Isle of Wight Cricket

Tolfey's Tour - Adelaide

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Dear Friends

How different from my last away Ashes trip. The England victory in Adelaide seemed never to be in doubt. The predicted thunderstorms on Day 5 were two hours too late to save the Australians.

The press coverage here has been typically damning. Heads must roll. The Barmy Army are more off their heads than usual and this time they really have something to celebrate.

I think the most memorable incident “on the field” was the last ball on the 4th day. The Aussie vice-captain Michael Clarke, having survived well for his team in the face of extreme pressure scoring a fine 80, was given not out, after a confident appeal for a bat-and-pad catch at short leg by Alistair Cook, off the part-time bowler of Kevin Pietersen. The England boys immediately called for a review of the decision. Everyone in the stadium then witnessed the video evidence, clearly showing the bat striking the ball. Clarke knew he’d hit it and had started to walk off. But then his instincts took over and he hung around. His only hope was the technology breaking down? He could have saved the third umpire the time and trouble, The decision was formally reversed, off to the loudest shouts of outrage and jeering from the whole crowd. I wonder if his skipper is proud of his favourite teammate.

The most unexpected incident “off the field” was the big confrontation at the end of the 4th day between the two famous retired cricketers, Botham and Chappell, the two “Ians”. I bet you got a major report of this back home in the Daily Mail. So therefore you can be sure that the story was wildly exaggerated. Unlike the famous 2007 pedalo incident in St Lucia involving Freddie Flintoff, this time I wasn’t close enough to give you my first-hand account of the so-called affray. So Beefy and Chappelli are still niggling away at each other after 33 years. I do hope that there will be more of this battle to unfold and not just “handbags at 10 paces”.

The first attached photo isn’t very clear, but it’s Tolfers in amongst the 35,000 crowd at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday, when Pietersen was scoring his double-century. The picture was taken by Loz of our TV screen at home in Sandown, then sent to me in Adelaide by email and text. This is the cutting-edge of technology that we youngsters use with our eyes shut, especially when the programme is on live from midnight until 7am.

That’s enough about cricket for now. What about Adelaide? I’d been told it’s a wonderful place, and it was better than I expected. The original design of Adelaide was first planned in the 1830’s. The second photo is of another surveyor, Colonel William Light who conceived his dream of the perfect layout for the city. The streets which form the central area are mainly set out in a regimented grid, similar to the cities of the USA. The main roads are wide and the buildings are now a mixture of old and new, including massive Victorian structures and a few, but not too many skyscrapers. The public transport arrangements are again well-organised and there is a brilliant tram service which I used every day, travelling into the CBD from Glenelg where I was staying. By the way, CBD stands for central business district. Didn’t everyone know this? It’s the equivalent of what we young people now call Newport for the Isle of Wight. It’s an example of those trendy things to say to prove that one is keeping up to date.

Apart from the name Glenelg looking like it resulted from a blatant spelling mistake made by the local council’s sign-writing department (similar to Benett Street in Ryde), the town is a popular coastal resort to the west of Adelaide. It’s sort of a mixture of Bembridge without the snobbery and Sandown without the buckets and spades . In contrast to my stay in Brisbane where the accommodation was fair but situated in a decidedly dodgy suburb, this time the area was ok but the accommodation was crap, or much “below standard” as I should have said. It was again my fault really for booking online so late and not being aware that a 2star apartment would exclude an inside khazi. Anyway, as the cricket was so good, it didn’t seem to matter too much. On principle, however, I thought I should advise the letting agency of my disapproval, especially when all the power cut out one evening during an enthralling episode of ‘Grand Designs’ on the box (at least the flat did have a TV). The always-cool Kevin McCloud was just about to revisit a building resembling an original nuclear fall-out shelter, converted by these Yuppie architects, both sporting ponytails, to ask whether they thought that going over budget to the tune of 170,000 quid was really justified, when bang, the power to the whole building failed. Thoroughly annoying, although I actually used a different expression at the time.

My attempts to complain fell on stony ground. The Aussies have a straight-forward attitude towards people who complain. The man I spoke to on the phone sounded busy and politely unsympathetic. He used expressions such as “No worries Dave” ”It’ll be fixed in the morning” or “If you like mate, I can tell you the higher price to upgrade to a better apartment”. But when I told him that putting more money into his bank account wasn’t what I had in mind and mentioned my idea of obtaining a refund, his language took a turn for the worse “You barmy Pommie bastards come over here ..…..” etc. My fault again I suppose!

If you ignore the extremely poor currency exchange rate, the air fares and the cost of accommodation, it is still otherwise cheaper to watch cricket in Australia than in England. The facilities at the grounds are generally so much better with easy queuing for refreshments etc. and public transport was again free and easy in Adelaide CBD. To witness the defeat of the Australian team was an unforgettable delight and I could leave Adelaide with a smile on my face. It’s a shame that I shall have to watch the games at Perth and Melbourne on TV from Dubai.

That’s all from me for now. See you after Christmas and don’t forget to wrap up warm.


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