England outplay Australia to win Ashes series 2-1 in what is described as “best series ever.”

It has looked promising at various points over the Summer, at least since the disappointing 1st Test at Lords, that England might take the previously all-conquering Aussies, however it only just occurred to me that they haven’t won the Ashes since I have legally been able to drink!

I was 15 when Mike Gatting’s team returned victorious from Down Under in 1987, because of the time difference I don’t remembered watching anymore than news highlights. I remember far more from the 1981 series and the euphoria surrounding it. I was 9 and I wanted to be Ian Botham, except I wanted to play for Surrey!

I love cricket, always have done, I can’t ever remember not being interested in it even tho’ I don’t think I got to play it until I was about 11. It is the ultimate mad game for statistics obsessed lunatics and being able to understand the rules almost makes one part of a select band!

This Test series has been one that I genuinely suspect I will remember for the rest of my life, one of those things you tell your children and grandchildren about watching, the players, the atmosphere and the tension. Every game has been something of a classic, the sportsmanship has been surprisingly good between the two old foes.

Cricket is the only sport I support England in, it is rather strange to be cheering along with the people I am in other sports in direct opposition to. I am pleased for the team tho’, they have given performances that have given us a great deal of entertainment and the series has been a great advert for English cricket.

It is therefore all the more ironic and untimely in the light of such a wonderful summer of cricket that it marks the end not just of the great Ritchie Benaud’s tenure on English television but also the end of terrestrial tv coverage of cricket as the ECB in their great wisdom have sold the entire rights to Sky the UK’s Murdoch owned satellite broadcaster.

Once again capitalism shoots itself in the foot, the availability of cricket on mainstream television coupled with the quality of the matches of this series has made cricket popular again. Those not normally taken with it, along with fanatics like me have been enthralled for 7 weeks, kids have been playing it in parks again, and the Ashes victory comes amidst the culture of despondency at England’s latest football performances including a recent loss to Northern Ireland (not that I’m suppressing a snigger at that at all you understand!) And yet the ECB’s decision to sell the game for their 10 pieces of silver means that the game is destined to return to obscurity again just as the Winter tours have been for some years since their switch. It’s a shame and the premature end to an era just as it was starting to get interesting.

Finally a last farewell to Ritchie Benaud, perhaps the strangest looking man on tv and one who in the current norm of the “right image” would never break thru’. Nevertheless this is a man who has been the voice and face of cricket for decades and that his voice along with Messers Arlott, Laker and Johnson will not be heard is really rather sad. It is another thing that marks the end of something concrete that links me with my childhood.

Song Of The Day ~ Booker T & The MGs – Soul Limbo

Original Comments:

Haddock made this comment,
Fantastic news on the ashes. Wish I was back in England to have seen it all. At least I could get updates from the internet. Sad to see Ritchie Benaud retire he has a tremendous voice. It’s a bloody outrage that cricket coverage has gone to sky TV, just when cricket is has become appealing again to the masses 🙂 …and I think this may have been the test series of our generation if not our lives….I’ll have to buy the DVD! 🙂
comment added :: 13th September 2005, 07:44 GMT+01 ::
Brett made this comment,
Well, Richie will still be on Ch9 here in Australia this summer.
Gotta wonder about the logic of a test series running late enough where every day was affected with “bad light” for the last test

-Redbaron responds – Well the bad light on the last day was a red herring, and the light on the 2nd and 3rd days was pretty ok it was a staggering decsion of the Aussies to take it when offered. You could have had the series earlier but it’s rained most of the summer so take your pick. Since the 5th test finished the weather here especially in the evening has been excellent! –

comment added :: 13th September 2005, 14:08 GMT+01 ::
Lizard Breath made this comment,
hey RB – missed ya. life is f’ing crazy right now, and I’m still not sure where exactly I belong in it – ya know? anyway…great blog as always.
comment added :: 13th September 2005, 19:48 GMT+01