So on to adelaide and the first of our sleepless nights to catch a plane at ridiculous o clock. Arrived in our hostel tired, boiling and dishevelled looking forward to a few hours sleep and a good meal to be confronted with the undisputed legend of our trip so far. Gareth.... a 6ft four, 18 stone bloke in a cricket shirt, practising his forward defensive in front of the mirror in true boycott fashion, with a face like a horse (he wont read this) blaring out 90's pop music from a s***ty ghettoblaster, in a room of 8 people. to those of you reading this who ive met on my travels, the man needs no introduction, but otherwise he can be described as 60% testosterone, 40% country bumpkin farmer boy, a huge 22 yr old cricket loving farmers boy from the west country (with an accent and booming voice to match) and arguably the most blokeish person ive ever met. Well this bloke pretty much rendered our stay in Adelaide a week of comedy and was one of the most bizzare people ive ever spoken to! A genuine barmy army legend and a good contact for us boys in our quest to 'get in wi' the barmy army.
Adelaide is often described as the most English city in Australia and us pommies are supposed to feel right at home there. The Aussies call it the 'City of Churches' and that pretty much sums it up. To be fair, we only got to spend about 3 days there outside of the test match, because of our trip to Kangaroo Island, but there definitely existed a disappointingly high church:good stuff ratio. It is certainly not party capital of Australia and I think a lot of people that we met up with were a bit disillusioned with the city at first. But I really warmed to it the time that we were there and would have liked a few more days there before moving west to perth. The whole layout of Adelaide and the scenery is very English and boasts some really cool botanic garden. It is definitely the most picturesque city ive seen in Australia so far and the Adelaide Oval cricket ground is definitely the best cricket ground ive ever been to. Its really oldy worldy with a proper old school scoreboard that takes about 10 people to operate and on the fourth day of the test, my mate managed to blag his way in and start pissing about with Ricky Pontings score, WWAAYYYY! And the cricket we saw in Adelaide was also a highlight, until the devastation of the 5th day. After the complete ineptitude of the performance at the Gabba, coupled with the football stadium feel of the ground in Brisbane with allocated seats and little Hitler security staff, Adelaide was a breath of fresh air. Rather than having allocated seats across the whole ground, the Adelaide Oval has a great big grassy bank, covering about one third of the ground, where the English fans congregated. With the schooners flowing and being allowqed to stand amongst the Aussie supporters as well, it made for a fantastic atmosphere and the first couple of days when England dominated with the bat (and for a little bit with the ball) were quite sadly probably the cricketing highlight of the trip so far! How we managed to spectacularly f*** up on the 5th day and pretty much seal our fate in the series is still a mystery but the first 80% of the test match was great fun and after the dull atmosphere at the Gabba, was actually great to indulge some supposed 'banter' with the never less than witty Aussies. ("f*** off back to england you pommie b******s" pretty much represents the level of humour and subtlety undertaken by many of the hillbillies that seemed to turn up in Adelaide, but theres really nothing quite like watching a drunk abusive village idiot being ejected at 3pm, struggling with the stewards, after one too many mid strength XXXX's) In truth we did actually have a great time with the Aus and English supporters on the banks of the Adelaide Oval and its definitely the best place to watch sport ive ever been to, a far cry from soulless, all seater stadia.
While in Adelaide we also went along to a Barmy Army v Fanatics (the Aussie equivalent of the Barmy Army) 'test match'. These are held on the eve of every test in each city and are basically a 20 over a side knockabout. It was good fun watching, (particularly as our old chum Gareth backed up his boasts of a score of 75 in Brisbane with a second ball duck here!) until I thought I might have to face some 80 mph brett lee lookalike but luckily manged to worm my way out of that. I did manage to get interviewed for Channel 9 TV tho, giving my highly refined, considered, Victoria Bitter influenced views on the Battle for the Ashes, touring with the Barmy Army and generally making a tit of myself on camera. hmmmm....
Unfortunately Englands defeat was possibly not even the sporting lowlight of our time in Adelaide, as we were 'lucky' enough to watch Spurs' 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on the Saturday night with Darren Gough! It was rather a depressing end to a great night out, but watching football at crazy times here, it would become a recurring theme. Still, never thought i'd here an ex-england fast bowler call Graham Poll a f***ing p****
So with three days left after the test match and with not-a-lot-of-stuff-to-do in Adelaide, me nick and our mate scott, decided to make a little trip to Kangaroo Island....