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Only a handful of Barmies and Blarnies

Martin Gough | 16:59 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

Martin GoughGuyana - Perhaps reinforcements await the Barmy Army in Antigua, where England play the next two games in their Super 8 campaign.

At a rough estimate, around 50 hardy souls made it to Georgetown to see their batsmen struggle against Ireland but they have a message to those sitting in beach resorts waiting for England to join them.

“Everyone we’ve met has been really friendly,” said Matt, who planned his trip here six months ago, along with a couple of old friends from Bristol University, and will be following England through the second round.


“I love Guyana – the people are amazing,” said another Matt, dressed as a Roman centurion on the grassy bank.

He and wife Tessa are celebrating their first wedding anniversary, with Tessa on a crash course in cricket fandom even though they bought their tickets last November.

England knew well in advance that they would be starting the second round in Georgetown but few supporters seem to have gone to the effort of booking flights and accommodation for this one-game appearance on the South American mainland.

Not everyone followed the ICC-approved method of booking well ahead of time. A gang of English volunteer teachers working all around Guyana got together on Thursday to buy their tickets on the bank.

And they got the award for the most idiosyncratic banner in the ground, reading “England – send us cheese”.

“You’ll never know how much you miss cheese until you have to make do with processed stuff,” said one.

Ireland’s Blarney Army, which numbered an estimated 2,000 during the group stages, has dwindled to a small number for now and some of them are being paid to be here, like Ed Leahy, who writes a blog for broadcaster RTE while making a documentary on Irish cricket.

Others struck it lucky, like Damien and Ailish, who won a radio competition on Wednesday, flew in on the eve of the game and hope to catch the West Indies on Sunday before heading home again.

Ireland have three games in Guyana before heading to Barbados, where they expect to be joined by a larger contingent of supporters, who have hastily booked more time off work after their side’s surprise qualification for the second round.

On their side’s early showing it could be worth the trip.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:20 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Sarah Foster wrote:

My husband and I are going to Antigua on our honeymoon....
Not that unusual you might think. Except we pretty much booked our wedding around the World Cup to enable us to see the Super 8s!

  • 2.
  • At 05:24 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Stockton wrote:

I've the spent last half our explaing cricket to a colleague only to have him glance out the window at the end of it all and ask "how many nuts do you think a squirrel can fit in it's mouth?" Good old Canada...the land of ice hockey and squirrels!

  • 3.
  • At 05:33 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mark, London wrote:

Ignore the miserable old ****s urging you to 'cut the humour' from your commentary. We're loving it here in the office, breaks up the afternoon... :)

  • 4.
  • At 05:38 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Alfred the OK wrote:

Yet again, Michael Vaughan stumbles with the bat. Is he Frank Lampard in disguise? And yet again, the guy who should have been there is at home twiddling his thumbs. I refer of course to Mal Loye, the guy who set the fast attack tone against the Aussies in the ODI series at the end of the Ashes tour.

One day cricket is all about imposing yourself and building innings quickly and effectively. Vaughan is a plodder, so is Strauss - so why are they there?

  • 5.
  • At 05:41 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mohamed Z. Rahaman (breado) wrote:

Dear Marty... Hope you don't mind me calling you Marty. Seems like we got off on the wrong foot the other day and besides Marty sounds a lot friendlier... kinda like Buddy. You know that's why that motel umm I mean hotel, is named Buddy's because Omprakash (the owner's real name) does not quite roll off the tongue if you know what I mean. (By the way, I can say that because I am Guyanese, but you would catch hell as you well know,if you repeat it.). The name Buddy is like Bubba in America. If you don't know someone's name just say, "hey Bud" or "hey Buddy" and you will find that it works like a charm with the locals.

Glad to hear some nice things about the Guyanese people. Hopefully, the rain will stay away for duration of the WC and you all could have some fun. I see some of English fans in the cheap seats. Man, you know that we were expecting them to buy the more expensive seats and leave the cheaper ones for the locals. Anyway, we just happy that you all came.
Hope you having a good time.

Breado (my friends call me that)

  • 6.
  • At 06:44 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

Ian Bell played like the pitch was made of Swiss cheese, so maybe portions could be sold to the crowd at the end of the game.

