This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Down under revisited - Pt 2

The 1st January 1995, another scorcher and the start of the 3rd cricket test between England and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, predictably shortened to the SCG.
 
We'd pre booked match tickets over the phone before leaving the UK to allay any worries about the match selling out. Now, watching cricket in Oz was and for good while after still was, considerably cheaper than in the UK. A couple of years previous to this trip we had gone to see the fourth day of the last test between England and South Africa at the Oval. The previous day, Devon Malcolm had ripped through the South African batting line up with some devastating bowling leaving England only a small target for victory. Anyhow, we witnessed the expected (and rare) England victory, which was great, but it was all over in a little over an hour and a half, which wasn't so great (they did let everyone eat their picnics on the Oval outfield though) and all for thirty five quid. In contrast, the three day pass which we bought for the match at the SCG cost the equivalent of about twenty five quid.
 
Anyhow, as we stood outside waiting for the gates to open we considered England's chances in the imminent match. They had gone 2-0 down in the series after a miserable display in Melbourne and no-one was giving them much hope here either. The three day pass was ideal - it was unlikely that the match would last any longer!
 
Now, the SCG is located in the huge Moore park, south east of the city. Also on the site was the national football stadium, and accompanying these two venues, the old showground (at the time leased to Fox studios) and Horden pavilion. We weren't aware at the time but all night dance parties were held at 'The Horden' a number of times a year, one of those occasions being New Years Eve. Almost exclusively gay in clientele the parties ran from about 10pm to 10am, or whenever the party smarties wear off. So imagine our surprise (and delight) when hundreds of fit shirtless young things start streaming out of the adjacent Horden to a line of waiting taxis. The Aussies fans who had seen all this before largely ignored it - apart from one feral arsehole who loudly decried the lack of shotgun. The waiting poms merely looked on in bemusement.
 
We were soon in the ground and awaiting the start of play. There is no segregation is such but the majority of the poms congregated at one end, oddly enough close to one of the bars. Funny that.
 
We, like many others had come equipped with our St Georges flag, bearing the name of our local at the time - The King Bill, Histon. There were a number of banners around the ground too - all competing for Channel Nine's 'banner of the match' competition. One in particular I remember said 'If the poms bat first, tell the taxis to wait!'. Not bad advice considering!
The first session was pretty steady and well, boring to be honest. England couldn't score and Australia couldn't take wickets. Much the same could be said of the second session after lunch although the score moved on a little. This didn't deter the crowd who, thanks to a hot day and plentiful cold beer were getting more raucous. The booze flowed and the chants and songs got ruder and ruder. There were numerous songs from the poms, most casting some doubt on Aussie spinner Shane Warne's sexual preferences. The Aussies responded with a similar comment about the Queen Mum, the poms jeered that Captain Cook had only discovered Australia because he wanted to stop for a s**t! The Aussies respond with another ditty suggesting that her Majesty likes to do certain things erm, a certain way if you know what I mean. There was a second break - supposedly for 'tea' although there was very little tea drunk, certainly by the spectators, then play resumed at about 4.00pm for the final two hour session of the day. And it was here that England performed another spectacular batting collapse. I tell you, it was awful to watch, yet another humiliation at the hands of the Aussies was on the cards - and you can only imagine the crowd reaction. The day closed with England on something like 120 for the lost of 7 wickets and staring another defeat firmly in the face.
Day 2 of the test match and as we headed towards the ground we wondered what magnitude of sporting disaster we were going to witness in the coming hours. However, we were pleasantly surprised. Darren Gough was in bat and decided to take the attack to the Aussies. With some thoughtful and yet adventurous batting he launched the ball into the stands many times and had soon knocked up a decent total though I forget exactly how many. Last in bat was Devon Malcolm who couldn't normally swat a fly, but this time took the same attacking yet much less measured approach than Goughie and soon knocked up a similar score. By the close of the innings England were back in the game. Things got even better as the Aussies went into bat. Very soon their top order was knocked over and by the close of the days play, England were (just about) on top for the first time in the whole series.
 
Day 3, if I recall correctly was more even score wise but they did have to finish early as the rain came in. It is a measure of the power of the sun down under that even on a cloudy day you can still get sunburnt quite badly - as Trev found out somewhat painfully.
 
Day 4 was disappointing - play was almost totally wiped out due to rain and with it England's chances of winning.
The 5th January 1995 and the final day of the cricket - which we didn't bother with. A draw was the only likely result so we headed into town to plan the rest of our trip. Trev was feeling distinctly below par thanks to a spot of sun stroke - really you gotta be so careful here, it can soon catch you out - so with our travel plans more our less sorted we headed back to the motel and the news that the game had been abandoned and a draw declared. The next test was in Adelaide in about three weeks time - and we would be there, but before that there was an awful lot of travelling to do.

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