Australia Tour 2010/11
An Unexpected Finale Courtesy of Don Bradman & Saj Mahmood
You may be as surprised to be reading this as I am to be writing it ,as I wasnt expecting any more cricket related topics to prompt a blog - just goes to show you never can tell!
You may not know this, but here in Australia Ricky Ponting has been sentenced to a day in the stocks being pelted with rotten tomatoes for losing the Ashes again.
Fortunately for Ricky , Cricket Australia have nominated Mitchell Johnson to throw the tomatoes.
We left Sydney in a drunken haze following a live music / beer party at the Observer Hotel on our last night. LOFTY , who had been complaining of achilles tendon trouble and gammy legs all holiday , and walking at tortoise pace for weeks , made an amazing Lazarus-like recovery after being dragged onto the dance floor by an inebriated Aussie woman, and was last seen doing John Travolta impressions before staggering off at speed to his hotel.
The following day TREMERS and myself drove towards Canberra via picturesque Bowral cricket ground , home of the great Don Bradman, where a friendly cricket match was planned.
This alas was scuppered by the foul weather, but we did get the chance to visit the excellent Bradman museum and mix with the various celebrities on show - including Sir Michael Parkinson.
We were also joined there by DAVE, a jovial Aussie and his lady KATRINA , the latter is a very sociable soil scientist - I think she used to work in a bank as a Loam Officer before she became a land girl! More Anzac ADDIS members , I think.
In the absence of cricket at Bowral, a Q & A session was held for the crowd indoors at the Bradman museum chaired by Mark Nicholas with a panel of Michael Vaughan , Kerry O Keefe , Ian Healy and Sir MP. and this culminated in a charity auction in which the shirt Andrew Strauss wore on the final day at Sydney went under the hammer. This had been autographed by the entire England team and apparently was one of only forty such worn / autographed shirts.
Gasps all round as this raised $10,000 after a two man battle up from about $4,000. As the "loser" withdrew at $9,900 he went to shake the "winners" hand which was accepted , although I think I would have probably not have been so gracious in the "winners" place!
Then we drove to Canberra , which is an exceedingly strange place.
A new, planned, town with sh*t weather , a strange one way circular road system , a man-made lake , lots of obelisks and large impressive buildings , pubs and restaurants that close at approx 9pm , and - wait for it - no people.
WYCOMBE , who had joined us to report on the Presidents XI v England one-day game the following day , thought it reminded him of Milton Keynes.
My imagination is probably more feverish/extreme and I prefer to compare Canberra to "Westworld" or that planet where the old Star Trek crew landed to find a load of concrete buildings but no people , just big amoeba-pancake like things clinging to the ceilings which they had to shoot with their phasers.
That episode may well have been filmed in Canberra.
The weather was absolutely foul and we were exceedingly lucky to see a game of cricket - which England won easily, thanks to another faultless ton by TREMERS idol, Ian Bell.
After the game, the Presidents Cup was presented to England Captain Paul Collingwood by the Aussie Lady Prime Minister. What a great honour. For Julia Gillard.
In the evening we had a decent curry with WYCOMBE , DAVE & KATRINA.
After this TREMERS and I drove on in our hire car to the Snowy Mountains but the weather continued to frustrate and we holed up for the night in a town called Jindabyne. I wonder , has anyone seen the film named after the town , starring Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney?
I do have a soft spot for this town, as I love the film and , similar to my home town of Aldershot-by-Tame, the original village of Jindabyne is submerged beneath a large body of water and is the subject of many ghostly stories about church bells ringing underwater at night etc etc.
After locating Gabriel Byrne's garage in the film , which is now a normal boring Shell garage , I called in the tourist information shop to try and buy a DVD copy of "Jindabyne".
On enquiring at the counter the lady serving there gave me a very black look indeed.
" No, young man, we certainly dont stock that film . We dont take kindly to outsiders coming here and making films about our region containing themes of racism and serial killing ".
If anyone made a feature film called "Aldershot-by-Tame" containing those topics, I think most of the local residents would be made up!
We drove on back to Canberra International Airport the next day and it was on the flight from Canberra to Perth that the cow that sh*ts gold bars passed its final, shiny ingot.
After already obtaining at least six small bottles of free red wine, TREMERS disappeared to the front of the plane for an hour or two and then literally staggered back to his seat clutching a half empty full size bottle of business class red wine.
" That steward and pilot arent bad lads " he slurred happily.
Welcome back , golden cow, to your free accomodation in Perth!
Then to our final cricket match of the tour , a "20/20 Big Bash" between Western Australia and South Australia at the WACA.
The WA fans were expecting great things from their expensive new signing, Lancashire's own Saj Mahmood, and he certainly didnt disappoint.
In his first two overs he took a wicket , broke Callum Ferguson's nose and sent him to hospital , and more importantly conceded the small matter of 39 runs.
The WA captain didnt trust him to bowl his last two overs. I cant imagine why.
When Saj came in to bat at the fall of the seventh wicket the game was already decided , but again he didnt let the crowd down , taking a huge heave at his first ball and being caught on the boundary for a golden duck.
As the locals started their catcalls and whingeing I thought I would offer them some crumbs of comfort.
" Its alright for you lot , I have to watch this clown every summer at Old Trafford", I shouted.
I left before hostilities could get properly started!
With a bit of luck Western Australia will be so impressed with Saj, they will also recruit Lancashire's Mike Watkinson and Peter Moores as their new supremo & coach.
On a permanent, residential contract.....
So ends a magnificent tour.......steak pudding , chips , peas and gravy are calling!
See you all soon