Reasons for lording it

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The Independent Online
Q. Is it possible to ascertain whether Thomas Lord, the first landlord of the present HQ of cricket, was a genuine cricket lover or simply a very shrewd real estate owner?

A. Thomas Lord's love of financial profit far outweighed his love of cricket. He came to London in the 1780s as a "bowler and sort of general attendant" for the White Conduit Club (forerunner of MCC). No record of his playing career survives. In 1814 he moved the club to its third and present site, where, for 10 years, the turnstiles hummed and Lord enjoyed the considerable pecuniary rewards. But he was not satisfied, and in 1824 obtained permission from his lessees, the Eyre Estate, to develop as a housing estate all but 150 square yards of the ground to maximise the value of the remaining lease. Not the action of a cricket lover.

The day was saved when William Ward, a director of the Bank of England, stepped in to purchase Lord's pounds 5,000 stake in the ground. Thomas Lord was born in Thirsk, Yorkshire, in 1755 and grew up in Diss, Norfolk, where he learnt the rudiments of bowling. I doubt he really gave a fig for the game of cricket, seeing it as a way of ingratiating himself with the aristocracy and making money.

In 1787 he instituted an admission fee for games at the Dorset Square ground, around which he built a fence. He had realised the marketing potential of the great game. - Giles Lyon, London SW6

Q. Has any cricketer stayed on a county staff longer than Keith Greenfield, of Sussex - eight years - without being capped?

A. Recent history includes the following cricketers who have had a long wait: J Abrahams of Lancashire made his debut in 1973 but was not capped until 1982; G D Barlow (Middlesex), 1969, 1976; J D Birch (Nottinghamshire), 1973, 1981; N Briers (Leicestershire), 1971, 1981; A E Cordle (Glamorgan), 1963, 1976; J A Hopkins (Glamorgan), 1970, 1977; M Llewellyn (Glamorgan), 1970, 1977; A P Pridgeon (Worcestershire) 1972, 1980.

I cannot vouchsafe the contractual status of those mentioned. However, all the examples come after the abolition of the distinction between players and amateurs. It is therefore likely that some have had to wait as long as Keith Greenfield. I do know that Nigel Briers made his debut aged 16, and it is unlikely he had a full contract for a few years, as he underwent full-time education before becoming a professional. - David Rimmer, Middlesbrough


Q. In 1972-73 Liverpool were League champions and Sunderland FA Cup winners. Why was the following season's Charity Shield match between Manchester City, who had finished 11th in the First Division, and Burnley, the Second Division club? - Brian Foy, Hebburn

Q. In the light of the US basketball labour dispute, have any British sportsmen or sportswomen ever gone on strike? - Dudley Benjamin, London W11

Q. Who is the youngest person to have represented his or her country? - Anna Redgrave, London N1

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to: Q & A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square. London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894