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   Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 12:34 GMT
Barmy Army celebrate in style
England cricketers on a lap of honour after Sydney Test win
England players salute the Barmy Army


After two months of hard slogging across Australia, England's superb victory made us remember exactly why we go through the never-ending pain of watching them on the road.

Not only was England's win in the final Test something to savour but so was the support Nasser Hussain and his troops received throughout the match in Sydney.

Those of us fortunate to have watched the whole series were augmented by thousands of fans who had flown out just to see the two games at the MCG and SCG.

All five days of the Test must have felt like a home game for England as this inflated Barmy Army roared the boys onto victory.

The second and third days play saw the arrival of Australia's supposed answer to this mega-Barmy Army.

They are called The Fanatics and made their presence known with an array of songs far wittier than those previously heard from Australian fans.

England's Barmy Army
The Barmy Army enjoying the sunshine and cricket
However, they revealed their true colours when the so-called "beer wenches" they had hired for the day to collect their beers were ordered by the police to buy them no more due to their intoxicated state!

By the fourth day England supporters suddenly realised not only could we avert a 5-0 thrashing - we might just be seeing Australia's first defeat on home soil for four years.

That evening the Captain Cook pub near the ground was packed with English fans savouring Michael Vaughan's epic 183.

The predicted rain did not materialise so by the time I got to the SCG the road outside the ground was awash with English supporters queuing to get their ticket for the final day's play.

Just imagine what it would have been like had we actually won the Ashes...

And what a session that was as Andrew Caddick and his men tore the heart out of the Australian batting.

The hours after last man Stuart MacGill's stumps were demolished must have seen all sorts of records broken for alcohol consumption.

The Barmy Army carried on their party in the pubs and bars of Sydney.

I didn't find one bar in the city itself, or in infamous King's Cross strip, where the refrain of 'Hoooooo-sain's Barmy Army' couldn't be heard echoing down the street until the early hours.

And I was reminded of how much this win meant to some English supporters when three lads in my hostel dorm finally returned at 6am having celebrated our win to the max.

They were old enough to know better but after the tour we've had they deserved a little drink!

Just imagine what it would have been like had we actually won the Ashes...


You can contact Phil in Australia by emailing:
a_longwayfromhome@hotmail.com

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

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See also:

25 Dec 02 | The Ashes
11 Dec 02 | The Ashes
29 Nov 02 | The Ashes
25 Nov 02 | The Ashes
15 Nov 02 | The Ashes
01 Nov 02 | The Ashes
06 Nov 02 | The Ashes
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