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Australia 2010/11

England Win the Ashes

By England Cricket Sportnetwork
June 8 2012

In 2010, we were very fortunate to be part of the tour down under, which was to see England win on Australian soil. Whilst most of the talk and memories were of the last couple of tests, we had been there and come back by that point, taking in both Adelaide and Perth....Now relive the journey on what was a momentous trip.............

I purposely left writing this article about our trip to Adelaide and Perth, until the end of the Ashes series, as I wanted to take a step back from what we had witnessed at the second test just in case it had turned into a series win and I could write more in depth about being part of a famous down under Ashes win.

On our previous trips following our great nation around the cricketing world, I had made daily notes to assist in my write up pieces, but having got carried away on a wave of emotion during England’s domination in the second test, I abandoned that plan and thought I’d wait until we’d secured the Ashes and then reflect on the enormity of what we had been part of.

Of course it had little to do with the 12 hour beer-a-thon that followed the mid-day wrapping up of an innings victory and losing everything but my marbles, but more of that later. There is no denying that the best way of trying to stay away to watch an Ashes series down under, is to try and get to watch it live.

Fortunately we have done just that for the last two now, and although it means a lot of sacrifices for a good 12 months, the rewards at the end of staying in for the best part of year, are worthy of the efforts made. Our trip four years ago was all done through the Barmy Army, mainly through not knowing what to do, so placing all our trust in the excellent organizational skills the BA were offering at the time.

Since then, we had booked our own cricket tours to the West Indies and to Cape Town, and the Barmy Army were not offering flight’s for their particular packages this time around, so the decision was made as early as February to go it alone again. Personally, I had set my heart on going to just one test, the second one in Adelaide, and then onto Melbourne for a few days, to visit a friend moving to the City, and then home again.

It wasn’t until my brother and friend who was looking to go for two more weeks than I planned, started talking about visiting America on the way out, that my thoughts changed. Within an hour we were booked to spend 4 days in Los Angeles, before flying onto Adelaide, then before the 3rd test in Perth, we would visit Melbourne for 4 days, where it just happened to be the place where England were having a warm up with Victoria, on the days we were staying.

On the initial leg, there was myself, one’s brother and close friend Kirk making the journey from the outset. Initially my plan was to leave the other two, and fly home from Melbourne, but having took part in some tough negotiations at work, I had secured another weeks holiday, and could now take in Perth, even though it would only be the first couple of days before flying home on the morning of the third day. Not ideal I thought, but better than the original plan.

The fact the extension to the holiday cost just as much as the original seemed to be lost on me, as the joy of spending some more time at the Ashes took over everything else. We had originally been due to fly on the new Airbus double decker plane from LA to Australia, with Qantas, but arriving home one day to see one all over the news with a hole in one of its engines, didn’t exactly fill us all with confidence.

aus8.jpgThe half a dozen the airline had in service were all withdrawn, meaning a run of the mill 747 would take us to Sydney, for our connecting flight onto Adelaide. Rather strangely, the yanks decided not to cover the 1st test, so we had to make do with internet updates of the 2nd part of the Brisbane test. We had half expected us to be one down by the time we reached Adelaide, but for Cook and Trott to break many a record in reaching 517-1 only wetted the anticipation of where we were heading, all the more. It was just my look I would end up sitting next to a Aussie on the flight over from the US of A, but despite the usual talk of previous thrashings in his native country, he did acknowledge that this time around, we could actually beat the baggy greens.

Of course there was no mention of the ridiculous score in the 4th innings at the Gabba, we English don’t like to gloat just in case it all goes tits up later in the series. An early morning stop off in Sydney to wait for the connection to Adelaide enabled us to reflect on just how much extra the trip was going to cost, thanks to the ever increasing rate of the Aussie dollar against the Great British Pound. This was brought home by the buying of the first bottle of the trip, at around £6 for an average strength lager.

One of my more neglective features, is not paying too much attention to exchange rates until around a week before flying on a cricket tour, and this was to prove costly in more ways than one, on this excursion. Suddenly, the planned amount of spends, was going to have to be split out for each day, in order for it to last, that it wouldn’t in the end was probably my ignorance into not budgeting correctly, but I really should have taken in all those newspaper reports of up to £8 a pint, and expensive eating places, but I always take the view that somewhere there will be an offer to trump those prices.

