Having embraced this revolutionary scanner technology, I’m going to fire up some photos from the vault. You can click on the photos to make them bigger.
This was one one of my best sporting days out ever – New Zealand v Australia in the 1999 Cricket World Cup in Cardiff. Me and three of me besht mates made the train trip from London the night before, and after an evening out dodging short, angry Welsh men wound up to punching point by pissed antipodeans trying to steal their girlfriends, we woke up and made our way to the ground. Possibly the biggest cheer of the day came early when then-Wales Rugby coach Graham Henry (still the Great Redeemer at that stage) and Raewyn came past trying to find their seat.
We had great seats, if a little side-on. Behind us sat an English cricket boffin in a ‘I got dressed in the dark’ pink shirt. He’d bought his hand written notebook of handy stats, and scribbled away happily all day. We’d get questions like “Whatever happened to random under-20 player that toured England seven years ago we didn’t have a fucking clue about? I thought he might have been playing?”. Bless.
Behind us and to the side – an Aussie wearing only a mullet and Aussie flag boxers – I shit you not. He had an amazing array of songs and chants and mixed it up all day, not repeating himself once*. We soon discovered the beer tent, and spent most of the accumulation period getting fairly arseholed under the warm Cardiff sun. I forget what we were having, but it was served in proper plastic pint glasses. Very civilised.
As for the match, Geoff Allot took out the openers, and except for Lehmann’s Micheal Beven-impressions, the Aussies had nothing, really. 213 was the target and the between-innings beer queue murmurings were cautiously optimistic. Until we came out and started losing wickets. The Aussies were going through us like Kim Hughes goes through tissues, until Roger Twose and Chris Cairns started turning things around, taking singles until they caught and passed the run rate, and started playing shots. In the haze, I can remember Cairns twice hitting Warne back over his head into the river running behind the ground. Glorious. Cairns went with a dozen or so to go, but we were all but there.
When the winning runs were hit, there was nothing to do but run on the field. I turned to shake hands with Pink Shirt, and he waved me on, saying “Enjoy it lads”. We bloody did, getting the obligatory ‘lying on the pitch!’ (above), and the ‘in front of the scoreboard on the day we wasted the Aussies! The bloody Aussies!’ (below) photo ops. Then it was back to the train station for the three hour journey home with the Aussie fans. Nice.
Then we lost to Pakistan in the semi, the Aussies somehow won theirs, and they only went and won the bloody thing. Still, I’ll always have Cardiff.
*this isn’t true.