Ashes 2015 – Cardiff Says Australia

 

I could have been in a different country this morning when I explored Cardiff Town.

As is my want I started chatting with the locals and when I mentioned cricket every red dragon said “I hope the Aussies win”. Extended further they said we are more friendly than them across the border. Makes you want to love the Welsh.

One of the beauties of this fiercely republican (my words) town is the close proximity to the centre of town for their main stadiums – the Millennium Stadium which even traverses the River Taff at some points, and the Sophia Gardens Cricket Ground. The home of the Glamorgan Cricket Club.

Charlie Windsor made a surprise visit when I was at the ground this morning and those with a royal bent waved at his entourage. I don’t think Charlie ever played cricket but his dad was a handy player. Wonder what he said to our players?

I left the ground with “Popeye” a Mancurian who has been driving the Australians around for the last four tours of England. He loves the Aussies and is best mates with the doyen of security men Frank Dimasi. As usual when I met up with Frank all he wanted to talk about was Collingwood and he was sure Dangerfield would be playing with them next year. Does a great job does Frank but he must be under immense pressure in making sure that all is “OK” on tour given the state of the world at the moment. Would not want his job for quids.

The inner city was typical of what you see in Great Britain. Only thing that stood out for me was the number of people smoking and they where people of all ages. Cigarette butts were everywhere. The main mall (Queen Street) contains four statues – mother and son, the worker, the family and Aneurin Bevan (1897 – 1960) the local politician who was the architect of the National Health Service under the Attlee government. Only one statue had been shat upon. You guessed it! The one of Aneurin Bevan. The local birds around here aren’t dumb. Why would they after thousands of years competing with the Red Dragon. It looks like Bevan’s head had not been cleaned for years.

My interest in statues had increased since I became involved in The Roo Project to construct a statue of the great 32 in his home town of Waikerie in the South Australian Riverland. These statues epitomise the very fabric of Cardiff and Wales just like I hope Roo’s will in Waikerie. The only opposition for the statue has come from Port supporters who ask “who is going to clean the shit off?” Gotta love those Power supporters!

Spoke with some of the team who like the rest of us have been shattered by the untimely death of Phil Walsh. Those players with a great interest in the AFL found it hard to believe that such a thing could happen. There is no doubt that sport embraces young people with different skills at the top level and the players’ words echoed what we have been reading and seeing about back home. Vale Phil, a good man who transcended other areas of sport with dignity and skill.

With the first Test Match still two days away I was getting a sense from the players I chatted with that they are very confident of victory without being too confident. Whispers suggest that there are a couple of hard decisions to be made and they mainly concern the Marshes. Coaching chairman Rod and Brothers Shaun and Mitch.

As the selector on duty I don’t envy Rod’s position. Will it be Shaun for Chris Rogers or Adam Voges? Could Mitch usurp Watson in the middle order and be the backup seam bowler?

What about Mitch Johnson? The word has it that both Starc and Hazelwood will get the nod but will Johnson hold his place despite his heroics of the last series.

For mine I think “old iron gloves” and “Boof” will opt for the following – Rogers, Warner, Smith, Clarke, Voges, Watson, Haddin, Johnson, Starc, Hazelwood and Lyon. The Marsh brothers will be unlucky as they have not put a foot wrong on tour so far.

England will fight hard under their new Aussie coach but the Australians seem to have the runs on the board after a good lead up tour of the West Indies. England struggled against New Zealand and it will be up to their bowling attack led by Anderson and Broad to get them into the game. It is hard to see their batsmen taking control unless the Australian attack drops in form.

One up in Wales and the locals will be pleased. After all we (the Welsh) are friendlier than the English.

 

About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.

Comments

  1. The Welsh are Irish people who can’t swim. Like them.
    Aussies need to go 1 up here. You never want to be playing catch up on foreign soil.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Enjoy the tour, Bob! Obviously the Welsh aren’t a fan of the silent W in the ECB

  3. Peter Flynn says

    Statues devoted to anybody connected to the NHS aren’t exactly treated with reverence in these parts.

    Listen to the LBC or Five Live phone-in day in day out.

    PF

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