Do the collapse (again): Adelaide Ashes Test, 3rd to 10th December 2013

As originally posted on my Tumblr site just after the events of each Ashes Test in 2013/14 – and it looks like I was already starting to be resigned to a disappointing England performance from the very first line…  Cricinfo match scorecard here

Second main city then, second crushing defeat in the cricket. I’m writing this blog en route to Perth, where for the benefit of non-cricket obsessives, England pretty much never win (and was the only place we lost when beating the Aussies 3-1 three years ago, which is seeming a long time ago now). But enough of that doom and gloom, what about Addo itself? Well, although it actually doesn’t seem the liveliest of places – not that surprising for a place nicknamed the “city of churches” – looking back on my week here, there was quite a lot to get up to, while also mainly managing to keep away from the Barmy Army when not at the cricket. Also, I caught up a fair bit with my old work colleague Simon during the week, who was out here with his brother-in-law Colin to catch the cricket, so it’s been good to have some comrades to also dissect each day’s painful play with and more besides.

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Lovely ground, shame about the result – at the Adelaide Oval…

The city of Adelaide seems OK, a pleasant enough place, while South Australia seems a little more sedate than Queensland, as this state prides itself on never having been a penal colony – how high falutin’ eh? Overall, I did enjoy my time here but also do have the feeling that I’m really getting ready for Melbourne and Sydney and I think it’s good that I’m going there at the end of the trip, not the start. One observation from going out in most places around Adelaide was that it seemed that there was a complete absence of anybody in their thirties (or late twenties or forties come to that): a quick stroll around on Friday or Saturday night would lead one to conclude that Adelaide consists exclusively of dodgy bars catering to teenagers, playing lowest common denomination David Guetta style chart-rave, or restaurants populated by over-50s. Of course, a bit more dedication leads one to seek out other options, so for example I managed to find some comforting Japanese noise rock in the form of Guitar Wolf at the Enigma Bar on the Saturday night (see picture below) which did boast a more usual cross-section of ages. Following this, I also went to a really odd place called the Rosemont Hotel, a sort of cross between a working man’s club, William Hill and a Las Vegas bar, which has about 50 screens showing all kinds of sport, including all “EPL” games, so nicely packed early on a Sunday morning, showing all the Saturday afternoon kick-offs.

Guitar Wolf

Guitar Wolf at the Enigma Bar in Adelaide, slightly more intimate than when I saw them at Matador Records’ 21st anniversary festival in Las Vegas 3 years before. Highly entertaining Japanese noise rock – as if the only bands they’d ever heard are the Stooges, Ramones, MC5 and the Mary Chain

I also took in some less stressful sport by going to watch an A-League football game on Friday too: Adelaide United v table topping Brisbane Roar at the Coopers Stadium. Adelaide sadly blew a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1, not helped by a truly comical own goal that won the game for the Roar. We were intrigued to see what the standard would be like and I think the general consensus was maybe League One, although there was some good build-up play in parts, especially in the first half, but a real lack of cutting edge from both sides. Still, always nice to be able to drink a beer while watching a live football match. I also got to sample some great South Australian hospitality on the Sunday night when an old local colleague of Simon’s named Eric invited us to his house for dinner, with the promise of a good bit of steak (which was very much the case). An enjoyable night away from the hordes, plus I was very impressed by Eric’s den out the back, with pool table, darts board and bar, plus sporting merchandise including a signed Donald Bradman bat and Muhammed Ali boxing gloves. For any Pub Olympians reading, this place would be an ideal venue for a future event but may be a little far away, I do concede.

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View from another (less stressful) sporting occassion: Adelaide United 1 Brisbane Roar 2 at the Coopers Stadium in the A-League

I was also pleasantly surprised by finding a pretty good (and surprisingly busy) boozer on the Monday night, always the worst night to go out, namely the Grace Emily. After a quick hour’s cricket in the morning confirmed England’s loss, I was in a mood to drown my sorrows later that evening, so it was good to find somewhere open and actually populated by quite a few people. Also got into some good music chat with Simon and Colin there, including one of my usual favourite conversations: slaughtering musical sacred cows (e.g. “I see your Beatles and raise you Bob Marley”). The Grace Emily still seemed to be going strong when I stumbled out some time after 2am, with a cover of “Money For Nothing” by the band playing proving too much to take; a choice of song I think only Australia would offer in such a setting.

But I’m sure there was some other reason I was in Adelaide? Ah yes, the Ashes cricket. Well, as with the Brisbane Test, another promising first day came to nothing with yet another England collapse. Mitchell Johnson’s bowling in the first innings was truly spectacular and as a cricket lover has to be applauded, but England dropping catches, fumbling run-out chances and throwing away various wickets when it was time to knuckle down doesn’t help either. Still, at least some positive signs in our second innings (most notably Joe Root’s gutsy 87) but by then it was far too late. Adelaide Oval itself is a highly impressive ground, in the midst of redevelopment but still keeping some of its character, with the old scoreboard and some of the nearby green mound there remaining. As well as sitting in your allocated seats, you can watch the cricket really well from the concourse behind, which I did for half the fourth day, along with some Aussies and enjoyed some good gallows humour as we tried in vain to save the game (“mate, you only need 399 to win now, that sounds much easier than 400” etc etc). The third day England batting collapse really did seem like the day we lost the Ashes, but we are clinging onto them for at least another week. With Perth to come however, I think Australia will be reclaiming them before Christmas. I’m just hoping for some better performances and closer matches after that – one consolation of going to all 5 games is that I will be there should this happen, so it won’t seem like I picked the wrong matches to attend.

One thought on “Do the collapse (again): Adelaide Ashes Test, 3rd to 10th December 2013

  1. Pingback: My Ashes diaries from Australia: 2013/14 | NLTFC: No Longer Teenage Fan Club

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