Muzza & Jono on tour

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September 6th 2019
Published: September 7th 2019
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Day oneDay oneDay one

The sun was shining on us as we lapped up the thrill of watching our heroes in hostile territory.
One of the great things about this holiday has been the frequent changes that take place. I have travelled by myself and then with different groups of people and for the last 4 days I’ve been watching cricket with my long-time mate from the cricket club, Shane Murray, aka Muzza. I still remember sitting at his dining table, almost a year ago, lap top open, choosing tickets and in the following months, working out other logistics, so that we could have a great time at Old Trafford watching the Aussies take on the old enemy. The disappointment of losing the last test made the stakes higher for the 4th and 5th tests of the series and a win in either of them will see Australia retain the Ashes. We haven’t come home from England with the Ashes in our possession since 2001. Needless to say, we were both very excited and a little nervous for what would come during our stay in Manchester. One factor we were well aware of was the weather and the chance of not seeing as much cricket as we had planned. But even though the forecasts were bleak, we managed to see at least half a
Muz and I out backMuz and I out backMuz and I out back

Behind the stands were eateries, bars and entertainment. We soaked it all up between sessions.
day’s play on all of the first three days and the highlight was Steve Smith’s double century. We’re both so glad to have been there for such an incredible performance.

For all of our organisation, it was completely unexpected that with our Lancashire CC membership we would get half price drinks, which meant the more we drink the more we save! We also got access to the members’ pavilion. But one membership meant that we only got in one at a time to see the honour boards and memorabilia in the holiest precinct of Old Trafford. Still, we felt privileged for the experience.

At the cricket we found that the English spectators are super friendly and turn around to start a conversation with us when they hear our accent. They acknowledge the good performances of their opposition and laugh as much at themselves as anyone else. There is still some booing of Smith and Warner, post sand-paper gate. But when you talk to them individually, the poms are sympathetic towards our former captain in particular. One stand seems to be for those who want to have a few beers and sing all day long. That is two things
Day two seats.  Opposite side do day oneDay two seats.  Opposite side do day oneDay two seats. Opposite side do day one

That is a hotel in the background. You can stay the night and watch the game from your balcony.
Englishmen are very good at. But this is where the booing comes from. They also have a laugh, and with witty, good-humour they interact with the players through song and ironic cheering. Lyon wasn’t allowed to forget his missed runout from the third test and he was cheered every time the ball was thrown to him and he caught it cleanly. Only 6 times per over when he is bowling.

Whilst we were at the cricket, we heard from another Parkdale cricketer. Jimmy and his family were in Manchester and came to the match on Day 2. We also bumped into one of our former international recruits, Will, who lives half an hour away. It felt like a PCC reunion on the other side of the world, and I can’t imagine better circumstances to arrange such an event. At the end of play Jim’s kids, Lara and Ned, even had their photos with the man of the moment, Steve Smith. The man can do no wrong (perhaps with one exception).

Aside from hosting the 4th Test, Manchester also served us well as an interesting city to visit. It is quite different to London. There are lots of red
Lunchtime entertainmentLunchtime entertainmentLunchtime entertainment

They don't have kids playing games on the ground, like we do in Australia. Just a simple band who entertained the crowd in this stand. These are the singing members of the crowd.
brick buildings and the architecture has its own style. I think it is a little dreary, like the weather. But Muz has a different opinion and likes it. We stayed near an area called Deansgate, and we ate very well. Greek, Indian and Chinese dinners were all great meals. It was nice to eat out with some spice lovers too. There are of course pubs in the area but not as many as I see in London and they are bigger and more modern than those down south. This area was a bit like the Chapel street of Manchester. Deansgate also has a cultural vibe with theatre and art on offer in the same area as the restaurants.

For the third day Martin, Muzza’s Scottish brother-in-law, came to cheer for Australia and more to the point against England. He is staying for the rest of the match. We saw the Aussies get further ahead in the game and when I left this morning, Muz couldn’t understand what else I would be doing that is more important than watching day’s 4 and 5 of the game. I can’t say I didn’t feel a little disappointment that I wasn’t at the
Late day 2Late day 2Late day 2

They played late to make up for rain delays. But on day three England went off because of bad light ... when the lights were on!!!!
cricket today but I’ve had other fun that you’ll hear about next time. As I write this, I’m seeing texts appear on my phone which confirm how far ahead we are in the game. All that remains to be seen is if the poms are able to survive the last day for a draw. Tonight, I’ll be dreaming about 8 more wickets and the urn staying in its rightful place south of the equator.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


PCC reunionPCC reunion
PCC reunion

You can see what we were wearing. This might be the coldest place to watch cricket from.
Steve Smith with Ned and LaraSteve Smith with Ned and Lara
Steve Smith with Ned and Lara

Just after scoring 211 he had time for the fans.
With Martin and MuzWith Martin and Muz
With Martin and Muz

Showing our team colours.

9th September 2019

Bad light!
If they can't play with the lights on then what do they do for day/night matches??

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