The Ashes and the Barmy Army…

I was in Birmingham yesterday to see Australia play England in the 3rd Ashes test – it was the final day of the test.

Given the amount of play lost to rain in this test (Saturday was a total washout), it was always likely to be a draw, but we started out on the last day with the distinct possibility of a win for England – if they could get a few quick wickets early in the day. However, Australia dug in and clung on for the draw.

I usually go to the test matches at Lord’s or the Oval, the two big London grounds, and I’ve never been to Edgbaston in Birmingham before, but I am travelling a lot in August so I’m going to miss the test match in London. They have already played at Lord’s, but I was too busy to go. I realised that if I didn’t go to see some play at Edgbaston then I wouldn’t see anything of the Ashes this year.

So I went on eBay and found a guy selling a single ticket. It cost me £40, which is more than face value for Edgbaston, but cheaper than London… as even the fifth day is sold in advance for the Ashes games. I booked a train ticket with Chiltern trains, which was just £15 return to Birmingham compared to £52 from Euston. Cheaper, but a lot slower.

I didn’t notice, until the eve of the game, that the eBay seller had actually sent me 2 tickets for the game. I only tried to buy 1. I went onto the site to see if I could contact him to check whether it was correct and found that his eBay profile had been deleted. So now I was concerned because I thought it could have been sold several times over… the ticket was a PDF, so it could easily have been sold many times. In the end it was all fine though. My ticket was valid and I ended up actually having a spare!

The atmosphere at the ground was great. The barmy army were having a lot of fun in the Hollies stand and there was a lot of cheering for anything… the crowd were really having a great time. A lot of people on the radio have criticised the fans for getting too rowdy. Put it this way, there were no fights and the fans were mixed… Aussies with English and lots of women watching too. The fans were singing and cheering great shots, but also having ironic fun too by cheering then booing the Australians – and winding up the fans in the same area. This is a live sports event and the crowd are just having fun – I can’t understand why anyone would think that watching cricket should be like going to the cinema…

Shame I am going to miss the test match at the Oval… I might get my father a ticket to go just so I can hear about it from him…

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