3.21pm, Tuesday 14th December, The Clocktower, Yalumba, Angaston, South Australia
Folks, I have a confession to make. I know it’s unAustralian, but I really don’t like the game of cricket. I like the classic and colourful characters that have stepped into our popular folklore over the years, but the game … nope.
I went to one game 20 years ago to see the 16-year-old Indian batting phenomenon Sachin Tendulkar, playing Australia in a one day match, at the home of cricket history – The Adelaide Oval. It was summer. Stinking hot. Had to park the cars miles away and cart eskys and picnic baskets halfway across the city. Got a (treasured) spot on ‘the hill’ under the scoreboard in the full on heat and settled in for the day. Tendulkar strode to the crease to much applause, with the crowd on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what the sensation might produce. The bowler took an extra long run up, hurled the ball down the pitch, and Tendulkar … was out. First ball. In cricket speak, not just a ‘duck’ – out for no runs – but a ‘golden duck’ – out for no runs off the first ball faced. I remember asking at the time, “Is that it? Can we go home now?” That’s the sum total of my involvement in cricket.
So you can understand why – when I was in England last year working on the new premium wine release and Australia lost The Ashes – even though I was everyone’s closest Australian and copped a lot of flak – and the whole English nation had a collective loss of memory about years of rubbish cricket – their barbs were wasted on me. Now we have folks from the English wine trade coming to the winery to visit, brimming with confidence because of the way the current English cricket team are ploughing through the Australian bowlers and batsmen on their quest to retain The Ashes – in hostile territory. Which brings me to yesterday’s visitor, and the subject for today’s blog.
Have a look at the picture above – it’s freelance journo with the famous red and yellow stripes. Stuart is a bit of a comedian for an English bloke, and he was telling me that the Marylebone Cricket Club is THE proper MCC, not those pretenders, the ‘other’ MCC – known in this country as the Melbourne Cricket Club! (He can get away with that with me, but anywhere else in the country, they’d be fighting words!) Stuart’s MCC has its home pitch at Lord’s Cricket Ground in the London suburb of St John’s Wood – more famous, as far as I’m concerned, for the pedestrian zebra crossing just around the corner from the ground which The Beatles made famous on the front cover of their Abbey Road album – but that’s just me.
We were up at Pewsey Vale vineyard doing a comparative tasting between the 2010 Pewsey Vale and 2010 Heggies rieslings to show the differences in expression of aroma, flavour and texture in the wines with just 11 km between the two vineyards. Those are the wines set up on the tray of my new Hilux ute! The Pewsey is all lemon over lime at the moment in a big citrus fresh acid burst, and the Heggies is a bit more laid back with some perfume on the nose and a longer slippery palate. I wish I’d had a tupperware container of cold yabby tails and a bit of mayonnaise – would have been magic. And yep – it was a lovely day, a bit on the warm side. But that didn’t stop Stuart wearing his jumper! Just like the old saying goes – “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun”. Unless cricket is involved.
But thanks for coming by, Stuart, and I hope Santa has you on his list – only 12 sleeps now until he’ll be on his way! See you when it’s London, and with any luck – out of its big freeze.