Impossibly humiliatingly awfully arse-achingly bad

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Well I hope you all had a better Christmas than I did. Not only did I miss out on turkey for the first time in my life - oh what I would have given to be back home for mum's turkey and fighting over the crispy skin with my sister - but I ended up in some dodgy Chinese restaurant in St. Kilda with Wigan Rob and some fat Geordie from the hostel on the coldest Christmas Day on record (OK, it was 14C but it was still blimmin' cold). Despite this we had the thought of the Boxing Day Test ahead where there was much to play for at the magnificent MCG. Once again they were high and very misplaced hopes.

The last two Tests over Christmas and New Year were always going to be the most popular for England fans to travel to. Given the hype and booked months in advance in the likelihood that the series would still be alive it was not surprising to see the streets of Melbourne awash with fat, bald, white - but soon to be pink - Englishmen wearing football shirts and singing. Maybe I'm a bit of snob, but unfortunately the success of the last Ashes series has attracted lots of Johnny Come Latelys who claim to be cricket fans but really don't know a googly from a Chinaman and have only come out here to drink in the sun and pretend to be on a football terrace.

A perfect example of this was on Day 2 when I was sitting near a TV camera behind the bowler's arm. A fat Brummie with bad teeth and an England one-day top stretched over his corpulent gut - but not stretched enough to hide the 'muffin tops' falling out over the Yves Saint Laurent chav shorts - climbed down the row of seats to offer the cameraman money if he put him on the telly. Declining the money but recognising a comedy moment when he saw it, he swung the camera round where upon Fatty grinned gormlessly and gave the thumbs-up. He then declared triumphantly: "I don't care if we lose 5-0 now." He nearly got lynched before scurrying off for another meat pie.

The game itself was shambolic. Day One brought rain showers and chilly winds and for some reason we decided to bat after winning the toss. This decision was met by a mighty cheer from the crowd as it meant that local hero Shane Warne would bowl and probably get his world record 700th Test wicket before retiring after Sydney. (A quick note about this: six of those wickets were in that ridiculous 'Super Test' last year against a totally disinterested World XI that the ICC deemed an official fixture, so really he came into the game on 693, not 699.) So in his last Test on his home ground the podgy sex-pest inevitably took his 700th - although it really came in the second innings.

So the five day game was finished on only the third day with a totally demoralised England being comprehensively thumped. We weren't helped by some horrible umpiring decisions but it was still a pitiful performance. Such was my anticipation of this game that way back at the bottom of Entry 27 of this blog I wrote that I wouldn't mind being at the MCG on Boxing Day 2006 - and that was way before the amazing Ashes win in 2005. For some reason all I can say now is that I wouldn't mind being here on Boxing Day 2010.

So now it's off to Sydney for New Year's Eve with my mate Paul and the Birks' from home for the final Test on January 2nd. I think we'll have those bloody Aussies this time!
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