The flight from LA to Sydney had taken exactly 15 and a half hours, thankfully I had been asleep for most of that time. When you think about it, it is an hideous amount of time to spend on an aircraft, and by far the most amount of time, I had done in one single journey. We arrived in Adelaide to glorious sunshine, and to the usual banter from the taxi driver, taking us to the apartments, from where we would be based.

There was a small delay, of around a couple of hours, before the flat would be ready, but luckily there was a ‘Coopers Ale’ watering hole, just a couple of leaps away from reception to Carrington Gardens, the name of the apartment block. Here, we met with a fellow Mansfield Town fan and good friend, Geoff who had been to Brisbane and Adelaide being his final resting point in Australia before flying home.

aus2.jpgAfter we had finally been let into the magnificent apartment block, and re-visited reception due to getting lost inbetween the security gates, it was into Adelaide itself to sample the delights the city had to offer us. We were informed that it took just half an hours walk to get from one end of the city to the other, so took off on foot to explore. As with all England cricket tours, the Barmy Army have designated public houses, and these provide excellent meeting points for all concerned, so what better place to head to, than PJ O’Briens, the Irish bar on the east side of Adelaide.

From the outset of our only spare day before the test started on December 3rd, this was clearly going to be booze filled your round Adelaide, and after a good few hour catching up with people we had met on previous tours, other like minded liquid serving hatches were found and marked off as being visited on Day 1 of our stay in the city. As with a lot of Public Houses in Australia, gambling is rife, so it isn’t unusual to see betting counters at each side of a pub.

In many cases, it’s a bit like standing in Ladbrookes in the UK, and drinking a pint, it does take some getting used to. On average, we were paying around the £6 equivelent for a pint, and it was clearly going to be a very expensive trip this one. So much so, that I decided to divide all my spending money, into around 120 dollars per day (£100 to me and you).

That might sound like a lot, but with an food, beer and general living to pay for, it wasn’t going to go far. I worked on the idea that some days I would more than likely have so left over, so could roll that over for the next day spending. Hopefully this tactic wouldn’t see me ringing home after five days or so, and begging for some money transfers to take place. The day was very laid back, with some good banter between a lot of England cricket supporters, and more than willing to give some back, local Australian’s.

That led us into the whole reason of coming I guess, and the opening day of the second test match, at the Adelaide Oval! After rising nice and early, and taking in the beautiful morning scene, it was off we went, deciding to first make the longish walk to the nearest tram stop, as we had heard that travel in the city centre was free of charge. However, there appeared to not be very many trams running, even with the start of the test match just a couple of hours away. Seeing as we were just half an hour from the other end of the city, which is where the Adelaide Oval was situated, we took to pounding the streets, picking up the odd bottle of water along the way, as the heat was continuing to rise.

aus5.jpgThe anticipation and excitement was written on all those walking up to the ground. We knew the first few days had sold out, so a terrific atmosphere was guaranteed. We had tickets for the first four days, all for the huge grass banking under the massive scoreboard. Luckily we were there early enough to do down towels and sit just on the edge of the walk through, but near enough under the scoreboard. Most of the talk around the ground, was not of the cricket that was about to unfold, but the failed Football World Cup bids of both England and Australia, and how Fifa had well and truly snitched us both up.

As the day was to wore on however, we were to regret our positioning, as I had totally forgotten the warnings, about the rowdy home element gathering just behind us, and generally not being able to take their watered down ale. That was for later though, as Ricky Ponting had won the toss, and had no hesitation in batting first under cloudless skies, and some 30 odd degrees heat.

Thank god for our early entry into the ground, for what happened in the first half hour will live with me for a very long time, the upmost drama and most amazing start to a test I had seen in live play. Watson decided to go for a silly run in Anderson’s first over, and Trott threw down the stumps to run Katich out, and if that wasn’t enough, Ponting edged Anderson to Swann first ball, and was caught.

The atmosphere on the hill was electric and went up a further notch when Clarke edged Anderson to the same slip fielder. The Aussies were crying already, with the England support in raptures at what was going on, here we had the home side 2-3, quite an amazing start to this second test.

aus1.jpgThings were to calm down in the middle, although the Aussies around us, didn’t unfortunately, and by lunch I was already looking for elsewhere to stand and watch the action. Despite somewhat of a recovery (94-3 at the interval), the crowd was still buzzing from that opening few hours, some were late in getting in, and had missed it!

I did manage to find a nice looking fountain out on the grass at the back of one of the stands, during the lunch interval, and sat in it to cool off with a nice lager, which by the way was around £6.50 in pricing structure. The steward looking after the crowds at the back of the stand, was none too impressed with a few fans being ‘dunked’ into the fountain and vowed that the feature would be closed for the remainder of the test, spoilsport!

