A Day at the Oval – 10th September 2022

Now this blog may well cause many of you to raise your eyebrows as this is going to be all about cricket.  Before we get into the play of the day we wanted to let everyone know that this was the first sporting event since the Queen’s death where God Save the King was sung.

It was very special and emotional with the crowd singing at the top of their lungs. We do count ourselves very privileged to have been present.

Some of you may remember when about a month ago we were meant to go to Lords to see the fourth day of the first test between England and South Africa but we didn’t get to go as it finished at the end of the third day. We were pretty shattered by what happened.

We did have up our sleeve another day at the cricket though and this was the third and final test between England and South Africa at the Oval in London. Not the holy grail land of Lords but up there as it is where the Ashes were created. What are the Ashes you ask….well….

The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s 1882 victory at The Oval, its first Test win on English soil. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia”. The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882–83 series played in Australia, before which the English captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to “regain those ashes”. The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.

After England had won two of the three Tests on the tour, a small urn was presented to Bligh by a group of Melbourne  women including Florence Morphy , whom Bligh married within a year. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of a wooden bail, and were humorously described as “the ashes of Australian cricket”.It is not clear whether that “tiny silver urn” is the same as the small terracotta urn given to the MCC by Bligh’s widow after his death in 1927.

It would be almost impossible to get tickets to an Ashes test match in England as the grounds only have a capacity of 30,000 at the most and the tickets are coveted. We have tried in the past when in England to get tickets by going into a lottery but have never been successful.

The only reason we were lucky this time to get tickets to Lords and The Oval was because Karen’s husband Miles is a member of the Surrey Cricket Club whose home ground is The Oval.

Not only did he get tickets for us and his son Ben but we were undercover which is a huge bonus watching a cricket match in London.

It wouldn’t be cricket unless the covers had to come out and in our case we were lucky in that it only stopped play for 20 minutes.

The Oval is always memorable to kids growing up in Oz and NZ because of the huge gasometers you use to see on TV. The Oval is in the inner city suburb of Vauxhall which probably isn’t the  most salubrious of areas.

As to the cricket game of the day. We saw a total of 16 wickets fall which is unpresidented in a test match and South Africa all out for 118 before tea. England replied by being 7/154. England blew their opportunity to get further ahead.

All in all a great day!!!!!

Addendum – England did end up winning the third game in the three test series which made them two to South Africa’s one. It wasn’t the kind of test cricket we were use to and hopefully it is not indicative of the future of test cricket!!

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