USA 2011 Chapter 1 – Dallas and Russell Osman Square

As originally posted on my Tumblr site while travelling around the USA in 2011…

So, first stop after leaving London saw me heading to Dallas for a couple of days. Starting things off well, I had a beauty of a journey over, with a free upgrade on the plane waiting for me at the gate as I boarded; surely a good start to any trip. First night in Dallas then involved some brief exploring and a light drink before reality set in as I realised it was actually about 2am UK time and I’d probably had about five hours kip in about two days.


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Sydney Five-oh: Sydney Ashes Test, 3rd to 5th January 2014

The last of my Ashes diaries as originally posted on my Tumblr site just after the events of each Test in 2013/14 – as with Melbourne, this is a summarised version of my time in Sydney (and therefore fairly short with this Test not lasting 3 days).  Cricinfo match scorecard here

[After originally blogging about Sydney itself I then finally asked myself this tough next question…]: But hang on. Wasn’t there some other reason I went to Sydney? Oh yes, the fifth Test at the SCG. Despite the terrible performances in the preceding four Tests, this was the nadir with it being all over in 3 days this time, which at least gave me more time to explore Sydney, plus I do get a refund for my fourth day ticket too, so that is at least something. As ever with England, there was a bit of hope on the first day, as Australia were reduced to 97-5 just after lunch on day one before the inevitable Brad Haddin plus one other (in this case Steve Smith) show saved them before various batting collapses from England – and these two innings from England were the worst of the tour for various reasons I won’t go into now. As for positives, it was good to go to the SCG, although I was a little underwhelmed compared to the majesty of Melbourne’s MCG and actually think I prefer the Adelaide Oval too. Also, I did feel for the couple sat next to me, who had come over just for the Sydney Test. At least by going to all 5 Tests, I guaranteed I would be there for the approximately 6 sessions that we won in the entire series, as well as the best day (day 2 at the MCG).

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The Sydney Cricket Ground’s iconic pavilions

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From despair to where? (er, Sydney actually): Melbourne Ashes Test, 26th to 31st December 2013

As originally posted on my Tumblr site just after the events of each Ashes Test in 2013/14 – this is a summarised version of my time in Melbourne focusing mainly on my cricket watching rather than other adventures there.  Cricinfo match scorecard here

So, I’ll say this straight up – England’s defeat in Melbourne was probably the hardest of all so far to take, as this was a game we should (or certainly could) have won, unlike the first 3 Tests where we were comprehensively outplayed. The changing nature of the Test did however at least mean this was a contest and Friday (day 2 of the Test) was a superb, unforgettable day all round. Then came Saturday unfortunately. But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start with Boxing Day first.

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Boxing day at the MCG

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Hot Burritos #1 and #2: Perth Ashes Test, 11th to 18th December 2013

As originally posted on my Tumblr site just after the events of each Ashes Test in 2013/14 – now only 3 Tests in and the Ashes have already been surrendered…  Cricinfo match scorecard here

Perth, Perth: where do it all go wrong? After a very enjoyable first day in Western Australia, it all went downhill from there really. So, let’s start at the beginning then. My first full day in Perth at least was highly enjoyable – pretty hot but not too bad and helped by a relaxing cruise down the Swan River, with a cricket function later, where I heard from luminaries such as Graham Gooch and Glenn McGrath, before then heading to the nearby town of Fremantle to see a gig by Pond (great psych rock band, actually from Perth, who also play in the slightly better known Tame Impala), who were superb, and in a pretty good venue too, sort of like a halfway mix between the Garage and Koko, for those familiar with such London haunts. So, a great first day, putting me in a very good mood for the rest of my stay here.

Then came the weather and the cricket. (And apologies in advance for the negative tone of the next couple of paragraphs…)

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It’s not just the British press that lead with the weather: “Meltdown” in Perth with a heatwave coinciding perfectly with the Test.  46 degrees (celsius not fahrenheit)?  Just not cricket…

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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…

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Gabbatoir Blues: Brisbane Ashes Test, 19th to 26th November 2013

As originally posted on my Tumblr site just after the events of each Ashes Test in 2013/14 – note the prescient first paragraph comment that “there could be a repeat of 2006/07”.  Mitchell Johnson really was that devastating…  Cricinfo match scorecard here

Well then: Brisbane, what to say? There’s no getting around this – a pretty dismal Test match for an England fan. And yet, still a great experience and bizarrely enjoyable. I’m planning to not write too much about the cricket in this blog, as that’s only one (albeit large) part of my Australian expedition and there is a fair bit of writing about Ashes Tests generally, but I do have to acknowledge that England were totally blown away after a successful first day. That said, it’s well known that England often struggle on their first Test away from home and do often recover – have to hope that is true this time too, or there could be a repeat of 2006/07 (aka “the Ashes series that never happened”). We’ll see what the next match in Adelaide will bring I guess, time to remain positive, that’s the beauty of Test cricket; the ebbs and flows of the game.

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Happier times: day one at the Gabba, aggressive field set to Michael Clarke

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My Ashes diaries from Australia: 2013/14

To kickstart my new blog and play around with it a bit before posting anything new, I’m going to start with publishing my reviews of each of the 5 Tests when England were sadly whitewashed 5-0 down under between November 2013 and January 2014.  A trip of a lifetime for sure with me watching every single Test in person, just a shame about the result.

The next 5 blogs were originally posted on my Tumblr site as I travelled around Australia so any predictions or looks forward were made at the time; so worth bearing in mind that hindsight can be a wonderful thing.  Also, they contain my thoughts on each of the 5 cities that hosted Tests, so there’s a bit of travel blogging and the like in there too (albeit not all, further ramblings can be found on my aformentioned Tumblr site).  So, enough gabbing and time to confront again the demonic sight of Mitchell Johnson and more…

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