The Ashes – First Test, Days 2,3: Man on a Mission (and I’m not Steve Smith)


It seems to me that every Ashes series is about redemption and missions to claim what is theirs. Take season 2006/2007 where the aim was to return the urn following England’s moment of triumph, or 4 years later where England wanted revenge for a whitewash (only to suffer it again three years after that). It seems this Australian captain is on his own mission to win back the urn even if it means he has to do most of the work with the blade himself.


Personally I had my own mission to attend to over the first few days of the series. In the past I’ve looked for something different rather than just retelling the on field action, after all with most of the attention on the potential rise and rapid decline in One Nation, getting my message out became harder to pick than many of the seats in the state election (don’t worry I voted, informally because none of the candidates in my seat were worthy of getting a vote but it looks like Rockhampton is going to be stuck with the mayor calling the shots from Brisbane, a fate as bad as Malcolm Roberts). Sure the attritional nature of the Test seems like a throwback to the old days but that did get everyone’s attention. After all I think we had a record low number of beach ball confiscations and even the Barmy Army didn’t really get going until they decided to make the Richies on Day 2 their mortal enemy. If that wasn’t enough there was also the proposal in the pool that generated as many headlines but won’t be as remembered by the population as the Rumble in the Jungle or even The Fight to Knock the Other Out (Simpsons reference). This time however I had another purpose that made me pay attention.


An Ashes tour naturally brings out English tourists looking for some sun but it also brings out all kinds of supporter gear and replica shirts. As I entered the ground on Day 2, my mission became more than just watching Shaun Marsh try to make another return (triumphant or otherwise) to the Test arena, more than still reminding Stuart Broad that he was a “Westpac Banker”, even more than trying to influence Tim Paine about the intricacies of the well projected “NIIIIIICCCEEE GARRRRRRY!”. This time I was on the hunt to spot the rarest English Football (that’s The World Game, or Soccer to the uninitiated) shirt that someone produced. The only stipulation I had was that it had to be at least a replica shirt, not a club shop purchased polo or screen-printed knock off.


Most popular football shirt at the cricket came down to a battle between Leeds United and Newcastle United. Sitting behind Leeds fans on Day 2 helped get the ball rolling, even if we had to put up with the gloating as David Warner went half-baked pulling a slowish chest high delivery to short mid wicket. It was easy to pick out Geordie fans as well, just by sheer number. What I didn’t bank on was that the rarest top of Day 1 happened to belong to an Aussie, sitting in the row behind me was some guy wearing a North Queensland Fury top. For those that don’t remember, back when Shaun Marsh was about to start his trek to the first opportunity he would have at test level the Fury made their foray into the A-League. By the time Marsh had been axed for the first time, the Fury were consigned to the history books after a tenure as long as many of the old NSL clubs had.


Trying to see if I could find any other smaller club worth mentioning on Day 2 proved to be reasonably successful, with clubs such as Rochdale (League 1) and Southport (National League North, tier 6) amongst the finds. Venturing downstairs to the Barmy Army area proved less successful, both in my search and for Peter Handscomb who was as plumb as anything yet it required forensics (3rd Umpire) to overturn a not out decision. In fact the champion club for Day 1 wasn’t a soccer club at all, but a Rugby League team. There was someone in the crowd wearing a DEWSBURY RAMS jersey, a club that plays in the National League in England (below the Super League, top 4 get a shot at promotion).


Day 3 saw me notice red shirts in the adjoining bay as the negative Yorkshire Wall tactics was enough to turn off punters from the on field action. Barnsley (spent a single season in the Premier League, now in the Championship) was an early clubhouse leader. Attention at least returned to the field as the strange tactics of Joe Root saw the deficit reduce as slowly as my HECS debt, so lunch was a chance to continue the search (and to dip out in both the Ballarat and Sydney quaddie). Amongst the discoveries were shirts from Doncaster Rovers (League 1), Oxford United (League 1), Lincoln City (League 2), Crewe Alexandra (League 2) and even Luton Town (recently promoted back to League 2) and York City (National League North). However the Australians trumped the English again just like Josh Hazlewood (who bowled ordinarily in the first dig) trumped both Cook and Vince before England regained the lead on the field. The NBL is in a resurgent mode recently, but how many remember the fact that Sydney had 2 teams from 1998/99? He had no number on the back, but I’m sure that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a West Sydney Razorbacks singlet worn to the cricket, or even let out of mothballs for years. The bloke who wore it I’m sure may have either been related or been himself the guy at South Bank parkrun that morning who wore a Jason Cadee #5 Sydney Kings top, but kudos to him for daring to be different.


Hopefully this article dares to be different in its own way too, not as different as some of the captaincy from Joe Root but different all the same.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The holy grail would have to be Barnestoneworth United FC Mick. Any chance of an Adelaide Rams top appearing next week?

  2. One wonders what will spring up in Adelaide.

    Anyway, the comprehensive list of shirts seen over the 2 days I was really looking was as follows…..

    Leeds United
    Newcastle United
    Birmingham City
    West Brom
    Leicester City
    West Ham
    Brighton and Hove Albion
    Sheffield Wednesday
    Bradford City
    Manchester United
    Sheffield United
    Tottenham Hotspur
    Wolverhampton Wanderers
    Oldham Athletic
    Manchester City
    Nottingham Forest
    Doncaster Rovers
    Charlton Athletic
    Wigan Athletic
    Hull City
    Oxford United
    Queens Park Rangers
    Lincoln City
    Crewe Alexandra
    Hartlepool United
    Bristol Rovers
    Aston Villa
    Luton Town
    York City
    Sheffield United


  3. Brilliant, Mick !!

  4. Well played Mick glad you found a QPR shirt very entertaining read

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