Miserly booze limit stops fans Lording it up at home of cricket

Susanna Wilkey SPECTATORS at Lord s might have been bowled over by Michael Vaughan s century at the weekend but some were less than impressed with an alcohol limit at the ground. Opinion has been split on whether the restriction is a successful way of con

Susanna Wilkey

SPECTATORS at Lord's might have been bowled over by Michael Vaughan's century at the weekend but some were less than impressed with an alcohol limit at the ground.

Opinion has been split on whether the restriction is a successful way of controlling hooliganism or a bid by the home of cricket to rake in money behind the bar, as fans are limited to a bottle of wine or two pints of beer with their all-day picnics.

Cricket aficionado Dhimant Patel, from Little Venice, said: "I think it is criminal - they've done it to make more money basically.

"When I first started going to the cricket you could have a great time with your friends by having a picnic and taking in as much alcohol as you wanted.

"I have three children over 18 and it already costs £60 per ticket. If you then have to start buying alcohol for everyone, it gets really expensive.

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"I won't go as often as I used to now because they have priced me out. You are there for eight hours, usually on my day off, and we want to have a few drinks.

"I have been going to the cricket for 30 years and I used to go all the time, but now it is becoming too expensive. If they had crowd control problems I could understand, but they don't."

But Alasdair King, who went to the Lord's Test match against the Kiwis at the weekend, is in favour of a clampdown on boozy fans.

"It's quite hard to watch sublime cover drives when there is inflatable fruit bouncing off your head thrown by all the lager louts who are sat around you," he said.

"The first test match I went to, a drunk old toff threw a glass of red wine over me during a Mexican wave. The third session of a Test match is like being on holiday in the Costa Del Sol.

"Test matches, along with British society, have degenerated into this sort of lawless disorder where men and women think it's acceptable to be blootered all the time."

Perhaps spectators should be thanking their lucky stars, though, as Lord's is rumoured to be one of the last cricket grounds in the country to allow fans to bring their own booze.

Marylebone cricket lover Carl Upsall said: "It is actually the most enlightened policy of many of the grounds.

"The Oval has a total ban on bringing in your own booze, so I think Lord's has a very reasonable policy.

"I am a fan of the restriction - it doesn't affect your enjoyment of the game and is not a total ban, as at so many other grounds."

Cricket fan Prasanna Puawanarajah, who lives on the Edgware Road, said: "Clearly if you want to go into Lord's and drink 20 pints at the bar you can. So this is obviously a business decision, rather than anything to do with decorum.

"People just want to be able to pack a picnic from home and enjoy a day at the Test. Stopping them doing that and banning people from bringing more than a bottle of wine does smack of nanny-ism and is a bit cynical. This is not going to stop people getting drunk, but will just raise revenues inside the ground."

Edward Pengelly, from the Cricketers' Club in Marylebone, said: "I am in favour of a limit otherwise you would get people carrying bags and bags in but I think the limit is a little bit tight - it should be higher.

"Some of the members here don't like it much and I do think people should be treated a bit more like adults - it's kind of like saying this is how much you should drink."

Lord's said it introduced the limit several years ago.

A spokesman said: "We are the only cricket ground in the whole world that allows spectators to bring in alcohol.

"We are spectator-friendly. We believe spectators have the right to bring in some alcohol."