  • 7.
  • At 07:42 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • gary d in Bahamas wrote:

Keep up with the humuoros gets boring sitting on the balcony drinking guiness here in Nassau

  • 8.
  • At 07:42 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I'm proud to announce that I, a Yank, have now learned cricket's rules--as eloquent a testimony as you could ask for to the desperate lengths people will go to to avoid boredom at work. Seems like a great game! Besides, I love World Cups, though as a newcomer I focus on the superficial and obvious, like the uniforms. The basic rule seems to be that everyone wears green: Australia because green and yellow are the national colors, South Africa, Namibia and Kenya for Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan for Islam, and Ireland for Ireland. I'm guessing India's light blue has some connection with Vishnu, who's portrayed at just about that shade. But what's up with Sri Lanka? They have the lion-with-sword just as on their flag, except their flag is red and their uniforms are purple. Why?

  • 9.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Bryan wrote:

I hope them staying away has nothing to do with your blog posting when you just arrived there. lol, that would explain all the criticism you received.

  • 10.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Not the best choice of matches I have to admit as I sit here at my computer listening & trying to sell the Americans on Cricket....I don't think MLB is quivering in their boots!

Read your employer's apology on your behalf Martin Gough! Listen, our [Guyanese] rantings were not personal mind you ... but indeed, has a lot to do with repressed old wounds and unrelenting anguished memories. Which continues to haunt many of us!
Back to the grand game of CRICKET!
I recalled an popular old calypso song as a child, as follows:
"Cricket lovely Cricket ...
At last when I saw it ...
Ramadin & Valentino"
... trust the lyrics are correct! BTW, noted some Brits request for Cheese ... in Leila's case, its a desire for a fruit known as "SAPODILLAS! I can assure you, it's the most heavenly fruit on God's earth! Oh, for a taste of that delicate morsel!
Best regards,

  • 12.
  • At 08:13 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Baiju Devani wrote:

I am an England fan but part of me wants Ireland to win. It would carry on the amasing story of the undergog!

  • 13.
  • At 08:14 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • SteveK wrote:

We will be in Bridgetown Barbados 21st April. Any good games on???

  • 14.
  • At 08:18 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mike E wrote:

Am I just stupid? How are all these expats listening to the commentary, when all I get is the pathetic apology for not being able to broadcast the commentary outside the UK.

Next time you sell the game outside the UK, make sure you don't sell *all* coverage to one company. We should be able to listen to 5Live online if we can't pick up the games on DirecTV.

Memories of "yesteryear" Cricket: Follow-Up:

Victory Calypso
At Lord's in 1950, West Indies defeated England in England for the first time. Egbert Moore, who sang under the pseudonym Lord Beginner, composed the most famous of cricketing calypsos to celebrate the occasion. He was accompanied by Calypso Rhythm Kings, 'supervision' by Denis Preston. It was recorded on the 'Melodisc' (1133) label (MEL 20).

The Victory Calypso also immortalized the spin bowling pair of Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine. The calypso begins thus :

Cricket lovely Cricket,
At Lord's where I saw it;
Cricket lovely Cricket,
At Lord's where I saw it;
Yardley tried his best
But Goddard won the Test.
They gave the crowd plenty fun;
Second Test and West Indies won.
Chorus: With those two little pals of mine

Ramadhin and Valentine.

  • 16.
  • At 08:51 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Ian Williams wrote:

No offence, but is Ben Dirs your real name?
Ian, Londres

I'm sitting here in Ealing with my flatmate from Cork (soccer not rugby) who I've managed to get to watch cricket in this world cup.

Loving your posting and this game despite our run rate. But hey Ireland are not expected to win this one are we.

Shame we let all those runs slip in the last 10 overs.
The run rate would be a lot lower then.

  • 18.
  • At 08:58 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Lucia Massive wrote:

You want to step on the toes of a West Indian...crticise their country. I hope you learnt your lesson.

  • 19.
  • At 09:11 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Lucia Massive wrote:

for me my favorite victory calypso is

We are the Champions

we are the champions we beat pakistian and india

we are the champions we are known as de west indians

alas those days are over!!!! through lack of pride

  • 20.
  • At 09:32 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Stockton wrote:

17.50 for flowers does seem quite a lot!

  • 21.
  • At 10:12 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Can't find Andrew's blog, so will post here. So proud of being Irish, to explain, 12 of the 15 man Irish squad work as PE teachers, farmers and postmen, so I am so proud that a minnows nation, so far beneath everyone else with their part-time cricketing job have made full-time well-paid cricketeers look well slightly dim!!!! Cricket is a minority sport here, but I am so impressed with them being in the last eight of the world, I have loved every minute every minute and will continue to do so.

