After six weeks of plenty of wine, no women and enough baccy, biscuits and beer to keep a small band of sailors happy from here to the Cape of Good Hope, England have won The Ashes 3-1 in Australia.
An Ashes win of this magnitude can never be described as anti-climatic, so I can only put this feeling down to the sense of inevitability that has, despite disappearing on the odd occasion, been in my heart and head since the Aussies were 3 for 2 at Adelaide.
At 00.56, when Michael Beer dragged Chris Tremlett onto his stumps, the Barmy Army went up and roared in unison and Nasser Hussain fluffed his lines with a rubbish comment about Champagne on ice, I allowed myself a slurp of wine, a punch of the air and a roll of a fresh fag. I gave the dog a stroke, thanked him for 23 nights of devotion and sat back with the smug satisfaction of a sated supporter and a tired but happy journalist.
The hyperbole has been packed away and the subjective superlatives cast aside. I’ve done all my speculating, ranting, rating and swearing. Apart from the odd wine-fuelled snooze, I’ve barely missed a ball of this series and, with all bluster aside, have enjoyed every second immensely.
The first paragraph I wrote way back when told you how much I love Test cricket, with its ebbs and flows, canters and lulls, and that, like Herpes, cricket is with you for life. A big itch has been scratched here, and I’ve just updated my 12th man membership so I can be at a few tests when we play India next summer.
I’ve laughed at Bumble, said some horrible things about Mitchell Johnson, dined out on the woes of Ponting and shoe-horned as many hackneyed metaphors, analogies and digs at Shane Warne’s toothy advertisements as possible in the name of cricket.
If you stayed up to watch the presentation ceremony then you’ll know that Cook was rightly Man of the Series, that Jimmy Anderson can’t have been far behind and that, in perhaps the worst show of sour grapes in the history of sport, Ricky Ponting decided to leave the presentation of the urn to an embarrassed Michael Vaughan. Nonsense. I’ve never seen Michael Vaughan move so quickly afterwards.
At the risk of repetition, England have comfortably out-performed Australia in all areas bar Perth, and the future glitters. Should you wish to re-read anything I’ve said, there are a few thousand words of digital chip wrappers to be found on this site.
If not, here are ten awards that are in no way definitive and are glaring in their subjectivity.
Thanks to anyone who has re-tweeted, commented, called me an utter faggot or just enjoyed my coverage.
I cannot deal with looking at Bumble and Botham in the Southern-Hemisphere, the short sleeved shirts make them look like a couple of technicians from a crisp factory. Too much forearm for HD.
The Fred Trueman Stick That In Your Pipe and Smoke it Award…
A frail, green top bully who would apparently fold like a pack of cards with the soft ball and hard pitches and be spanked all around the former penal colony. Stuck two fingers so far up that notion and ‘Aussie’ that he now controls Ricky Ponting’s brain from his bathroom.
The Steve Harminson Filthy Longhop Award
Bowled so much garbage that he’s been adopted as the patron saint of bin men the world over. The odd destructive spell aside, Johnson was shown up by Anderson and co as a fragile bully who, to borrow a phrase from Freddie Trueman, ‘couldn’t bowl a hoop down a hill.’ Heavily tattooed, fake-snarling pussy with the mental fortitude of a bowl of milk-sodden weetabix.
The Donald Bradman Greedy Run Glutton Award
Like Anderson, a player ridiculed for his apparent frailty and thought of as a potential rabbit. Oh yeah he’s a rabbit alright. A big one with balls that drag along the floor and with the vision, timing and technique of a run machine sent from the future to shaft the ass out of Australian cricket. 766 runs @ 126.7. Heroic.
The Ten Minutes That Defined The Series Award
Second Test; First Session
Katich run out by Trott, Ponting out for a golden duck to a snorter from Anderson and Clarke going shortly after. 3 for 2, Barmy Army going mental, me drinking wine with fury and the tweet feed blaring. The official changing of the guard.
The Geoff Boycott Partisan Commentary Award
As Ponting furiously walked to Strauss at Adelaide over some perceived sledging, Michael Vaughan, on TMS, said the following. “Don’t pretend you’re the leader now, you’re on a King Pair, worry about you own batting.”
The Don’t Lecture Us on The Spirit of Cricket Award
Ricky Ponting & Phil Hughes
For his rant at Aleem Dar in the fourth test, Ponting rightly lost 40% of his match fee. For celebrating a catch that fucking bounced in the fifth and final test, Phil Hughes and the cheats who patted him on the back should be stripped naked and flogged.
The More Please Vicar Award
By scoring a watchful 50 in the crucial fourth test, Pietersen proved that he doesn’t have to ‘bat like that’ – shorthand for ‘get himself into good positions before playing a shot of such startling stupidity that he should be sent packing to Cape Town.’ I know he has averaged 60, but you get the feeling that he should have cashed in further. Getting bored is no excuse, we need him to cut out the shit if we’re to get to number one and stay there.
The Forcing a Square Peg into a Round Hole Award
Australian Selection Committee
Xavier Doherty and Steve Smith might one day turn out to be fine cricketers, but they are the walking, non-spinning embodiment of all that is wrong with Australian Cricket. Poor Doherty was systematically broken down by KP and will take a long time to recover. That’ll teach them to promote a bowler with an average that a batsman would be proud of. Idiots.
The Thing I Kept Meaning to Mention but Forgot Award.
Short Sleeved Shirts
Really distressed me, which is probably why I have refused to mention it. I cannot deal with looking at Bumble and Botham in the Southern-Hemisphere, the short sleeved shirts make them look like a couple of technicians from a crisp factory. Too much forearm for HD.
The And Finally He Just Gets an Award for Being Him Award.
David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd
Since I first heard Bumble while watching county cricket on a huge comedown in Tenerife in 1999, I’ve loved him. Talks absolute cod-shit at times but he’s often the life, soul and party of the Sky commentary operation. Hilarious as Third-Man, good with Beef and knock down brilliant with Warney. Ace eyebrows.
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