Chairman’s XI v. England

The Poms take the field

It’s summer here in Australia, which means the boys of summer have come out to play. The smell of fresh cut grass and the sound of the bats make Drew and Ashley feel right at home. There’s only one small problem: there’s no baseball. Instead, we’ve both fallen hard for Cricket.

We’ve posted here before about watching Cricket but this is the first time we’ve gotten to see it live.  The English national team is in Australia for their annual series (known as “The Ashes”). In between matches, the English team is touring Australia.  It was our good fortune that they decided to stop in Alice and play a two day match against a squad of hand picked Aussies not already on the national team.

Both days (Friday and Saturday) were lovely. The weather was hot but not unbearably so and there was a pleasant breeze blowing across the oval. The town council put up a bunch of sunshades all over the place. There was some talk that the heat would impact the English team’s performance and that certainly seemed to be the case on Friday. By the lunch break (2hrs. of playing), England had put up just 71 runs. For those of you not familiar with cricket, that’s slow. As a comparison, the Aussies put up 56  in their first hour of batting on Saturday.  The Brits bounced back at bit in the afternoon but declared for 212 after 6 hours.  The crowd was pretty small since it was a work day but everyone was excited to see the the start of the match.

A side note here. As one might expect, British cricket fans travel as well as English soccer fans. The traveling fans are known as the Barmy Army. No idea why.  They are following the team around Australia during the Ashes.  They were pretty quiet on Friday but livened up Saturday.  They start every match by singing “Jerusalem” and then follow it up with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” after every out.   While I wanted to see some cricket hooligans, none showed up which was for the best.

Watching cricket is a lot like watching baseball.  You sit in the sun/shade, drink overpriced cheap beer, and eat fried food.  Going to the games is great because there’s no talking heads.  Cricket announcers are much worse than ones in America since there’s so much dead air.  It’s the opposite of baseball in that if teams are hitting, the game feels fast. Even if the game is going quickly, players still have time to sign autographs and stretch. All in all, it is definitely a nice way to spend a Saturday.  We’ve got lots of pictures of bowlers, batsman, and other crickety things here.

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