As the heat increased, there was no let up on the grass banking under the scoreboard, with plenty of loud mouth aussies trying to goad the English, but despite one or two unsavoury comments, generally the atmosphere was ok.

England were still chipping away at the wickets out in the middle, and despite Mr Cricket, Mike Hussey trying to hold up our progress, a flurry of wickets were just around the corner.

From 207-5, the home side were to subside to 245 all out, we put it down to Swanny forcing an edge from Hussey when he was well placed on 93. A half century from Haddin, which at one point had us all fearing a Brisbane style massacre between the pair, also provided some cheer for the tanked up home supporters.

Still, with a long tail, as I said, once Hussey was gone, the rest folded, and we were left to celebrate being in control of the second test, and maybe the series. England did have to face a few balls, and Ponting still had time to have a moan at Strauss as the players left the field, but it wasn’t going to put us off heading back to the Barmy Army designated pub and sharing the days thoughts with plenty of others.

An absorbing first days play, dominated by reducing the top order to 2-3, truly outstanding to witness! I was also quite pleased with the queues for a beverage, around 10 minutes I put it at, which for a sold out crowd of 30,000+ is quite good.

One other good point on the crowd, was that the capacity was set at 34,000, yet when the attendance figure was splashed on the screen during the afternoon play, it said just over 38,000. They looked to have squeezed a few extra onto the grass banking, all relatively safe may I add though, but it did supply a titter or two amongst the English supporters.

After another pretty heavy night, it was surprising that we got up at all for the second days play, but given that England could make a real marker for the rest of the series, spurred us on, and we still managed to get into the ground before even the players!

Still, it enabled us to pick exactly where we wanted to perch ourselves for the day, well away from the drunken locals was a good a place as any. All of our tickets for each day, were on the hill, so this time we chose the other side of the scoreboard. It promised to be another scorcher, and even at around 9 in the morning, I was starting to sweat a little, so a pint or two in the shade first up, was definitely on the menu.

Onto the important business (not that me heading to the bar during the day, isn’t important of course) out on the field. Talk in the Aussie media, was that the home side shamed themselves on the opening day, and that England were about to rack up a massive score to really hammer home the advantage.

aus4.jpgThe atmosphere was no less so on this second day, with the English enjoying the position the team had put themselves in. By the time the players came out, the hill was packed again, and Strauss and Cook had the nations hopes on their shoulders. Unfortunately, the captain shouldered arms to ‘Dug The Rug’ and was cleaned bowled early on, but Trotty and Cooky looked as though they were going to build another Brisbane type partnership to rescue the situation.

Trott fell short of his century, but Cook carried on like a man possessed, and with KP chipping in with 85no at the end of day, England were in total command at the close, on 317-2. In truth, I wilted slightly as the day wore on, and had to take refuge in the shade for much of the final session. When I say shade, I mean the local bar taken over by the England support, purely to keep tabs with the goings on inside the ground. Don’t despair those who struggle to get tickets, I always make a point of handing over my ticket stub to anyone hanging around outside, waiting for any lightweight to come out early.

Still, amazingly, the bar was still packed with plenty of English support, many of whom had simply come to experience the atmosphere of an environment of friendliness and general good times, and not bothering or unable to get tickets into the ground. So in essence, I was in good company, and whilst I waited for the rest of my party to join me, it was a few xxx’s and a laugh and appreciation on how England were grounding down the Aussies.

During the tea interval, I even managed to head back to the hotel complex and partake in a little swim, just to cool down, but not for too long mind! The evening, followed much the same pattern as the opening night, with England dominating, many were already celebrating the fact that we ought to win from here.

The city bars were still heaving from people coming back from the Adelaide Oval, so it felt a little strange to be heading in the opposite direction to them. The purpose of which, was to see what the Adelaide Casino had in store, which was situated at the other side of the park to the cricket ground. Another enjoyable evening, which was becoming a little bit of a habit in truth! I was once again, none to with it at the start of Day 3, but I had a real determination to make the entire days play at the cricket, given the position England were now in.

Out went the crappy McDonald’s breakfasts that I had indulged in for the opening two days, and in came some beans on toast at nice little café overlooking the huge park, that separated the Adelaide Oval from the rest of the City. With England resuming some 70 odd runs in front, and still having eight wickets left, we just had this feeling that we were going to bat all day long, and really put the Aussies firmly in the ground.

