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West Indies = beer, chicken, cricket - Tour Review

West Indies = beer, chicken, cricket, music, rum, sun, plus loads of good times.

There has already been a plethora of 'tour diary' emails going around so basically I will be plagiarising them but also adding my unique blend of creativity and wit........in other words I'll be rearranging their words.

Here are some of the more memorable moments surrounding this once in a life time tour:

The Bajan Party Tent was where we watched the 3rd test in Barbados. It sure did assist us on doing a number on ourselves.

All you can drink and 3 meals for the day- what more could you want?

This was where we discovered a drink that would change our lives ; SURGE. Now surge is similar to a lemon ruski I guess. Could be considered a girl's drink and if we were in a pub in London or Aust then it probably wouldn't have been our drink of choice.

But the drinking man's rule book was thrown out the window and the boys were ordering Surge by the tray full. We set up a Surge area close to the bar, we made songs up about it, we stuck Surge stickers all over each other, we offered cups of it to players fielding near us, we drank it, breathed it, lived it.

Days in the party tent followed a strict routine.

First session, everyone got their seats, had breakie, cracked open the 1st beer of the day and were generally well behaved.

Second session - after finishing off the chicken for lunch, people begin to move about, decimal level got higher and higher, dancing shoes were put on and most had switched to Surge (if they hadn't already been drinking it all day), by the 3rd session we are all off our ti...faces, all standing down the front, bodies crushed against the 2.5m mesh fence, plenty of singing, attempting to get reactions from players, jumping over one another if we believed we could get on TV, lots of bonding, lots of love.

Incidentally, after the days play the routine basically was to find a maxi taxi, give the driver a hard time, finally agree on a price, pile in, open all the windows, deafen the driver with our singing, yell, scream, give the thumbs up and go 'AAAAAAAAAAAA' to every person we went past, get to the destination, give the driver more grief, finally pay him and then drink some more (on a couple of occasion there were battle royals within the cab, people exiting through the windows, and the odd person getting nude in the hope of receiving a discount - never seem to work though).

The nightlife in Barbados was second to none

Everyday of the week at least one pub/club had a good deal going and that's where you could find a few hundred Aussies going mad. Cheap too - A$30 and you get in the door and all your drinks are included.

Harbour Lights was a favourite for sure.

On our last night in Barbados the boys were feeling the effects of 6 solid days of drinking. Not quite being able to make it until close we didn't want to be perceived as soft so we had to think of a way that we could leave and still maintain our partying image.....ah ha, get kicked out.

Pretty easy task you'd think, shouldn't take too long.

First attempt saw myself hop behind the bar. Soon joined by Marko we proceeded to take some orders and spray the soft drink gun at patrons. All we got was a 'come on guys get back over the other side' which we did, no more said. Second attempt was a little more subtle.

I stripped off, sat on a stool, sipped my rum and called out to the bar staff "hey, look at me, I can't be doing this, kick me out....c'mon.....fellas.....anyone....."

Nothing, they didn't even consider it.

Finally Roger had had enough. He went over to a bouncer grabbed his arm, basically put himself in a headlock and asked the bouncer if he could walk him out the door. The bouncer reluctantly agreed and Rog was marched out.

Wanting to make the exit a little more dramatic Marko and I grabbed some stools and tried to walk out with them. Our protests of "What ! what are you talking about! What stools" when we were stopped weren't helped by the fact that we had the stools held high above our heads.

Finally we were given our marching orders. Much to our delight the boss of the club came over to see what was happening, he looked a little bemused when we asked him if he wouldn't mind physically throwing us all out onto a hedge near the door. He agreed and we all lined up waited for our turn to be turfed out.

There were plenty of photos being taken (am looking forward to seeing the picture of 5 blokes piled up on top of each other on a hedge) and the boss asked if we could send him a couple. We said fine but only if he banned us for life from his pub. He thought about the strange request and to our glee he said with a big smile "Ok then, you guys are banned for life" HOORAH.

The fellas were ecstatic and the chant "banned for life, banned for life" could be heard for miles away.

Mission accomplished.

The nightlife in Antigua was dominated by the Lashings Bar, owned by Richie Richardson, and a particular Kareoke night at the Jolly Harbour Resort.

Fellow Fanatic and cobber, Lucas Welsh (Jukebox) summarised these incidents beautifully in his email and I will borrow from his transcript now (plus his version if really funny and mine wouldn't have been so no contest really.)