I have lost a lot of respect for BBC and SkySports commentators, but sure they're embarrassed we and Bangladesh r still there. Go on the underdogs, loving every minute of u embarrassing the so-called established nations! BTW, husband who is English, now cheers for Ireland, as yo have to admire them. Re supporters, if I didn't have a ten month old and a four year old, I would literally kill to be there. I have supported Irish cricket through Malahide Cricket Club since bei1ng a very young girl. I hope I'll b there next time!

Well done Ireland and come on Bangladesh!!


  • 22.
  • At 10:14 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Trevor Bravery wrote:

Why is Bopara not being used as a bowler in the Engaland attack. If we are not going to use him we might just as well leave him to carry the drinks!!
Against Irland we used 2 part time bowlers and left him in to field.

I was very impressed with the way Ireland went after chasing the English score.West Indies would not have even made 200runs.Well played Ireland.

  • 24.
  • At 11:53 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Colm wrote:

Ireland in the Super 8? Nothing seems to annoy Aggers more. We (the tiny few from both North and South) are so proud that our team (majority part-timers) has earned the right to be there. The Super 8 was designed to exclude teams like Bangladesh and Ireland. Despite that, we are not here to make up the numbers.

  • 25.
  • At 03:23 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • So wrote:

Totally in agreement with the British Fans in Guyana......Guyanese hospitality is well known throughout the world. The people may be poor, but they will offer you their shirts off of their backs

  • 26.
  • At 04:26 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • nigel wrote:

I always thought a win was a win. Do all our national teams have to reach perfection 100% of the time? Is everbody in England so perfect that they won't except anything less? I dont think so! Get a life everyone, a win is a win.

  • 27.
  • At 08:38 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Lin wrote:

"I am an England fan but part of me wants Ireland to win. It would carry on the amasing story of the undergog"

Baiju, what a lovely comment! I shall always think of the Irish team as ' the undergogs' from now on!!

  • 28.
  • At 09:02 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • chintaka wrote:

"undergogs". cute word. Reminds me of a nother more offensive word.

  • 29.
  • At 09:25 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • John Butler wrote:

I can fully vouch for the supporters need for cheese.
First thing me an my girlfriend did when we got back from living on a small tropical island was run to sainsburys and brought several cheesboards!
Odd but we craved it when we wer only able to get the processed stuf, lets try and get som to the !

  • 30.
  • At 09:51 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Dominic Adams wrote:

I represent a farmers' co-operative operating in North Hertfordshire & Cambridgeshire, most are avid cricket fans, but are unable to travel to Guyana due to the seasonality of their business. If you can mailing addresses for these 'cheese fans' you met recently, I'm sure we can put a cheese-aid parcel together, and courier it deirect to the parties concerned. If nothing else, it's good publicity!

  • 31.
  • At 10:41 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Daveymcg wrote:

Tell the couple from Cambridge that if they are going to fly the Union Flag, to make sure it's the right way up! That way the team won't play as if they're standing on their heads.

  • 32.
  • At 11:06 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Jim Price wrote:

It is not surprising the lack of support at any of the matches so far. The huge prices asked have outpriced all genuine fans and the local community. I feel this world cup has been aimed at the wealthy corporates the same as football over the past 10 years.

The reason the Irish presence has dwindled is because "the Ireland team are not meant to be at and do not belong in" the Super 8 stage!

That answer is so good, I'm surprised you didn't come up with it yourself!

  • 34.
  • At 05:30 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • georgina wrote:

Hey Martin

It's me again but this time, I'm going to post a more upbeat comment.

I have to say, this blog is one of my favourites. Especially the cheese banner, which I found hilarious.

Processed cheese in Guyana is an acquired taste!

  • 35.
  • At 08:11 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Mark McCoy wrote:

Well what do you expect?
You're talking about places a long way away, both difficult & expensive to get to.

The Irish weren't expecting to get through, whilst the Eng.clearly think a pointless hammering v.The Aussies is of more importance to them!

Credit however, to anyone who does get out there, but not the easiest places, just to hop on to a plane & roll up to.
Though do hope loads get out there, as the tournament needs the crowds & the locals the tourist dollar, carbon footprints, not withstanding.....

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