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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 06:31 GMT
Drink to be merry
By Phil Long
BBC Sport's man with the Barmy Army

It's not easy supporting England.

So when the boys win not one, not two, but three World Cup games in a row, it's certainly a cause for celebration.

The first of those victories came, as expected, against Holland at East London and the Barmy Army made the most of Buffalo Park's position just a stone's throw from the beach after the match.

England fans celebrate
So far it has been good times all the way for the Barmy Army

The drinking had only just begun when six England fans took it upon themselves to vault over the balcony at the back of the beachside Buccaneer Pub, sprint over the beach, disrobe, and indulge in a celebratory "skinny-dip" in the sea.

Unfortunately for them, their fellow supporters were quick to follow and relieve them of their clothing, leaving them to wander sheepishly back to the pub with their "family jewels" barely covered.

The second victory against Namibia was not quite as straightforward and there were numerous enquiries as to whether anyone on the grassy bank at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth had a copy of the Duckworth-Lewis scoring system and a calculator.

However, with victory in the bag it was off to celebrate again.

Inexplicably, Wednesday night is the night PE's young and beautiful come out to play and so the Barmy Army's less-than-beautiful veterans made a bee-line for the "in" places in town.

The dates and venues of England's group games mean there's little time to feel sorry for oneself after a big night out and several carloads of England fans were on the road to Cape Town the very next morning for an 800km trip.

Once there, we were all reminded why we head out to follow England overseas winter after winter.

James Anderson was a match-winner against Pakistan
Anderson is our new hero after his bowling against Pakistan

For a first time visitor to Newlands, it lived up to its reputation as one of the world's most scenic grounds as first the sun shone down over Table Mountain to be followed by sunset and then the glow of the floodlights.

What happened on the pitch was just as exciting as thousands of English supporters sang themselves hoarse as their new heroes Paul Collingwood and James "Don't call him Jimmy" Anderson saw England to a fantastic victory over Pakistan.

Cape Town might be a great place to watch cricket but it ain't a bad place to celebrate a cricket victory either.

The backpackers hostel I stayed in had one or two interesting stories shared across its breakfast table the following morning by a number of shame-faced individuals.

And so on to Durban.

Among the first to arrive was Vic Sparrow, who may be better known to those watching on TV as the fan with cigar and top-hat and who is a spitting image for Jimmy Saville.

Unfortunately for Vic, he was laid low by food poisioning just days after giving a newspaper interview where he praised the standard of South African food.

Let's hope he gets well soon because hopefully the celebrations are not over yet.




SEE ALSO
Time for the singing to begin
15 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Move over Jack Kerouac
29 Nov 02 |  The Ashes
Drowning English sorrows
25 Nov 02 |  The Ashes


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