AS THE dust settles from Australia's Ashes series victory, a Lancashire employ reflects...
Shane Palmer, a member of the Guest Services team here at Emirates Old Trafford, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He came to Manchester this summer and is loving life in the UK. However, after watching his beloved Australia struggle in England during the recent Investec Ashes series, will he still be smiling after the series Down Under?
Shane will be writing a blog during the course of the current Ashes series on what it’s like to be an Aussie In Lancashire.
It’s Christmas Time!
Well almost. It certainly came early for Australia the other night, after beating you guys in Perth, taking a 3-0 lead in the series and regaining the urn!
The hurt is over, and Australia has finally emerged from the doldrums and beaten the old enemy!
“You get sick of losing,” said Captain Michael Clarke.
“This is the pinnacle for an Australian cricketer.”
But I’ll not gloat too much – I do like having a job here…
What a magnificent fight by the tourists in the fourth innings though.
Ben Stokes, in just his second Test match, led England’s fight-back with a brilliant 120 on a cracked and shifting WACA wicket.
It is truly a shame that it’s taken England so long to finally put a decent innings together, but there is a lot of pride left to regain in the following two tests – Alastair Cook has been part of a 5-0 series before, and will do everything possible to avoid a repeat.
For the Aussies, Mitchell Johnson’s stellar performances have been simply too-much and it’s been fantastic seeing one of cricket’s most talented bowlers return to the top of his game.
Another promising sign for Australia was the top-order finally scoring some runs – without desperately relying on Michael Clarke.
Warner, Watson and Smith all scored centuries, of which the latter two urgently needed to keep their place in the side.
The festive season is in full swing around Lancashire at the moment, turkeys are being bought, cards sent, presents wrapped and parties enjoyed.
In a bid to sample more of the sporting flavours of the North West, I turned out for Eccles Rugby Club on Saturday against Bury.
Bury’s gargantuan seven-foot-tall second-rower was gracious enough to re-arrange a few of my ribs in the opening minutes of the match, which was very kind of him and probably good for the greater success of the Commonwealth.
Post-match nudity aside (it must be an English thing) the day went well.Our hosts were kind enough to put on a Christmas dinner after the match, and the turkey & ham made up for the 15-nil battering we endured.
Nothing can really prepare a non-Brit to the sheer fanaticism and obsession with football here. The support and following of the game eclipses all else, but it does get a little strange at times.
After going to one West Ham match last May, I keep getting emails off Sam Allardyce. While he is yet to ask me around for tea or to help with his matchday tie-selection, he did send me an email titled: “Shane, We're looking in the market at a frontline attacking player.”
Sadly I don’t have that many frontline attacking player’s to spare at the moment, but it is always nice to have English people be including and keep you in the loop.
On a sad note, this may have been the last test match at the WACA for some time. Cricket Australia has opted to not stage any of the four tests against India next summer in Perth, stating that ‘the venue no longer meets international standards.'
A true shame, as the WACA is one of the few remaining old-style cricket grounds in Australia, with its famous grassy hills, renowned Fremantle-doctor breeze and uniquely bouncy wicket.
Next up is the Boxing Day Test in my hometown of Melbourne. England is “hurting” according to Cook, and will be desperate to regain some pride after Christmas.
Until then, thanks for reading, and from everyone at Lancashire CCC; enjoy the holidays!