Australia Tour 2010/11
England v Western Australia 5th - 7th November at the WACA. England win by 6 wickets
Must admit this week I felt like taking my bat & ball home.
We have received a veritable torrent of abuse about our SKY SPORTS interview slot much of which I'd say is unwarranted.
First of all , our comments were heavily cut and SKY SPORTS NEWS showed none of my analysis of the impact of Supertax on Western Australian mining conglomerates or any of my impressions of the treatment of the native aboriginal population over the last 100 years.
" The Men in Shades" I can accept. " Media whores" I can understand. But comparing my teeth colouration unfavourably with Tim Abrams???
Come on , Stuart Walker , get a reality check man. This is the tv celebrity who when asked how he enjoyed Bangladesh said to me:
" Oh yes there was a great camaraderie between the press and the players. It felt like we were all in it together"
Mr Abrams and the players were all staying in the 5-Star Pan Pacific Hotel in Dhaka toughing it out. Together.
By way of contrast in Dhaka myself and "Jerry" stayed in a festering sh*thole!!
In Australia I am staying in a backpackers on a diet of KFC and the occasional gnaw at a dingo bone for breakfast. Tim Abrahams is staying in the Hyatt, again with the England team. He has a make-up girl and orthodontist to pamper him and spend two hours scrubbing him up before he leaves the hotel each day and no doubt he is eating only dental floss for breakfast.
So your comparisons are grossly unfair.
Actually I am getting used to backpacking a bit now. Tremers has been here and he says that compared to some of the hovels he has seen Tom & Tractor 1 stay in , my place is like the Hilton. Things have improved. Fred & Rose seem to have gone off with the men in fluorescent jackets somewhere - I think they said something about helping with enquiries about planning permission or something - and Charlie the Chinese cleaner has at last ventured into my room to change the battery on the smoke alarm. He still hasnt cleaned anything yet. But overall its a thumbs up now for Governor Robinsons.
On Thursday Tremers and myself went for a drive up the coast north of Perth - very barren and the whole area seems to be one large building site for flash seafront housing - mainly occupied by Poms , we were told. The whole area is called "Little England " by the Aussies and there is even an "English Shop" with a big Union Jack out front selling English staples such as Colman's mustard , Bisto , and Patak's curry mix. Nothing much else up there but we found an excellent fish and chip shop and it made a nice change to have a healthy lunch.
On Thursday evening we had a barbecue at Travis's house ( Tremers host ) with his very nice and welcoming family. I had to get the train home and on the platform at Bull Creek I witnessed my first "unsavoury incident". Two strapping Transit Security Police Guards , one male one female , came down the escalator onto the platform while I was applying mossie cream and started donning rubber gloves. When the next train from Mandurah pulled in , they got on and dragged off an aboriginal guy with a shopping bag full of contraband who was out of his head on alcohol , drugs , or whatever and "sorted the situation out". These Transit Police are tough hombres, and I dont recommend any blagging manoevres, Streetfly , if you ever visit Perth.
However - there may well be an alternative career here for PC Tintin if he eventually gets fed up with Brixton.
With a name like Thomas , he should be well suited to working on trains.
You will all be pleased and relieved to know that " The cow that sh*ts gold bars" has made a full recovery. Tremers has obtained a part time job working for the WACA groundsman. This entitles him to the following:
Free admission to the matches. Free car parking. Free supplies of cider in the groundsmans shed. All on top of the other free stuff already detailed. This guy makes Streetfly look like a blagging novice.
On Saturday our first match of the tour began at the WACA. England are playing what we historically know as Western Australia ( they have a new Packeresque name now , the Retardvision Warriors or something ) in a 3 day game. The WA team was somewhat weakened but still contained the likes of North , Voges and Ronchi. As Tremers was busy in the shed helping the groundsman stockcheck his cans of cider , I sat with a pom called Darren , who emigrated with his family 4 years ago, and he expanded to me on the Little England situation above. Also with us Rich , who had studied cricket at the wonderful Manchester University , and Ross , a Tottenham fan from Shrewsbury.
England lost the toss and bowled. A great start , Broad took two wickets in consecutive balls - without losing his temper once - leaving WA 0-2 but it went downhill from there and WA scored 242-8 before declaring.
Our bowlers - well , Anderson bowled okay , a bit unlucky at times & economical. Broad was consistently hostile all day. Swann was hampered by some one-eyed umpiring decisions and could have had more than the 1 wicket he ended up with. He has become the target for the Aussie boo boys instead of Broad. Collingwood bowled just a couple of overs but took a wicket in his first one. All of these are shoe-ins for the 1st Test obviously. And then we come to the enigma that is Finn.
