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Cricket in Amsterdam 2004 - Tour Review

Not since the dizzy heights of the Golden Age in 1643 when Rembrandt was at his peak and tulips were worth more than their weight in gold has Amsterdam experienced such an amazing aura of excitement and unbridled ecstasy as witnessed on the 2004 Fanatics Bank Holiday Cricket Long Weekend.

The journey began on the evening of Friday 27th of August when we all mounted the Van Nude Love Bus with the very able “Smiley the friendly bus Nazi” behind the wheel.

The Fanatics juggernaut stopped for nothing and for nobody on the way…not Bin Laden, not George Bush, not even for Smiley’s wife ensuring that we arrived just in time for Ledge’s Early Morning Amsterdam Tour of Love.

We feasted on a traditional Dutch breakfast at The White Tulip before braving the public transport system and heading out to the Volharding RAP Amstels Cricket Club – Home of the Royal Dutch Cricket Association.

The green and gold war paint was applied, boxing kangaroos tattooed onto cheeks, flags raised on native Dutch humping willow sticks, aprons donned, DeCastella Panties were pulled on, and blow up ’roos given a substantial oral seeing to. The two-in-one Fanatics jaffle maker / cyber boomer was fired up and churned out some classic Aussie ballads inspiring Elvis and Mini Elvis to come alive.

Some harmless boundary line banter was entered into before ultimately resulting in the infamous “Shaggy and the steak sandwich fiasco”.

The Aussies won the toss and posted a reasonably conservative 192 for the loss of seven wickets. The Fanatics had a tactical change of seating between innings and moved to the warmth of the Caribbean Dance Floor Stand.

Before long the vocal chords became substantially well lubricated with Heineken by the 6-pack and other local delicacies and the songs began to flow. Matty Hayden had many fans and many fans had Matty Hayden, Binga was faster than lightning, Hoggie & umpire Shep had a scratch for us, and Pigeon returned to the international stage after a lengthy spell at the hairdressers.

The Gimp was let loose at a critical stage in the match inspiring Andy Symonds to take the crucial wicket of Ikeepmyteeth Inajarbesidemybed. The game came down to the wire but the lads in Canary Yellow proved their world champion status bowling the Pakis out 17 runs short with less than 3 overs to spare.

After kindly declining the offer to chauffeur the Pakistan Team Bus to the players’ hotel, we made the epic journey home on the no. 4 Tram before kitting up and heading out on the town for one of the greatest nights in Fanatics history! We met at the Globe Sports Café to watch the final night of competition of the Athens Olympics before kicking on to the Hill Street Blues for some culinary delights.

We then took in some local culture at the Moulin Rouge “Theatre” with several members of the tour volunteering to show off their impressive stage presence and love of bananas. The night climaxed on the dance floor of the Starlight Bar with most people dancing into the early hours of the morning.

After a well-earned sleep-in we all donned the bike pants for our Sunday arvo Windmills, Pubs & Dijks on Bikes Tour. The tour truly had it all…we pedalled through the Bijlmermeer Housing Project built during the post World War II depression, cycled past a beautiful old church dating back to 1643, stopped for a token group photo in front of a windmill, refuelled at a quaint Dijkhuis overlooking one of Amsterdam’s many canals, toured the cobbled lanes of the beautiful town of Broek in Waterland, stopped to appreciate the significance at the exact site where one ill-fated Dutch sailor lost his trousers in the water after a big night on the wacky tobacco, before getting pissed on brandied raisons at The White Swan and feasting on the world’s most delectable pancakes.

We returned to the big smoke as the sun went down riding high on the back of an unforgettable two wheeled adventure and hit the town for another massive night.

We had a crack at the Zorba around the Globe Sports Café pool table as we watched the Olympic closing ceremony, pole-danced on the bar at The Grasshopper, relished the opportunity for an old fashioned stacks-on, Congo-lined to the Starlight Bar as we chanted the paddy wagon song to a local crack dealer being arrested, and once again confirmed that “there aint no party like a Fanatics party!”

The rest of the night is somewhat of a blur with several people disappearing for a spot of “shopping”, others stumbled off to satisfy late night munchy cravings and one lucky tour member is rumoured to have spent the night negotiating with the Dutch Justice System.

We all managed to board the Dutch Oven Bus service come Monday morning and returned to London after an unbelievable weekend in the Venice of the North. The Australian cricket team left Amsterdam with the 2004 Videocon Cup and The Fanatics left with a slight headache, a heap of newfound mates, and cherished memories of an unforgettable weekend!

The much anticipated Amsterdam reunion is being held on Wednesday 8th September from 8pm at Walkabout Shepherd’s Bush, where the award for BOT (best on tour) is shaping up as one of the toughest decisions in Fanatics history, with all 30 Fanatics displaying performances of the highest order. Who’d be a judge on this one?!!
Wed 13/04/2005 Andrew Ledger 118 views

2 Comments about this article

  • Sensational work Fanatics! couldn't imagine anything better than kicking back with a few shcoobs and watching the Aussies kick arse. Celebrations sounded typically Fanatical. Wish i was there!

    Posted by Clint Testa Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:45am AEST
  • come on aussies,continue the good work.

    Posted by Sampath Salins Wed Sep 15, 2004 05:01pm AEST

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