"Beach cricket with Boof and Binga": Richie Richardson´s bar in Antigua, "Lashings", was the site of many large nights, and it had the advant age of being right on the beach (another advantage for Rich was that his band played there - lucky he owned the bar). So, many games of beach cricket ensued.

The last night being particularly special when Aussie cricket team came along following the conclusion of the test.

We managed to get Boof and Brett Lee to join in, they played around for a bit, and they had some fun, until Bazza got into the attack. Electing to go ´round the wicket´to Boof, the stringy right armed Tasmanian ran in with confidence, used the bounce of the pitch to perfection and had Boof ´plum´LBW. The crowd roared, and Bazza celebrated in style - halfway down the pitch doing the ´chainsaw´. Boof´s eyes glinted dangerously and Bazza tore in again with crowd behind him.

A second later, a thick edge from Boof´s bat flew towards slip. Bazza gave a few words as Boof ran menacingly passed him.

Binga proved to be an easier adversary, mainly because he had difficulty holding the bat. Bazza bowled one off a good length, Binga swung heroically, but instead of the ball flying into the sea, the bat did, and the ball continued its merry way into the stumps. Again the roar, again the ´chainsaw´.

I should add that this is probably the highlight of my cricket career....well it would have been if I'd had a career. But the feeling afterwards was very uplifting. Just walking through the crowd I had a few people come up to me and comment "was that you bowling to Boofa?, nice one", "you're the guy who got Boof out, good work mate", "geez you're a wanker" (I tried to ignore those particular comments).

"Caribbean Karaoke":

As most know most young Aussies are not exactly shy of the stage when it comes to singing, especially karaoke.

On one balmy night in Antigua, a few of us journeyed from our hotel, the Royal Antiguan, to the hotel where the boys from London were staying, the Jolly Harbour.

Much to my, and Bird´s, delight, they had a karaoke night there. There was nothing else to do but grab the ´menu´. Ah yes, my favourite: "Twist and Shout", and a few minutes later, a rousing rendition was performed by myself and Bird. Splendid.

We watched a group of people (from another tour I will not mention here, but those present know exactly who we are talking about) taking themselves oh so seriously again & singing some really sh!t songs, and were really getting into it (eg. two guys did an extremely romantic version of "Islands in the Sea").

I couldn't help but notice the yawns in the crowd, something needed to be done. Menu in hand, I flicked through and found one of the ultimates in crowd interaction and involvement - an upbeat tune known as "YMCA". This should get them going.

After waiting an eternity to be called up, I took matters in my own hands and told the DJ that as we were about to leave to go catch a plane, we would really like our song to be played. He accepted the predicament, and we were called up. As Bird and I took the microphone, the boys filed up on stage behind us: Bazza, Marko, Roger, Scotty, Yatesy. The song started, and Bird and I were in fine voice, and the crowd were going wild - screaming with delight, and doing the whole Y M C A actions thing.

It wasn't until halfway through the song that I turned around to see what the boys were up to that I realised that perhaps it wasn't our singing that was making everyone so excited: the guys were down to their boxers - pants around ankles, shuffling around the stage, some waving their shirts around their heads a la Kevin Sheedy, some holding their shirts above their heads swaying from side to side with arms apart, and some with shirts extended between their legs doing a bucking bronco style action.

The night degenerated from there - from then on, in every song, regardless of whether we knew the people or not, we were up on stage, taking off shirts, loosening the belt buckles, parading in front of the crowd, and dancing infront of the singers (usually from the afore mentioned unnamed group). We came, we saw, we rocked, we stripped, we gyrated...

Also Yatesy still has not returned those socks that he was hiding.Who let the gimp out, who, who

Thankyou Lucas. For those who don't know Lucas there is a picture below - young man has been through some hard times recently I think.

Most of you are probably thinking that this trip was just full of drunken antics with a bit of cricket thrown in.

Well that's not entirely true. Exercise wasn't high on the agenda but there were several instances where I worked up a sweat, other than times in the Party tent when there was no breeze.

I chased Merv Hughes down the street after he'd had a light hearted pop at a fellow Fanatic.

Whilst chatting to him at Harbour Lights as few days later I reminded him of the chase and suddenly he didn't want to talk to me anymore. On the last day of the cricket I was in hot pursuit Ricky Ponting's newly won car around St Johns oval.

