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Next stop Brisbane (via Sydney)

Oliver Brett | 10:40 UK time, Friday, 17 November 2006

ob66.jpgHEATHROW – At security these days, as well as having to take your shoes off and be subjected to an intimate frisk, they also make you take your laptop out.

One fellow traveller spotted the BBC Sport logo on the back of mine, and asked: “Not going to the Ashes are you?”

He, much to his despair, was destined for somewhere else but wished me well on my travels, despite his obvious envy.

His reaction was rather different to my Polish builder, who has only just about heard of cricket, and is mystified as to why I would travel to the other side of the world to watch sport.

All English cricket fans have a first Ashes memory. Looking back, mine now seems almost unreal.

I was eight years old when I was taken to see the fourth day of the 1981 Test at Headingley. There were hundreds of kids my sort of age there that day to watch Ian Botham’s astonishing assault on Lillee and Alderman.

I am pretty sure there will be plenty of youngsters keeping a close eye on Andrew Flintoff and Co this winter in the hope they can produce something similar.

My flight has a stop in Singapore and then I am spending one night in Sydney before heading straight to Brisbane on Sunday morning.

I believe the forecasters are anticipating 28 degrees in Queensland and bright sunshine.

Liam Plunkett’s last blog entry mentioned the less than appealing weather the team had encountered so far.

But I am sure that although summer does not officially start in Australia until December, the warmer climes of Brisbane will be to his liking.

My only experience of Australia so far was a brief trip to Melbourne and the rest of Victoria, taking in two days of the 2002-03 Ashes.

The atmosphere at the MCG then was spectacular, although the series was already in the bag for the Aussies.

Heaven knows what it will be like come 23 November.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:42 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Tommy Sharrock wrote:

Going myself in two weeks for the Melbourne and Sydney tests. I have tickets for the first 2 days of Melbourne will I be able to get tickets/pay cash for day 3/4/5?

  • 2.
  • At 12:25 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Karl Betschwar wrote:

I agree with Oliver Brett's comments about first ever Ashes memories and about how every English Cricket Fan has one - well I can tell you us Aussies have one too though your particular memory is for us, better forgotten.

As an ex-pat Aussie from Brissie I'm gutted not to be there for the Test and can only hope our boys make an impressive start to the campaign. Weather-wise, I think the Poms will be hoping for a weekend of liquid sunshine as this may be the only thing to save them.

Come on Aussie!

  • 3.
  • At 12:50 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • tomsonia wrote:

Come Monday I will be on the flight to Australia for the first two test - the atmosphere will be amazing and for the first time i can remember the Aussies aren't quite so sure of themselves. Tres leaving the tour will be a positive - he would have been a major sledging target

Brisbane; great walkable city, lived in a house just round the corner from the Gabba when I was backpacking back in 97.

Going back with my young family for a 1 month trip over Christmas; fly into Melbourne from Bangkok on Christmas Day, at the MCG the following day....NICE. Might try and swap some extra tickets for one at the SCG, as we are in Sydney for 4 days over the New Year before driving to Uluru in a camper.

Obviously want these tests to mean something so hopefully after the first 3 it is 1-1.

Cheers and enjoy those press privilages!!!

Allan Blanchard

MD, Wildlife Trails

  • 5.
  • At 02:15 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • rob whittle wrote:

England can only retain the ashes if they scrap and attack the Australians with bat and ball, and Harmy fires.

  • 6.
  • At 02:19 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

Six of us are flying out four weeks today for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests. Can't wait. Bit worried we might miss England retaining the Ashes though - we might be 3-0 up before we even leave Blighty!

It's all set to be another epic battle between two very good cricket teams, and Ashes contests always have that extra bit of spice. If England can stay in the series in the first three Tests, I think the massive English support at the MCG and SCG might sway the balance in England's favour. Despite CA's attempts to stop England fans buying tickets, we're a canny bunch and I bet there's 20,000 of us in the MCG come Boxing Day.

Bring it on...

  • 7.
  • At 02:54 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Matt Lowndes wrote:

Ollie, I fly out on Monday, arriving in Brisbane on Wednesday. Fancy catching up for a few beers if your BBC bosses allow such frivolity.

I can't wait for the series to begin and I'm sure the boys will put on a good show against the aussies.


  • 8.
  • At 02:58 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Jen wrote:

Must you WUM us so?

Seriously, I am sure it will be a wonderful experience. I also envy you.. ah well maybe I will win Euromillions and can wave my champers at you on Thursday morning!

  • 9.
  • At 03:05 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Val Xavier wrote:

I'm sure you'll have a great time Oliver. I'm going to the last two matches. But I feel the first two are the ones to go to. I fancy an exciting match on the competitive Woolloongabba pitch, cranked up by expectation. And the Adelaide Oval is reputed to be one of the great grounds of the world.

Good luck.

