and didn’t seem to notice me bumbling around.
I tried to walk with an air that said, this isn’t my first time honey. Then I tripped a little, so that might have ruined it.
Key and Denly were out in the middle, and I was trying plug in the laptop and so forth as best I could.
I sort of missed the early overs, trying to get the internet to work, then I had to help a guy from Kent with his, which came in handy, as I worked out why mine wasn’t working, I had no password.
The Kent guy took me to the place where the passwords were, we had a cross-county love fest going on.
The media manager type dude came in and gave me a free radio, you know the bbc ones they sell for 10 quids, not bad at all. He gets a gold star. He gave them to everyone who was there, which was only a 5 or 6 people.
In the box there was several screens for watching the sky coverage, or big brother I spose.
Quickly I wrote out an email to family and friends telling them where I was.
The view out to the middle was dark, you can’t describe it any other way, well maybe light challenged. The press box is part of the sightscreen, so the glass is tinted like you would not believe, but you get used to it, and I’m sure it will be better when the lights come on.
Right at the moment I feel like I have 7 pairs of sunglasses on.
My seat was right up the front, as my inside man had told me it was the best seat, and he was right
For the 1st innings I pretty much sat in my chair, no real exploring.
I did chat to a few other journalists, all of them seemed quite knowledgeable, except for the chap who kept saying Denly, what’s his first name, which would have been ok, if he didn’t say it about every second player. Dude you are on the computer, use cricinfo.
At the break I went over to them members to say a few hellos. Since it is at the complete other end of the ground, there was no way I could make it back in time.
As I got back into the press box, there was about 12 people in there, the second Surrey wicket had fallen.
Not that I could see.
The ground was tinted into darkness, and most of the press was talking about it.
I was wrong, the lights were worse than the daylight, it was almost pitch black.
I decided I could see just as well in the press lunchroom watching sky and went to have a meal. I heard some of the other journalists talking about how good the food was, I have no complaints, they had meatballs and curry.
I had the meatballs. While I was eating two more wickets fell.
By the time I got back to the press box half of the people had left.
The game was over, Surrey were gone, even though ramps was there.
Eventually the media manager type dude came in to tell us that he knew the view was ordinary but that you could go upstairs as long as you didn’t go into the radio or sky boxes, he explained where to go, and I thought I might go have a look later.
An older writer started dozing off at one stage.
I decided to do some writing downstairs, you could sort of make out the game, and I had the radio and the sky coverage as well. Eventually as Surrey was getting further and further behind the rate, I thought I’d go have a look upstairs.
When I got to level 3, I asked the Oval guy which box was free for the press, he looked at me funny, so I just went in and I am positive I went to the middle one, which is where he said I was safe, except that Colville was sitting in the front of a box with a microphone.
No blood no foul though, I was out before anyone knew I was there, and went back to the safety of the press box, which does seem like a weird thing to say.
I sat out the rest of the time in the press box, although I did get some water from the lunch room a few times, the last time they had big brother on in there, which I thought was funny.
By the end of the game there was only three of us left in there, and no one was really looking at the game live, our eyes were sore, so we watched the big telly.
Then I went and had a beer.
Was a good day, the beer was kronenburg.