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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 17:14 GMT
St John's, Antigua

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Phil Long, BBC Sport's man with the Barmy Army, takes an alternative look at the cities where England will play on their tour of the West Indies.

Here, Phil casts his eye over Antigua and the island's capital, St John's, which houses the Recreation Ground.


After Barbados, the English masses move on to Antigua for the final Test of the series hoping the large amount of cash they have splashed out on match tickets will be worthwhile.

If you only know one thing about Antigua before you head out there, it will probably be that it boasts 365 beaches. Yes, that is one for every day of the year!

The one closest to St John's is Fort James and other good beaches are those at Trafalgar Beach, Deep Bay and Half Moon Bay.

If you want to go totally back to nature then one of the four beaches at Hawksbill is for nudists only.

If you are lazing on the beach in late afternoon then be careful of the tiny sandflies (known locally as Noseeums) that can give you a nasty bite. Bring plenty of repellent.

RECREATION GROUND, ST JOHNS
Population: 24,000 (St Johns)
Airport: VC Bird Airport, five miles from city centre
Money: 1 = 4.83 East Caribbean dollar
Time: four hours behind GMT
Average temperature:23-29C in April
Rainfall: nine days on average in April
British High Commission: None
Matches: 4th Test (10-14 April)

St John's itself has got little to encourage English visitors to stay and explore, but a couple of big bucks places have sprung up in recent times.

Heritage Quay is a multimillion-dollar place full of duty free shops, restaurants and a casino, while Redcliffe Quay is a collection of restored historical buildings full of tourist shops.

Away from St John's is English Harbour, considered one of the best yachting centres in the world and which, at night, draws in tourists from all over the island.

As well as the various places to spend the evening, English Harbour has a ton of historical sights that recount Antigua's position when the English navy ruled the waves.

It might be the largest of the Leeward Islands, but Antigua is a mere 15 miles by 12 miles so hire a scooter and zip around the island if you're feeling confident.

Despite the fact thousands of English visitors will descend on Antigua for the final Test, England have never in fact won a Test here and the three defeats have all been on the wrong side of heavy.

Last time out they managed to grab defeat from the jaws of a draw when they lost their last seven wickets for just 26 runs to hand the Windies victory by an innings and 52 runs.

And on one of the two occasions when England avoided defeat, back in April 1994, they were on the wrong end of one of the most fantastic innings in Test history with one Brian Charles Lara, making a then record 375.





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