Tonk a Pom

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, November 27, 2006

After the long flight from Joburg I was greeted in Perth by a friendly immigration officer with a cheery "G,day! How ya goin' mate?" which pretty much sums up the difference between home and here. Could you imagine the hatchet-faced old crones at Heathrow being half as warm? Still, they didn't catch the cane toad I had in my bag...

I had a four hour layover before my onward flight to Brisbane where I caught up on the Ashes hype from the terribly one-sided press. All quite amusing which will make victory that much sweeter.

I finally arrived in Brizzy at 8pm on the Wednesday where I met up with Wigan Rob and Handsome Chris who I'd met on the Pakistan and Indian tours (in fact they hadn't been home since India in April so we had a few stories to catch up on). We went down the Pig'n'Whistle pub which unfortunately was the 'official' home of the Barmy Army. Cue much good-humoured singing and merriment, but after 20 minutes it soon got a bit annoying. Familiar characters were there from previous tours, including Dr Chardonnay a GP with a penchant for getting plastered on cricket tours and standing on bars singing (I understand that since the India tour he has been struck off by the authorities).

And so to the game. You can read what happened here, (or perhaps from an Australian perspective here) but it can be summed up in one word: BUGGER!

There had been much hype made of the fact that tickets would be at a premium but I wandered along the Brisbane River down to The 'Gabba just on the off chance to see what was happening. All the games have been billed as a sell out but I saw a guy selling and he only wanted face value for it (less than 25 quid) which was a bargain. And right behind the bowler's arm, too!

I eventually got in (no backpacks allowed for some reason, but they didn't tell you that until you had queued up for 20 mins at the gate, so I had to go back outside and check my bag in at the cloakroom). Fortunately I managed to find my seat with ten minutes to spare before the national anthems and pre-match hoopla. After all the build-up, the waiting, and the hype it was time for the opening delivery of the series.

Good god. A worse ball could not have been imagined by poor Steve Harmison. The Aussies were laughing and we were embarrassed, and you could see in Harmison's body language that he probably didn't want to be here. Some people reckon that the first over sets the tone for the series, in which case we're done for. We were certainly done for the first few days here, and it was only Pietersen's and Collingwood's batting that gave us a glimpse that we can compete.

I managed to get tickets for all days, some at even less than face value (seems the Aussies unwisely bought them all up hoping to make a fortune on eBay). Maybe Melbourne and Sydney will be different but there were plenty to go around here, and I even got invited into the Queensland Cricket Club members section. All in all the Aussies have been pretty friendly (some much more friendly than others!), although they do need to learn a new song other than "Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" It really gets old quickly and couldn't compete with the Barmy Army rendition of God Save YOUR Queen and You All Live in a Convict Colony (to the tune of Yellow Submarine). It's a shame the Fun Police were out, banning the Mexican Wave or standing up and singing. They even threw out the Barmy Army's trumpeter!

Still, it was a fairly good atmosphere - especially when Pietersen was smacking Warne and McGrath all over the place on Day 4. But in the end the Poms were tonked. Here's the depressing scorecard.

So now it's on to Adelaide where we must do better. We've got to win the toss and make at least 500 before Monty comes in and skittles them!
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ukdickinson on

So...what's her name?
You've now referenced several times that some Aussies are nicer than others....
Must know details for Van...

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