After previously posting on this blog a cricket focused shorter account of my time in Melbourne, here’s the more detailed version as originally posted on Tumblr…
I spent a total of two weeks in Melbourne and really enjoyed it there, so consequently this blog will be a bit longer than previous entries. I have split it up into two sections anyway – up to Christmas Day and then from Boxing Day onwards (warning: contains more scenes of England batting collapses, which some readers may find disturbing).
MELBOURNE PART 1: 19TH TO 25TH DECEMBER…
Putting Perth well and truly behind me, I arrived in Melbourne and headed to St Kilda, where I spent 4 nights before later moving on to central Melbourne. St Kilda is a Melbourne neighbourhood about 5 miles or so away from the centre and sits right on a pretty decent beach there, with a range of beachfront bars and restaurants, plus good selections on its main drag too. I was staying in a pretty impressive hotel and St Kilda was a good relaxed vibrant place to start; perhaps reminiscent of Brighton although much smaller and with a much better beach, so maybe not that similar. Well, they both have a pier that has seen better days anyway. It’s also easy to get into Melbourne (and around Melbourne generally) from St Kilda via a tram ride, which was useful as I did venture out of St Kilda most days I was there.
The River Yarra and a bit of Melbourne’s skyline
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).
The Sydney Cricket Ground’s iconic pavilions
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.
Boxing day at the MCG