We took The Green Room back to The Oval for the first three days of The Ashes 5th Test...
Each day our VIP cricketing fans were welcomed into The Green Room by our hostesses and shown to their tables. Once settled they could enjoy a breakfast spread of fruit, pasties and bacon rolls as they looked out onto both teams warming-up.
To begin the day our hilarious host, Mark Durden-Smith, welcomed guests and introduced two of our many sporting legends throughout the day. Hospitality Finder Cricket Ambassador Darren Gough and Australian Cricket Coach Darren Lehmann both joined Mark on stage where they talked about their careers, coaching and their thoughts on the England squad before inviting a member of the crowd, Debbie (who was there all three days!), to join them for more banter on stage. Both Darren’s played at Yorkshire together where Lehmann was captain for a year, mentioning that since that time there has been no reverse or swing ball! Is this a coincidence? Lehmann's prediction was 3-1 to the Aussies.
After a brief introduction to the day our guests made their way up to their seats to watch the first innings, which provided them with panoramic views from across the playing field and behind the bowler's arm. Guests made sure to take plenty of refreshments with them and some even had to come down for sun cream - although we can't complain about the weather! Australia won the toss and England was first up to bat.
As guests returned to the facility and took their seats, they enjoyed a four-course lunch as Mark introduced another two former cricketing legends. Hospitality Finder Cricket Ambassador Michael Vaughan and winner of 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' Phil Tufnell shared stories from their cricketing careers. Vaughan spoke about how he secured England captaincy and lead the England squad to victory in The Ashes 2005. When asked who they were both supporting in this test match they both said they were backing England.
Next up to join Mark on stage was Matthew Hoggard MBE, a right arm fast-medium England bowler and 'The architect to England’s World Cup victory' Mark Ramprakash MBE. Hoggard shared that he thought Jofra Archer was a good bowler as he can rattle the Australians who have a high-class attack, and Ramprakash explained that he didn't think that their practice test match against Ireland earlier in the year was the best preparations for The Ashes. When asked about Jason Roy, it was said that he now has the time to go off and practice his test match cricket to prepare for future matches; as well as talking about their time in the England squad.
There was a running theme throughout the Ashes panel members... Most of them had either won or taken part in Strictly Come Dancing - Tufnell was even described as dancing with furniture!
The Green Room is known for attracting its fair share of celebrity faces and The Ashes was no exception! Across all three days we saw a variety of famous faces from Comedians, sport presenters and reality TV stars - 18 to be exact - join us including some new faces for guests to mingle with throughout the day! Friends of The Green Room included The Chase star Paul Sinha, Comedian Rory Bremner, Auctioneer Jonny Gould, Comedians Mark Steel and Andy Zaltzman, Broadcaster Jonathan Maitland, Former Footballer Lee Dixon, Monaco DJ Seb Fontaine and rugby ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio. Day 2 we welcomed back Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray with colleague Kate Garraway, DJ Nic Fanciulli, Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, Theatre Director Ed Hall and 2018 Love Island star Josh Denzel. Finally on Day 3 we welcomed Green Room first timer Greg Rusedski a former British No.1 tennis player, TalkSPORT presenter Georgie Bingham and Sir Clive Woodward, who coached the winning 2005 rugby team to the Rugby World Cup.
During the second break guests enjoyed afternoon tea as Darren Lehmann and 'The Dazzler' Darren Gough took to the stage for a final panel where they could ask them their own questions including:
Q: How would you have bowled Steve Smith out?
A: Take him out of his comfort zone and use different bowling types - Goughie
Mark scoped the room and did a few shout-outs to any special occasions, birthdays and special mentions before guests headed back to their seats for the final play. Our VIP guests were able to witness iconic moments such as Chris Woakes bowling out Australia's best batter Steve Smith and ending the series on a draw!