All the hype was that England would retain the Ashes easily, having beaten the Aussies in England 3- 0 in the summer. A whitewash was anticipated.
Well, it happened, only the Aussies beat England 5-0. We were disastrous....they slaughtered us.....we deserved to lose ! So by the time we joined what was left of the rabble gaggle Barmy army, there had been no joy for England.
Mitchell Johnson's bowling was incredible.....and our batsmen never really got started....and then Graham Swan went home, and the rest of our bowlers ...well, just, never found their form.
Oh well, that's the way it goes. The Ashes were lost.
We went to the WACA expecting defeat......and determined to enjoy the occasion, the atmosphere, the company, ( we went with friends) and the beautiful Perth sunshine.
Amazingly... We won. Out of all 12 matches played during the tour, it was England's only victory.....but we were there. The Aussies surrounding us in the crowd didn't mind us beating them at all... They felt sorry for us ! Most conversations we had with fans took the view that it's all swings and roundabouts and it just happened to be the Aussies turn to win this year. Banter was friendly, and as we have always found, both sides appreciated good play, no matter which side was involved.
Stuart Broad, however, took some serious flak from the Aussie crowds. After he failed " to walk" when he was out at a key point in a match last summer, he has become to butt of Aussie "sledging". Stuart Broad seemed to relish the chants and boos that went around the ground whenever he bowled, fielded or batted. The chants were pretty damning at Perth, but less crude at the 20/20 matches where a more family orientated crowd attended. At Perth, " Broady is a wanker" could be heard very clearly and very loudly every time he was the focus of attention.
We arrived at the beautiful Hobart ground, right next to the beach, hoping for great things... And we saw great things. The England women's team played to a much smaller crowd than the men.... But won their match and retained the Ashes. Needless to say it did not make as much news as a men's victory would have done.
Both the women's team, and the men, were staying at the same hotel as us in Hobart. It was a little disturbing to get out of the lift on one occasion to meet some of our incredibly tall England male team. The hotel staff said they loved having the teams staying, and they were all lovely ! I guess the days of Freddy Flintoff's antics are over.
The men's 20/20 was good fun.... Dancers, clowns, trampolinists, kids wearing KFC buckets on their heads and lots of people enjoying themselves as they watched a close match.....which we lost again, despite Ravi Bopara's best efforts.
Hobarts ground is beautiful, right next to the beach....and with a capacity of 13,500..... A little different from our final cricket experience.
The MCG in Melbourne holds 100,000, and there were 60,000 at the 20/20 match we attended.
The ground is spectacular, the crowd was huge, and the cricket was awful. It was a completely one sided match and England just looked as if they couldnt wait to leave the pitch. We found out that they actually flew out of Australia and headed back to the UK straight after the match, not even waiting for the next day.
A model of the MCG, in the brilliant sport museum that is part of the ground
My Melbourne photos are still awaiting transfer.......so this is all II can manage today !
So....cricket wise, not good.....experience wise......fabulous. We sat with some great Aussie fans.... One lad I sat next to in Hobart made me laugh when he said to me
" Stuart Broad may be able to run... But he can't walk. "
I suppose my indifference to them winning or losing ( I suppose, honestly, I do prefer them to win), means I am not a real fan...... I just enjoy the chess like aspects of the match.....not so apparent in the 20/20 format, and I love the crowds.
I am sure we will continue to combine travelling with cricket... It helps us make decisions about where to go. Mark is talking about the West Indies next year..... I think I could cope with that .