  • 10.
  • At 04:41 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Licence fee guardian wrote:

Am sure you'll have a great time but just how many BBC staff are off to Australia?
By my estimation half of the entire BBC staff appeared to be at the football World Cup interviewing each other. Is this the plan for the Ashes too?

  • 11.
  • At 04:45 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Hi, I'm off on the 17.12.06, I do a bit of travelling first then arrivein Melbourne on Christams day.

I have tickets for days 1,2 & 4.

Then its off to Sydney for new years eve and start the scrounge/haggle for tickets - wish me luck- Martyn

  • 12.
  • At 05:03 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Beale N wrote:

You lucky, lucky, so n' so. My first Ashses memory was telling Greg Chappell to get a move on when chasing a ball to the boundary - I was met with a snarl, and something unreaptable. I was 7! I think he was a wee bit tired at the time.

  • 13.
  • At 05:34 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • James burns wrote:

All you brits are really something. All you think about is ashes that might be the reason england hasn't won a world cup in cricket. Stop preparing for ashes all the time and start focusing on winning a world cup. Its sad to see that the country that started cricket does not have one under it's name. its a shame.

p.s australia will kick your rear end this time simply because its in australia and that they want to take their revenge. So stop dreaming. I am a fan of neither team

  • 14.
  • At 06:51 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Nathan Graham wrote:

I'm off to Melbourne for the 4th Day of that test match (I've been studying in Adelaide since July - until July 2007).

In response to Tommy Sharrock, no, you can't buy any tickets - unless you're willing to pay ridiculous amounts for them...

  • 15.
  • At 01:16 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Oliver Brett wrote:

Just touched down in Singapore now for refuelling (the plane, not me - Qantas keep you feed passengers as though they were horses). Not much Ashes fever here but I'll keep you posted...

Thanks for all your comments so far, and Matt L -I hope to catch up with you at the Gabba!

  • 16.
  • At 01:48 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Enjoy the flight from singapore Oliver,

Brisbane, is as already described a walkable city.

I can assure you the press in queensland at least, is lined with ashes fever.

The "Pig n Whistle" at the bottom of the Queen street mall, is one of two barmy army locations. Im not sure where the other one is, probably closer to the gabba.

As already mentioned by Matt Lowndes, maybe a random meeting in the pig with fellow english folk is in order.

Unless a miracle happens and I get a ticket, on day 1 of the game, I will be found in the pig, with a my colours drapped around me.

Win or lose for either team, I believe this series is going to be fantastic.

Over and out from down in Brisvegas...

  • 17.
  • At 02:48 AM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Robert Cartmill wrote:

Getting close people.

Thought i'd give some heads up on local venues prior and during the 1st test. The pig'n'whistle at the bottom of the queen street mall in certainly a good meet up point. Seating may only accomodate 50-100 however. Your best bet would be to hit the Pineapple hotel or Chalk hotel. Both big establishments within ear shot of Glenn Mcgrath knocking over Strauss in the 1st over.

5 more sleeps!!!

  • 18.
  • At 12:05 PM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Val Xavier wrote:

Four more sleeps to go now. My first series was '77. I particularly remember Boycott running out Randall at Trent Bridge and grinding out a guilty ton while Alan Knott improvised a hundred from the other end. A skinny Ian Botham made his debut in this match and took a fivefer. Boycott then made his hundredth 100 on the way to 191 on his home ground of Headingley. England won the series there with a catch from a Rod Marsh skyer.

Do you get that that Graham Greene feeling Oliver, when you land on the hot runway with a briefcase full of communcations equipment, your white panama pulled down over the eyes? Getting involved in a case of mistaken identity going through customs that brings you to the attention of the police. Then becoming disorientated by the local differences, such as calling the extras 'sundries' and reading the wickets before the runs when giving the score. Whatever you do, don't get involved with the wife of a foreign diplomat, as it never ends well. Unless she's French, in which case, what the hell.

  • 19.
  • At 10:21 PM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • Des wrote:

I know it's a long shot, but does anyone know of anywhere in London that might be showing the cricket live?

  • 20.
  • At 12:32 AM on 19 Nov 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

I think that the Pig 'n Whistle mentioned as a Barmy Army location is probably the one at by the river at Eagle Street, rather than the much smaller one on Queen Street Mall. If it is anything like the World Cup six months ago, it will be full to breaking point with Brits who haven't been lucky enough to get tickets.

Visitors should add the Story Bridge Hotel to their drinking venues too.

The atmosphere is really building here in Brisbane, and it'll be unbelievable by Thursday morning.

  • 21.
  • At 12:52 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Hamilton Berstock wrote:

Geoff Boycott is right to be indignant at 14 "holidaymaking" England backroom staff. Presumably BBC freeloaders are much less in number. 'Pigs might fly' - or rather: 'England might win'

  • 22.
  • At 09:08 PM on 25 Nov 2006,
  • john carbery wrote:

I would rather watch mark ramprakash doing a salsa on telly than watch you posers knocking a ball about , pretending to be serious about a kids game.

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