Inexperienced , and how it showed - he looked very vulnerable. To be fair he bowled a couple of corkers but then followed up with a lot of full tosses and other pies that went the distance. The one wicket he took was a short ball outside off stump which Ronchi leathered - straight to Collingwood. Tremers reckons the England coaching staff have tried to encourage Finn to pitch it up more as he had a tendency to bowl too short. My theory is simpler - he's been playing too much second division cricket with Middlesex and needs a move to a bigger county , preferably one which owns its own ground.
My favourite part of day 1 was when the WA number ten - a spinner - came to the crease to bat shortly before the declaration.
The guy's surname was BEER. The hoons , who had been quietly getting sozzled prior to this , started up croaking & chanting
" We love BEER ! We love BEER ! "
Dont you just have to admire them??
Day 2 started badly with a series of poor shots / low scores by our batsmen. However on the plus side KP got some form back making the most of a dropped slip catch and he went on to make 58. At lunch there was a problem with gaps opening up on the pitch and Tremers had to put his cider down and go on and help the groundstaff!
I will populate the report later with a photograph of Tremers helping to fill the groundsmans crack - and in front of all those people.
After lunch when Ian Bell came in , Tremers bet me a round of drinks that he would be out for less than 20. I took the bet. Bell duly hit his first shot out of the ground off BEER for a massive six , made 21 , then got out next ball - cue guffaws from all around us.
Broad and Swann then did a Headingley reprise and crashed the Aussie bowling to all parts. Broad went to his 50 with a massive six , and we declared some 19 runs behind.
BEER got smacked for a hundred - " We all love BEER! " Get him in the test team Ricky!
On day 2 I was sat with Darren and some more poms living in WA , Gareth , Jill and Phil. All very nice people and we had a good laugh.
Gareth is a Notts Forest fan so I decided to have some fun.
" My favourite Manchester United player was signed from Forest and I dont mean Roy Keane. I will give you 5 guesses who it is and the bet is a beer "
The poor guy spent the next 2 hours agonising and racking his brains as he used up all his guesses - Wallace , Webb , Davenport , Nigel Clough?? Birtles !! etc and despite a plethora of overly generous clues he couldnt think who it was. So at about 4pm I had my first glass of half-strength Aussie cricket beer - and at $6, or four pounds for a half , it will probably be my last.
Thank you Gareth for the sporting bet & the drink , and a big thank you also to Forest & United legend Ian Storey-Moore , for the brief but vivid memories and now also the free ale you have provided.
I wonder if SP would have got this one right??
As the Aussies came out to bat in their 2nd innings we were joined in the stand by a very different group of expatriates on a "boys day aht ".
" The Sweeneys doing ninety cos they got nowhere to go , they catch a gang of villains in a shed up at Heafrow...fanny how their missus always looks the bleedin' same etc etc"
The gang of villains were now amongst us. Southern English Chavs. Ex-Dulwich. Thick set. Shaven heads. Identikit bling and Chelsea etc apparel. National identity crisis. Massively tattoed. Extremely pissed. And very boorish , loud & unpleasant. Had they not given away their recent arrival in Australia, it would not have been difficult to imagine them shovelling sh*t on one of the very first boats to Tasmania.
What a contrast to the other people we met - my god , if you emigrated with your family and found this lot were your "Neighbours" you would book the first flight back to the UK.
Englands bowling lacked penetration in the 2nd innings on day 2 after tea but some good news for Herbie - Finn was the best of the bunch and has improved considerably, bowling some good lines and he deservedly took our only wicket. There , just to show theres no North / South divide going on!
On Sunday morning , day 3 , the game started as if a draw was likely. Ross arrived without his Tottenham shirt and explained he had experienced a mad impulse to move to Bolton during the night together with a craving for pigs trotters. The first half hour passed uneventfully.
Six wickets in the next hour before lunch changed all that including a stupendous run out by sub fielder Morgan - I hope SKY SPORTS got that one. We bowled WA out in the early afternoon leaving a victory target of 243 from 52 overs. A challenging task made more difficult by Cook getting out cheaply again , but a superb century by Captain Strauss and an ultra-aggressive 35 from Pietersen steered us home. Trott , Collingwood and Bell also made meaningful contributions. BEER went for another hundred , just about. " Do I love BEER!".
As it became obvious England were going to win, a group of brainless, feral Aussies behind us began chirping about the number of saffers in our team and its not difficult to work out what their excuse will be should we win the forthcoming series.
Fortunately I was in a position to remind them about Keppler Wessels , although I think they were too thick to realise who he was and who he played for.
Unfortunately I have to report a small degree of nastiness after the game between myself ( the fat old Pom - but we are all like that , apparently ) and these clowns ( the thick young Convicts ) , which slightly marred an otherwise excellent and enjoyable match with some great company, great cricket , and a winning start to our tour.
Well its off to Adelaide tomorrow in more than optimistic mood and the next blog will be from there.
Regards and hope I beat Rodney White to the stop press!