Australia Tour 2006/07
End of term report
Last day in Oz today, on the way to Singapore this afternoon.
It’s very difficult to believe the transformation in our one day team over the last two weeks.
From an all time low in Adelaide we have bounced back and thumped the Ozscum in their own backyard.
I use the word "backyard" as the sponsors of the one day series, the Commonwealth Bank, have been running a TV advertising campaign to support their mortgage products comparing the merits of the Oz, Kiwi and Pom "backyards". First they show the childhood gardens of Hussey, Lee and
Ponting - large lawns with a small cricket pitch in the middle. Presumably the bank have since taken possession of these properties from their respective parents for non-maintenance of the mortgage!
Then this is compared with a "typical" Pom backyard - sub-Coronation St with wickets painted onto a brick wall with whitewash - - and a Kiwi back yard - viewed from a shed window you see four sheep huddled together on an uneven grassy hillside trying to shelter from the torrential rain. You get the impression.
"What chance have these guys got". It says.
Well the answer is painted in whitewash on a brick wall somewhere in a scruffy back yard that is forever England, my Aussie friends.
Unfortunately missed the games at Brisbane against NZ and Melbourne 1st final but I was present at the deciding rain-affected game in Sydney, which finally finished at about 11-15pm!
The remnants of the Barmy Army were present including Jimmy Savile - thought he had gone home and when I asked him about this he said, and I quote , "there’s a lot of suffering left in me yet"!
Also there was a new face for me a character called Gilly, who was dressed in an Indian Rajah outfit complete with red spot on his forehead and bejewelled turbanesque hat who carried with him a video camera and a ball and chain made out of rubber or polystyrene. When Pidgeon McGrath was fielding on the boundary in front of us, said Gilly shouted "catch this Glenn" and as he turned towards us threw the ball and chain at him.
Fair do's McGrath not only caught it but threw it back to the same place, causing a ruction in the crowd. As I’m sure you are aware this was McGrath’s last home game, and it was hard not to be caught up in the emotion of his last ball - 40,000 people stood clapping and obligingly Nixon lobbed it for a catch near the boundary rope.
That for the Aussie fans was probably the highlight of the night and as the rain continued to fall eventually only the English fans remained in the ground to see Freddie prostrate himself in front of the long-suffering fans, Nixon throw his shoes and himself into the crowd, and the rest of the team liberally spraying beer all over the place on the pitch in front of us.
Special mention to Collingwood of course for another good knock, and Dalrymple for a stunning catch. Lee also took a very good one to dismiss Flintoff but this had more to do with self-preservation than taking a wicket by the looks of it.
It will be interesting to see who is dropped to make way for the return of KP in the World Cup.
So what to make of it all??
I’m afraid this minor triumph can in no way make up for the dismal performance resulting in the Ashes loss is what I make of it , and I’m sure there will still be immense pressure on Mr Fletcher to make way for the next coach - perhaps Alan Curbishley will be available shortly!
Sorry Herbie and Saint but I watched the game v Watford at weekend and it was, as you said, truly shocking. You will no doubt be comforted to know I was talking to a Charlton fan at the Sydney game who reckoned West Ham were "too good to go down" - not sure that is a safe theory, and certainly in signing Nigel Quashie you can’t have assuaged the fans - he has already been relegated four times with four different clubs! Anyway enough of that depressing stuff.
Thought I would sign off with a brief summary of my trip, which may be of use to anyone considering travelling to Australia.
PLACES TO VISIT - Hobart - Tasmania is a MUST- Cairns, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney
PLACES TO AVOID - Brisbane (police state) Melbourne - sorry to Tom and Tractor, who are now working there I suspect - ( to quote Graham Taylor "Do I not like Melbourne"). Still having nightmares about that scenic boat trip and I bet Gerry the Scouser now sees his weekly benefit collection trip on the Birkenhead ferry in a very different light.
PLUS POINTS - Climate, beaches, scenery, most food, coffee, ice cream, people (such as my cousin Pete & Missus/kids, Brian, Gerry the Scouser, Aussie Rob, Si the Wormesley groundsman - should be a Glen Campbell song! - Davo, Dagenham Dave, Bagpuss, Richard, the Cornish lads, the barmaid in the Observer Hotel Sydney, and my helpful osteopath James Pallett who got me walking again after the back "went" ), Hobart, Perth, Cairns, Cascade/Boags/Tooheys ales.
Last but CERTAINLY not least the friendship and company of all members of the AA who shared the experience - Herbie, Jack, Oliver, Jim, SP, SP's mates and his mum, T & T, Mike, Mr & Mrs Blade and Thomas. I hope my musings have kept YOU amused and big thanks also to all those at home who bothered to reply / correspond with my meanderings from afar.
Certainly, this is very much appreciated when on your own in a foreign country.
NEGATIVE POINTS - Cricket, the flights, the flies, Daily Planet hacks, Chinese food especially restaurants selected by Herbie, Aussie beer apart from the above, some people (such as the Brisbane cricket crowd and in fact most but not all Aussie sports fans), Melbourne, scenic train rides, scenic Melbourne boat rides, doctors bills, finding out that your long-lost Aussie cousin and his wife are non-drinkers. Albeit very nice people!!
Only one way to finish.
WE ARE THE ARMY
THE BARMY ARMY
WE ARE MENTAL AND WE ARE MAD
WE ARE THE LOYALEST CRICKET SUPPORTERS
THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER HAD.
See you all in blighty unless I disappear in some Singapore fleshpot!