KP raced to a century which sparked mass celebrations on the grass banking under the scoreboard, and even though Cook went for 148, Collingwood and Bell stayed around long enough for Pietersen to reach a double ton, he really must love this ground, having scored a big hundred four years ago.

The English support was in full voice at the back end of the day, with the home support dwindling as play neared the end. Shame that rain came late on, but it did provide a good hours entertainment, which you may not have seen at home. Contrary to what happens at some grounds in the UK, mentioning no names (Headingley!), the stewards actually encourage the fans to enjoy themselves.

So on came the music, cranked up to full volume, and the sight of around 6-7,000 English (and Australians to be fair) all dancing round to ‘singing in the rain’, was a joy and a favourite part of mine, of the entire test match. There were beer snakes, and general good humoured frolicking around as the rain came down and the music played, it certainly encouraged us to stay longer than we would have done, given that the players were not to return and England closed on 551-4, with KP still unbeaten on 213.

It was superb batting from Pietersen, and one of his best ever innings, and the joy on his face as he rushed home for his double century, fists pumping to the English supporters, will stay with me whilst I continue to watch this amazing sport. A much quieter evening was in order for the night time, in order to let the body recover in time for what we all hoped would be a party to end all parties, should England go on and win the test match. It meant I could be up and raring to go for Day 4, and an England declaration would be the first thing to be reached.

KP didn’t last much longer in the morning, but still made his highest test score, and was given a rousing reception from the English supporters as he left the field. He had featured in the fourth successive century stand of the innings, this time with him and Bell, something we were told had only been achieved only twice before in the history of test cricket.

There then followed some carnage from Bell and Prior as they smashed the ball to all parts, leaving Strauss to declare the innings on 620-5, which was a huge score, but on the Aussies own patch as well. We all knew that it would be more difficult to bowl the Aussies out the second time around, and there was some talk of a lot of rain coming on the final day, but we all enjoyed England battering the fielders round, so who was complaining about the timing of the declaration.

After a bit of racy start from the Australian openers, Strauss was soon turning to Swanny to weave his magic, and although it didn’t happen straight away, he took the wicket of Katich, and then not long after, the prize wicket of Ponting, which sparked a few celebrations from the standing English support on the hill. “Swann, will tear you apart again” was sung over and over, as the twirler looked to brush aside any resistance.

It was Finn that accounted for Watson, who likes to score a half century then get out, just as he did here again, but the darkening skies soon had the players running for cover, and the talk intensified about how the Aussies were going to escape with a draw from this.

Like fools, we decided that play had done for the day, so headed off, only to make it back to PJ O’Briens, to be told the players were out again, still it was too late to head back, so we settled for watching the last moments of the day in the bar.

As it approached the last over of the day, the six o clock news took over, and the footage was cut, only for the pub to erupt with news that KP had took the wicket of Clarke, and the Aussies were four wickets down. I was disappointed to have missed the moment, as I know how mental things would have been inside the ground. I took comfort from the fact the come tomorrow, I could see my maiden England victory abroad, at the fourth time of asking.

aus10.jpgI was still comforting myself several hours later, and though it best to head off for a few hours kip, ready for what could be an epic final day of the test match. We awoke on the final day of the test match full of hope, little did I know that it would turn into the best day out at cricket that I had experienced. For this day, we had to nip to the ticket office at the side of the ground and purchase a ticket, we were there in plenty of time before anyone else, but we shouldn’t have worried as the Aussie supporters failed to show, leaving around 90% of the 8,500 crowd all English, with the majority on the hill and at long last, we had managed to take over the section right under the scoreboard.

Again, a lot of the talk was about the rain coming later, but we were hopeful that KP’s wicket last night had left the Aussies fearing the worst. It took until just the sixth over the day to snare Mr Cricket, and from that moment on, you just knew it wouldn’t take long for England to wrap it up.

I remember looking at the big screen at the replay, and smiling as the England fans behind Anderson taking the catch, all went absolutely mental. There was a brief moment when Anderson was looking to take an Ashes hat trick, and at that point we were too busy jumping up and down to see just how many wickets we still needed. By the time Swann started turning the ball and whizzing through the tail end, the party had started in the stands, songs, beer and dancing were the order the day, and as Swann turned to the Barmy Army to celebrate cleaning up Siddle, the party was in full swing.

The Aussies had been bowled out for just 304, leaving England to win by an innings and 71 runs, just about the complete performance as you could get. We stayed around to savour the win, and listen to the presentations, but the cue for a City wide party was when the fans filtered back out of the ground.


