Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Cricket Whitewash

Now you either love or hate cricket - well I love it! I'm talking about Test Cricket and - even - One Day Cricket. None of this 20/20 Big Bash pretend baseball for me. Cricket means summer. Cricket means growing up with the ABC radio cricket commentary always in the background in our house. Or in more modern times (70's/80's!!) my father gardening with either a transistor at his side or dare I say 'earphones'. Tradition states that if you are attending the cricket then it is sacriledge to miss the first - and the last - balls of the day. And with the Ashes series just completed if you had missed the first ball of the day - then you may have missed an Aussie taking a Pom wicket. We won 5/0 having been beaten in the English summer of 2013 by the Poms 3/0. What a turnaround! 
A day at the MCG - just look at that tartan mowing! (MCG website)
So what has this got to do with Richmond?! Well within walking distance of the Cottage is the hallowed ground of the Melbourne Cricket Club (formed in 1838). What a venue. Over the 4 days of what should have been a 5 day match the 4th Test at the MCG hosted over 271,000 fans (5 days and we would have cracked the 300,000 mark). And because the Aussies were doing so well the world record for a day at the cricket was beaten with 91,112 attending. Extraordinary. 
Bill Ponsford hitting a 'four'
Take a walk around the outside of the stadium (it could almost be called a colliseum when there are up to 100,000 baying for opposition blood - albeit with no lions) and not only will you find wonderful sculptures (by Louis Laumen) of our famed footballers (see earlier post here), athletes but also world renowned Victorian cricketers including Bill Ponsford (who has a grandstand named after him) and the infamous Shane Warne are all there to enjoy. 

Shane Warne bowling the ball of the Century
Things have changed since the first cricket match was played at the MCG between Victoria and New South Wales in 1856 and against an English X1 in 1862. The first Test between England and Australia was played in 1877. (see the MCG history here) (the first Aussie Rules match was played in 1858). Preparing the cricket pitches was almost an art form for the curators - and it still is - but now the pitch is prepared off-site and 'dropped in' to the oval. At the back of the MCG in a small cordoned off paddock you can see the pitches being prepared. After all they all need to be slightly different for the 3 modern forms of the game. You will find the 'dropped in pitches' between the Stadium and the Richmond Football Club. Take a walk to have a look and while you are there you should pass the historical scarred tree (see earlier post here

Preparing the pitches - Richmond Football Club on the right

You just might be looking at THE pitch for the 4th Test!
Oh and just before I go I love some of the Tweets reprinted in The Age about the cricket - here are some of my favourites - so clever:
What do you call an Englishman with 100 runs against his name? A bowler (Paige Cardona)
Just went to make a cup of tea and I've missed 4 wickets. Well played Australia - put us out of our misery now please (Daniel Ostermeyer)
and I will leave you with this one:
Brits who could play better cricket than the English team. 1. Penelope Keith; 2. Ronnie Corbett; 3. Cliff Richard; 4. Prince George (Sally Sara)
Before the 1st Test - Captains Alistair Cook and our Michael Clarke - with the famed Ashes urn - only Michael was laughing at the end! (abcnet.au)
Bowen Cottage client comment: This is a home not a rental! Everything felt well cared for and loved. The books, street directory, tourist information and magazines were much appreciated and well utilised.

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