Even my montioning of "you've got a flat tyre" wouldn't make them stop, a desperate lunge for the rear fender ended in me eating the dirt and leaving driver Gilchrist with a satisfying look on his face.

Lashings beach was the venue for a 100m dash with a few other boys, unfortunately I was going a bit too fast for myself and nosed dived into the sand, unfortunately for everyone watching (and those that might purchase the tour video) I was nude.

No West Indies report is complete without mentioning England's version of Michael Bolton. On day 2 of the Antiguan test, our group was introduced to a bunch of drunken pommy blokes who were sitting close to us in the stand.

During the afternoon the good natured banter between the Aussies and the Poms was in full swing. The usual stuff was being thrown about - Aussies are convicts, we can't drink, Poms can't beat us or anyone else ever, etc etc. Two of the more recognisable members of the Pom brigade were the beforementioned M.Bolton and a Newman (from Seinfeld) lookalike.

Never thought I'd be singing "how can we be lovers if we can't be friends" or hearing "can Michael Bolton please meet Newman at the main office" over the ground PA, but maybe that's what made the trip so special. At one point old Bolts was on his feet giving us an awful spray.

The mistake he made was to have a quarter full, rather large bottle of rum in his hand. Wasn't long before the entire stand was chanting 'skull, skull, skull" and to his credit that's exactly what he did. We all looked on in amazement as he necked the rest of the bottle.

We recognised his accomplishment with a standing ovation, he recognised us with a two fingered salute. From there the affair went along a pretty predictable route. 5 minutes after the skull, Bolts was unconscious, 15 minutes later the medical officers arrived, 10 minutes later the stretcher made it's way through the crowd and another 5 minutes later Michael Bolton was carried out of the stand, on a stretcher, unconscious and under a guard of honour consisting of about 20 Fanatics holding Aussie flags.

Our fears of being charged with manslaughter were alleviated the next day when Bolts was back, rum in hand, but a little less animated than the previous day.

I'll finish up with some quality quotes from the boys on tour.

Roger on being introduced to a friend of one of the girls on our tour "so mate, here for the cricket then?" " yeah I'm actually playing" came the reply. "ahh fair enough then" said Rog before slipping away into the crowd - it was Jimmy Maher.

"Who's that?" Lucas Welsh shouting out after seeing the person in question giving Glenn McGrath a drink. "you can't ask that" said our tour leader Woz shocked that we didn't know all the players. "hey mate, tell us your name and we'll sing a song about you" Baz, much to Woz's disbelief. - it was Ashley Noffke

West Indies legend Desmond Haynes visited the Fanatics up in the stand on the first day of the 3rd test. All the boys were keen for a chat none more than Steve (Piggy's mate from the US, who had no idea who Dessie was !!!!! )

Des had a toothpick that he alternated between his mouth and his afro whilst talking with the fellas. He took some tough questions "tell us about the Ian Healy incident?", "what do you think about the current team?" "Do you realise that there is a toothpick on your head?" - I did get an answer "it's cool", obviously I wouldn't know.

On a side note as we walked into the ground on that first day, Dessie drove by. We were carrying an eski choc full of beer so we tapped on his window and offered him one. He gladly accepted, but I must admit we were slightly suprised to see him crack it open and skull it - it was 9am.

"mate, for a batter you bowl pretty well" a fellow on the tour called Diesel to Andy Bichel

"We're on, We're on" screamed by the boys to indicate when we were on TV. This phrase was used constantly one afternoon when a lovely West Indian women came to sit with us in the stand. 80% of the time we actually weren't on TV but it was used simply as an excuse to crowd around her and feel her up. Disgraceful behaviour - but the camerman thought it was funny.

The boys to Piggy, who's attendance record at the test had been quite poor. "you should join that crap tour down the front of the stand there, all those old ba%tards with name badges, what a sh%t tour that would be" A bloke sitting next to us - obviously sitting away from his tour group and not quite picking up on everything we'd said " oh yeah, Keith Stackpole is our tour leader, it's really good". Doh !

" (expletive then) arsey ba%tard" D.Leahman after I got him LBW.

I'm sure there are many other stories and quotes but I can't remember everything, and considering the amount of partying we all did, that's not overly suprising.
Wed 13/04/2005 James Barron 442 views

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