Shining, even without Hoggard
Matthew Hoggard's late withdrawal from the Lord's Test because of injury did not only deprive England of their number one bowler for the first Test.
It also meant the organisers of an exclusive little soiree near Lord’s had to go about their business without their most noteworthy guest.
Chance to Shine – the charitable institution aiming to transform grass-roots cricket in Britain – did gather former Sports Minister Richard Caborn and Sir Tim Rice to a bijoux residence in St John’s Wood.
Our host for the evening was the cousin of a former Conservative minister, a property entrepreneur who has himself donated a five-figure sum to the cause.
As we stood in the delightful surrounds of a sitting-room done up in Thai style, rich in wood panelling – and very unlike most houses in NW8 - we were given an update on the campaign.
So far, £10 million has been raised from the private sector in the hunt to find £25 million by 2010. And every penny will be matched by the government.
The idea is that schools and clubs are matched together – and the money pays for coaches to come to those “target” schools.
It is all very admirable – and will hopefully achieve its aim of reversing the decline in competitive schools cricket.
My one problem with it is this: schools themselves – at least the ones in my area of north London – rarely make much mention of sports facilities in their prospectuses.
They should do: parents are overwhelmed by every form of league table when some might also want to know if a certain school has dedicated cricket coaches.
I cannot be the only one.