Ashes in the Rain

Inflatable RooWe were once on holiday on Santorini and had ridden a couple of hired mopeds to the beautiful village of Oia at the northern tip before following the road down the eastern side of the island. Except the road disappeared, or at least the tarmac did, and we found ourselves creeping carefully down a rutted track.

That side of Santorini was pretty much uninhabited as far as we could tell so were surprised to come across someone walking the other way with a rucksack and a guitar on his back.

He turned out to be an Australian doing the grand tour of the rest of the world and that he’d slept the previous night in one of the caves to save himself money so he could afford a ticket for the ferry to the next Greek island.

And that’s thing about Australians – no matter where you go in the world, no matter how remote or unlikely – you’re bound to run into one. There’s even an Aussie who manages our local shoe repair shop.

Aussies await another DRS decision

Aussies await another DRS decision

I once asked him how he’d ended up in Stockport from Adelaide and the answer was simple – he liked to travel. The trouble with Australia is that going anywhere is a major expedition, whereas the UK was a much better base from which to sate his wanderlust.

I mention all this because we were at Old Trafford today for the final day of the third Ashes test match – that’s cricket for the uninitiated – and it came as absolutely no surprise to find hundreds of Australians there.

Some were the very vocal members of the Aussie Fanatics, the equivalent of England’s Barmy Army, but others were just ordinary folk who enjoy their cricket as a way of seeing the world.

And what an optimistic lot they are with their shorts, flip-flops and green and gold t-shirts when the weather forecasters were unanimous that it was going to rain pretty much all day. And so it did.

Cricket in the RainWe managed to watch around an hour’s play before lunch and during the break the heavens opened. The players got back on the pitch briefly after lunch before the game was completely washed out.

I suppose we Brits can be equally and futilely optimistic judging by the number of people who hung around hoping against hope that the skies would clear.

The only cricket action we saw were the impromptu games that broke out around the ground with bags for wickets and umbrellas for bats. I particularly enjoyed the fancy dress contingent and the sight of Superman bowling slow left arm to a tiger with a Smurf as wicketkeeper.

Dark SkiesWe finally gave up the ghost at 4:30, about ten minutes before the Aussie captain also conceded that the match should be abandoned as a draw, effectively handing the Ashes to England.

I could complain about the weather, I could complain even louder about the increasingly discredited Decision Review System, but I won’t. Despite everything it was an enjoyable and thoroughly typical English summer day.

In fact we came home and booked tickets for the One Day International match against Australia on 8th September. Gluttons for punishment or what?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

7 comments… Add yours
  • Weatherman Pudding 6th August 2013

    I have it on good authority that it’s going to piddle down on September 8th. I wish they still had cricket on BBC TV. It’s not the same on radio. How come the cricketing authorities sold our fourth* national sport to the devilish murdochian SKY? It belongs on the BBC so bring it back!

    * after football, Rugby League and Rugby Union

    Reply
  • Roger Green 6th August 2013

    You’re right, Aussies are everywhere!

    Reply
  • Lindsey Jackson 7th August 2013

    Very funny x

    Reply
  • Trevor Rowley 8th August 2013

    Yes, cricket certainly is a terrific game, Mr P, and quite neglected – even in the country of its birth. Schools now seem to be exclusively promoting (Association) football at the expense of other sports. The two rugbys don’t seem to get much of a look in either and tennis is a total afterthought. Our old school (as you will recall) once boasted two superb sports fields and both directly adjacent to the school. We were rarely, if ever, allowed on the “top” field which was reserved for competitive athletics and cricket fixtures. The bottom field (down near the old gymnastics hall) has now been replaced by (I kid you not) a police station and the very same one to which cop-killer, Dale Creegan, drove to hand himself in.

    On a lighter note, although I come from a cricketing family, none of the skills seemed to rub off on me and my dodgy eyesight prevented me from excelling and when the sportsmaster shouted, “Catch the ball,” my standard reply would be, “Which one, sir?”

    PS A small claim to fame. My father’s cousin played Test cricket for England for several years and famously “caught” The Don (Sir Donald Bradman) in a Test Match in Brisbane but the old man refused to walk and got away with it.

    Reply

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