Adelaide and The Ashes

I’ve always like Adelaide but never been a fan of the cricket. Having said that, sport is a wonderful thing. It brings people together. It’s social and generally a happy occasion. So when Ted said we’d been asked to the cricket in Adelaide I thought great. That will be fun. It’s a corporate occasion and they are generally well organised and nice events to attend.

For those who aren’t familiar with The Ashes test match, below is some background .

Adelaide itself is such a lovely city. The old architecture has been maintained. The red brick and sandstone buildings along with other gothic designs really make this city quite beautiful.

With a population of just over 1 million, it’s a city big enough to have a variety of places of interest, restaurants and shops without making it difficult to get around. Recently we were in Shanghai with a population of 26 million. The comparison of 1 million to 26 million is a feeling of a slower more relaxed pace. Shanghai felt like you had to always be on high alert. Looking sideways, backwards, forwards to avoid running into something or being hit by a passing bike or car. The increased awareness required in a city of 26 million gives a feeling of being always on guard. It’s busy and fast paced.

Today walking to the cricket, there was a good vibe. Adelaide was buzzing with happy relaxed people. Today’s match is a day nighter, the Ashes. Australia versus England. The English are here to support their team and cricket enthusiasts have travelled from all over Australia to be here also.

Waiting to have breakfast this morning it was obvious that cricket is predominantly a sport enjoyed by males. Small groups of men of all ages from early 20’s to 60’s + gathered in the local cafes and bars close to the Adelaide oval in anticipation of the games.

The atmosphere is one of chums, sitting chatting and laughter. I found myself listening at times to conversations these small groups of men were having with there mates. They were relaxed and just ‘chewing the fat’ as the saying goes. No stress, no work conversations, just chit chat. A bit about their partners, about people they knew, what they did last night. Nothing intense or to deep and meaningful.

On arrival to the ground we were greeted with the usual ticket scanning and check of the bags then directed to the corporate area.

We gathered with the others who would share the corporate box with us and headed to our designated area.

It’s always nice having a room to slip away into if the weather conditions aren’t favourable for outdoor spectating.

Adelaide Oval.

The rain showered down softly as the crowd gathered in the stands. The invited guests in our box gathered, shook hands and introductions happened. With a hand shake and eye contact names were told and cities of origin enquired about. Once this was all established people helped themselves to the drinks on offer and began to mingle.

For those here in a business sense it’s a networking opportunity. For any of us who have been invited to the event it’s a real pleasure. Everyone is happy to be here.

It’s soon decided by officials that the rain has subsided for now and the protective covers for the pitch can be removed. The games starts and the finger food is brought around by the waiters assigned to our box. Sandwiches, little individual curries but most of all I enjoyed the party pies.

Australia are batting. The crowd roars as a batsman Peter Handscomb went out early in the first 5 minutes but a crucial partnership between Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine helped Australia into a strong position at tea on day two of this test match.

5 O’clock and the massive oval lights are switched on. The crowd claps as the special hot pink ball for day night matches is belted by Shaun Marsh to the boundary. The score stands at 7/372. England are yet to bat. The Australian just hit another boundary hit. Another 4 runs on the scoreboard.

For a while the women gather inside away from the cool breeze. It’s the sort of conversation you have with people you don’t know that well. We sit and chat about our kids, schools and dogs for a while, whilst the men brave the elements. It’s a cool day, not the sunny cricket day we’d hoped for.

1810 hours, the crowd erupts, Shaun Marsh hits a century. His 5th in 25 matches. There are cheers and clapping abound.

At 1830 dinner is served. Everyone comes inside to sit and have their meal. The room is noisy with multiple conversations underway.

The boys head back outside and the girls continue their conversations. Holidays, careers and family are discussed. There are multiple episodes of cheers and clapping throughout the crowd in the stadium as 4’s and 6’s are hit by the Australians.

At 1915 hours Australia declares, it’s 8/442. It’s England’s turn to bat. I’m told England had never batted under lights. It’s a tactic to gain advantage. The Australians are hoping to bowl a few out before the end of the days play.

A spectator catches my eye. I’m guessing he’s barracking for England.

The feeling is that England are in trouble. 2005hours and the first English batsman is out! And to make this sweeter the waiter just brought out mini magnum ice creams and desserts.

We have now been here 8 hours and there has been a continual presence of group after group doing the roof top walk. This is clearly lucrative activity for the organisers judging by the amount of people who have signed up for it today.

Rooftop walkers

It’s now a cool 14 degrees celsius in North Adelaide and the girls have retreated back inside again. It’s not long after and rain interrupts play at 2030hours, the covers are out to protect the pitch and the players have retreated into the pavilion. The men in our group come into join the girls. The crowd thins in the grandstands, many deciding to call it a day. At 2100hours it’s announced that play has been abandoned.

We stay in for another hour enjoying another couple of drinks and each other’s company. We thank the organisers for the day and our invite and walk 1.7kms to the nice The Majestic Rooftop Garden hotel where we are spending the night.

This was my first Ashes match and an enjoyable one at that!

Lucy x

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