The Lord's pavilion is a hallowed sanctuary where members of the Marylebone Cricket Club can while away a Test match day with little to worry about – except whether they have got their "bacon and egg" ties on. The peace is only shattered by the odd six hit by a batsman straight down the ground.
You can imagine their horror, then, when shards of glass showered down upon them yesterday after the England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was run out by Ian Bell in the Test against Sri Lanka. One female member was cut by the glass.
Running out your teammate is probably one of the most heinous crimes in sport – far worse than dropping a catch off his bowling.
Prior appeared incensed. He claimed that he had gone into the Pavilion and leant his bat against the window, and that a chain of events led to it slipping and fracturing the glass. The wicketkeeper, accompanied by captain Andrew Strauss, quickly scurried down from the England dressing room to apologise to members for the incident, but there was an angry remonstration with the England man.
The only previous occasion on which the sanctity of the home of cricket has been disturbed was in 2004, when a member threatened a fellow member with a knife after accusing him of using a mobile phone (forbidden!) during a Test match against the West Indies. After the incident, the alleged knifeman quickly scarpered.
One MCC member said at the time: "I can imagine it happening at a football match, but not a cricket match." Precisely the same is being said about the Prior incident by members.