Bar one or two abusive points by the home contingent, which wasn’t going to ruin our joy of seeing an England win on Aussie soil, the walk back to the Barmy Army bar, went pretty quickly. By the time we got back, the place was heaving to capacity, with plenty of people either queing or climbing on the outdoor benches.

There then followed what can only be described as a bit of a bash, a party, a celebration. Call it what you will, I think it’s best summed up by the bar running out of all beers by 7pm. Given the cricket had only lasted two hours in the morning, and we had been in the place by half 12, this was some feat. All bottles were snapped up, and emergency supplies were drafted in.

The expected rain turned up late afternoon, and boy did it rain! Supporters were dancing in the floods outside, and we took the chance to visit other parts of the city late on, just as the bar was having to be re-stocked. Everywhere we visited, saw England supporters enjoying themselves and causing no bother, just celebrating a wonderful day for being generally English! I managed to break the camera in the process, but it didn’t matter, everything was worth all the money in the world.

My budget was blown to pieces, as everything I had rolling over to Perth was spent just on this one day, I hope to experience this again, because it was amazing to be in the middle of. Totally blocked out of our mind, was the fact we were leaving Adelaide in the morning, driving (!!) down the great ocean road, and onto Melbourne, via a stopover half way down.

We had met up with a friend from home on Day 2 in Adelaide, Aaron, who was emigrating to Melbourne, and along with George and Charlie (famed for selling merchandise), the plan was to drive to Warrnambool for a stay overnight.

Very short straws were drawn on the morning of setting off, given the very heavy session the day before. It was probably a blessing that the game had finished early, as I think my cash had run out around midnight. We were on the road in good time and making our way down to Warrnambool, given it was around a seven hour journey, there would be plenty of stops along the way, great another chance to be abused by the locals. We did a couple of stop offs for a quick small beer or so, and were met favourably by the locals, although it was nothing compared to the first public house in Warrnambool, where the locals insisted the brought us the first few rounds of drinks.

It was like we were the first set of travellers to set foot in the place for a generation, but it was a warm welcome feeling and made it a good start to a night that was different to any other that we had experienced on the holiday so far. From there, we moved onto Melbourne, where of course England were playing a warm up match during the four days that we would staying there.

During the journey on the second stage of the great ocean road, most of the group managed to get themselves into the local media frenzy surrounding a tour involving Opera Winfrey. For those that don’t know, Melbourne can see all four changing seasons of weather in just one day, and on the opening day of the warm up game, it was very cold. So much so, that we really didn’t bother to stay long, just take a few pictures here and there, and then move to much warmer parts, indoors!

aus7.jpgI absolutely love Melbourne as a city, it has a town sort of feel, without being too crowded, and the people are so laid back it’s ridiculous. It’s easy to get round, and has the 2nd biggest casino in the world, so I am of course in my element. We were due to the go along to the Melbourne derby football match over the weekend, but I had hurt my back, and was told to rest up for 24 hours, and the rest of them all missed the kick off, so that was a non-starter.

All in all, another excellent four days, but Perth awaited us, and because I booked differently to everyone else, I had to take a very early flight from Melbourne, on one’s own and wait at the other end for my brother and Kirk. I arrived pretty early in the morning, and must have had around 6 or so hours to explore the city by myself. I had no clue as to where the apartment would be, so after a quick fried breakfast stop, an Internet café was sought, so I could gather my bearings.

Perth was a bigger than Adelaide, I would even go as far as twice the size but that’s just me, but the main parts of the City are generally all pretty close together. It has a beautiful river at the south point of the city, and the Barmy Army had managed to rent out ‘the lucky shag’ right on the edge of the river, so that was a good point to wait until the apartment was ready.

The beer prices were indeed as reported in the national papers prior to the series starting (around £7 for house beers), so this was clearly going to be the most expensive leg of the tour. We had a full three days (including my flight day) before the start of the test, and although I was flying back on the morning of the third day of this test match, I wanted to cram in as much as possible in the days I had remaining.

A very full on wine tour day was organized where we had the luxury of spending it in a pink limo and despite the soaring temperatures, a thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, although the last stop at a chocolate factory did upset a Birmingham couple, as I insisted on playing with the chocolate buttons and stamping my feet until I had finished my ice cream.

I was determined to get my money’s worth, and no one was going to get in my way, especially with free chocolate on offer!

