Cricket World Cup: Australia & New Zealand 2015
Kia Ora all.
Our final days in New Zealand flew by and on the 7th March Lofty & I watched the South Africa vs Pakistan game at Eden Park, Auckland.
Despite being rain-affected, this match was probably the best we have seen so far, featuring great batting by De Villiers, great bowling by Pakistan, and in summary the ebb and flow that has been missing from all the England games we have seen, that makes the contest exiting.
The ground also featured a 'Grassline', where one could report poor behaviour to the Authorities by texting 9666 on a mobile phone.
"I would like to report the entire England Cricket Team, please" was the message I sent, but as yet no reply has been forthcoming.
Each time the rain interrupted play we were subjected to records containing rain references by artists such as Travis, Supertramp, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, although obviously this would not work in the UK as the supply of such songs would be exhausted by early May.
In addition, during the longest rain break, we were treated to a replay of the 1992 World Cup Final on the big screen, which England lost to Pakistan.
It never rains but it pours, eh?
After the game we retired to Mo's bar, a small backstreet speak-easy near to our respective hotels.
"The beer won't be $9 a pint in here, Lofty!" I reassured him, and as usual I was dead right.
$16 (SIXTEEN DOLLARS) each for a pint of Porter.
"What's in the bottle mate, f***ing gold dust?" I enquired of the barman.
A group of Aussies on a Stag weekend were drinking in the bar, the Stag wearing a spaceman outfit and a pair of Elton John glasses, and despite the obvious temptation, we declined to join them in a drunken bonding singalong of "Tiny Dancer" at about 2am.
A flight to Adelaide the next day and Aggers and his charming wife were on our plane.
What a lovely, affable couple, and Aggers gave us some helpful advice about following the cricket abroad, which would soon be very pertinent:
"Chaps, never mind about the results. Just enjoy the lovely places you visit, and you will be fine then!"
I lent him a copy of 'Disgruntled Down Under' to read during the flight, which he did in just under three hours.
"What a shame about Kangaroo Island. Lovely place. You ought to give it another chance you know".
Walt and Christine, are you reading this??
The Blades greeted us at the airport and after a relatively early night, we awoke refreshed and ready for our World Cup decider against Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval.
It all started so brightly. We had Bangladesh at 8-2 and furthermore removed two of their best players for minimal runs, but they still managed to score 275 : the dreaded sinking feelings were beginning to rise up.
An awful run out started our demise and although for a time Hales looked the part and showed us what we were missing, the usual mid-innings crawl slowed the run rate down unacceptably and then we began to lose regular wickets. For a little while Buttler and Woakes gave us hope but as I am sure you all know by now, this hope was finally extinguished at about 10.15pm when the final wicket fell.
The England innings took place with a backcloth of racist abuse being hurled at the English supporters by a small group of Australian idiots, such as:" Send the dirty Poms home."
As usual the local police did not move a muscle to prevent this, although the convicts did quieten down a bit when they were suddenly surrounded in their seats by eight or so members of the Adelaide Barmy Army, who had taken exception to their nonsense. As Mr Blade has repeatedly told us, this sort of crap is much harder to accept if you live and work here.
The police were not so relaxed when Lofty and myself leant over a concrete barrier to offer our thoughts to the England back room staff. We were ordered to "leave the ground or be dragged out", which given our collective ages seems a trifle over-reactionary : after all, we were only offering certain people constructive future career advice. We decided that discretion would be the better form of valour.
The following morning we awoke to even grimmer news.
'I have faith in Peter Moores. He will stay in his job' consoled Paul Downton.
Other more critical comments about England abounded, our choices:
"Pathetic." - Sir Ian Botham.
"Absolute ignominy. In terms of one-day cricket this is an absolute low" - Jonathan Agnew.
"England Need Change - Downton, Moores and Whitaker must go." - Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
My personal favourite, on twitter:
"This may not be a good time, but do you fancy a game over here on your way home?"
The Japanese Cricket Federation.
Neither of us had tickets for the dead rubber versus Afghanistan in Sydney, which is a blessing in disguise, although Lofty is now sorry that he does hold a ticket for the quarter-final in Melbourne.
Fully expecting to watch England, he is now likely to see India vs Bangladesh - the nearest he will ever get to the Sub-continent, I suspect!
Oh well. S**t happens. Truth be known we did not travel with any great expectations.
But neither did we expect to see such a terrible shambles.
At least the next few games may be watched stress free and a further diary will follow from Sydney.