The day of the test arrived, and it was a fairly decent size walk to the ground, in very hot weather may I add. It would be unfair of me to comment much about the game, given I would be leaving it after just two days, and heading home. I have to admit at being spoilt by the Adelaide Oval, for once we entered the Wacca in Perth, I was massively disappointed.

aus6.jpgThe ground is built in a residential part of Perth, with little room for development, and to be honest, it was too cramped. Admittingly we were on one of the grass verge’s but there was no room at all at the back of the stands, and the queue for refreshments was a bit too much to bear. I thought to myself pretty early on during the opening days play, that I was probably glad not to be here for the whole five days.

In fairness, it was also a good choice, given how the match panned out as well. England were ripping through the Aussies on the opening morning after putting them in once Strauss had won the toss, with Tremlett looking like a World Beater. The catch that Collingwood took at slip (or maybe it was gully, I was going too mad to remember!) was right in front of where we had sat down, and it was fantastic to see this live. Ponting was having all the bad luck in the series, but what a catch to get rid of the Aussie captain!

The fact the Ausssies managed to rally with their lower order, took a little bit of the gloss off, but 268 all out was still England being in control of some sorts. We had them 62-5, but England managed to close on 29-0 so I reckon we would take that, and there was a lot of happy faces as we walked back at the side of the river from the ground. Much of a heavy heart on day 2 of this test match, as I knew it was going to be my last (or so I thought!) of an epic holiday and a superb cricket following period, even if I’d only done one full test match.

I did end up going quite late to the ground, as I wanted to sample some last morning moments of Australia, given I had a silly morning flight the day after. By the time I had switched the ear piece on, near to the Wacca, England had gone from 78-0 to 98-4 in no time.

aus3.jpgJohnson suddenly found that he could actually bowl on the right wicket, and was tearing up England, who ended up 187 all out, leaving the Aussies right back in the series. It was too much for me, who couldn’t bear to have my final day ruined by gloating Australians, so I thought sod it around tea time, and took one last long stroll back to the river pub and waited for the others to return. A more sombre night as the Australian’s finished on 119-3, well ahead of the game after just two days.

My consolation on this final night, was that I had witnessed Adelaide, had the time of my life, and even though I was going home some 4 days before by Bro and Kirk, they had to put up with Australia winning this test match and living with the gloating locals. Off I went to the airport, and another 4 hour flight back to Melbourne. Some may think this daft, but after all, Melbourne was where my original flight home was going from, and Perth was the extension, but I managed to meet up with Aaron for lazy afternoon, before a midnight flight onto Hong Kong and then Heathrow.

It was around this time, that the heavy snow had hit back home, but after checking the weather forecasts, and airport updates, all seemed fine. That was until we were five hours out of Hong Kong, and the pilot announced that Heathrow had been closed again, and no other European Airport could be able to take some 300 extra holed up passengers, and that we would need to return to Hong Kong airport.

It took around 5 minutes to sink in with everyone on board, that yes we had been flying for five hours, so that meant another five going back to where had just changed flights….mmm ten hours flight time, and we hadn’t actually gone anywhere.

To be fair to Qantas, within one hour of landing, they had stuck us on some coaches, and we were heading to the most glorious of five star hotels where we were to receive an update. In truth, a group of us had probably got on the ‘first class’ coach, as there is no way economy passengers would have been put up in the establishment that we landed at.

I was expecting to have a matress in a conference room or something, but we all had separate rooms, that had double beds, mini bars and massive TV. We were all told to go and enjoy dinner on the house, along with a few beverages. Not wanting to feel left out, I duly obliged and woke up with the hangover next morning, to find a letter from Qantas, telling passengers they could now in future only drink one beer with their meals, damn! The service we received over the next four days, whilst waiting to get to England, was outstanding, and I felt moved enough to thank Qantas when I returned to the UK.

All the time this was going on, my Bro and Kirk had returned as scheduled to the UK with no delays, and I ended up flying back to Manchester via Dubai, some 12 hours after they had landed. Quite ironic that I had set off some 4 days earlier! Still, it was an unexpected end to a superb holiday, and just finished it off beautifully.

Of course, England went onto clinch the series, with two amazing showings at the MCG and in Sydney, if only I could have been there for those two as well, still we can’t do them all I suppose!

I still keep looking at the pictures from all of the different legs of the trip, it was a world tour all crammed into the space of a few weeks, but you bet I would do it all again tomorrow if I could afford to.

Administrator - England Cricket Sportnetwork

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