St George’s Park

These are the gates that I’ll be walking through tomorrow morning at 10 am, (1st ball 10.30, that’s 08.30gmt.)

I’m in the Long Room, tomorrow and over in the Duckpond Pavilion for the other days but more on that later.

This from yesterday’s paper …

“Tickets are on sale at the St George’s ticket office from 8.30am to 4.30pm every day and can also be bought through any Postnet outlet or online at http://www.ticketpros.co.za

The ticket prices (per day) are: R20 (£1.20p) for scholars/pensioners (unreserved); R40 (£2.40) for adults (unreserved) and R50 to R70 (£3 to £5) (reserved).

34 thoughts on “St George’s Park”

  1. 6.30 pm Brisbane Time!

    Wow! Your tickets are very reasonable. One might get a few square inches of a seat in the Gabba for your most expensive ticket. 🙂

  2. Housekeeping duties will limit my attention until about 7:15, but from then onwards nothing will tear me away from watching until I can’t stay awake any longer. Well, almost nothing. 🙂

  3. G’day Brisbane

    It’s an overcast blustery morning, Accuweather tells us that the weather is going to remain as such with light scattered showers throughout the day, no more than 3mm, the sort of light drizzle that would be played through during an ODI or T20 but a test? We’ll see. Hopefully Accuweather a wrong and the wind blows the clouds away by 10.

    With conditions such as these the captain winning toss would normally elect to bowl but after the debacle at Centurion will they have the courage?

    Hi Boadicea, I mention the ticket prices to show just how reasonable entertainment here is, our unions are awash with money from sponsors, TV and of course their share of International events, a day at the cricket is cheaper than going to the cinema 🙂

    The timing is not to bad for you guys, your test matches start at 2am here!

    Ha ha Bearsy, we mentioned just yesterday that nothing would distract us from the 1st ball, 1st session, 1st day of an Aussie test, “almost nothing” would probably distract us too after that 😉

  4. From the front page of my daily read…

    THERE is no doubt the pitch at St George’s Park has been the star of the pre-game show for the second test between South Africa and Australia, which starts today.

    Too often, South African venues roll out just another surface – bouncy but not overly fast and offering a touch too much movement off the seam.

    St George’s Park dares to be different, which explains why captains ask their opponents to gauge its character on their behalf so often.

    This goes against one of cricket’s stuffiest conventions, handed down by England’s WG Grace: “When you win the toss, bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague, then bat.”

    Grace played 22 tests, none of them at St George’s Park. If he had turned out for England here he might never have spoken such nonsense.

    He might also, 100 or so years on, have ventured under the grandstand to procure the finest boerewors roll to be had anywhere in cricket, cocked an ear to the well-worn strains of the brass band, and made sure to check whether the wind was coming from over the scoreboard or from the west.

    All of which is important at St George’s Park, ground of hope, glory, and thinking hard about what to do if you win the toss.

    In the dozen tests played at St George’s Park since readmission, the captain who won the toss has put his opponents in to bat eight times. But in only three of those games has that skipper celebrated victory. Twice, that captain has been South African. The other time, he was Australian.

    But only once in those 12 tests have Australia been South Africa’s opponents.

    That was in March 1997, when Jason Gillespie took eight wickets in the match, Mark Waugh scored one of the better centuries seen in this country and Ian Healy clattered Hansie Cronje into the stands behind fine leg for six to seal a series victory.

    That also condemned South Africa to their first series defeat in six home rubbers since they rejoined the test arena in 1992.

    A clue to how the second test between South Africa and Australia at the grand dame of this country’s test grounds might pan out after Graeme Smith and Michael Clarke walk out to conduct the toss this morning can be had in the Wisden report on that 1996-97 match.

    “The key was the pitch, which had such a thick mat of grass that it looked like an Essex ground of the 1950s, Westcliff or Clacton maybe. It was automatic that [Mark] Taylor would bowl.”

    Something like that “thick mat of grass” has been brooding in the middle of an otherwise smoothly emerald St George’s Park for days now.

    What groundsman Adrian Carter will have done with it by the time the ground is handed over to the match officials remains to be seen.

  5. Thanks for the information, Soutie. It’s good that the prices are kept well within the range of the average fan.

    I’d like to point out that Bearsy is on ‘household duties’ because I have torn the tendon in my left shoulder – no I have not been practising bowling! I’m not quite sure what I did, but I should have gone to the docs the instant it started really hurting – as it is I can’t do anything more dramatic than typing on the computer. 🙂

    May the best side win 🙂

  6. Boa, ouch! But I’m happy your imprisonment means we hear more from you on the Chariot!

    Btw, while Bearsy isn’t looking, what IS it that would entice him away from the cricket? 🙂

  7. Môre Jay, not a good day at all, 3 extremely soft dismissals. Aussies to take new ball 1st up this morning, I don’t see us batting ’till lunch 😦

  8. I met this guy, he’s from Adelaide and works for Getty images.

    I thought the cover for his laptop screen rather neat, I’m guessing that he’s hooked up to the internet and as he takes a picture it’s immediately uploaded and available world wide in seconds.

  9. AB de Villiers has now had an innings of 50 or more in 12 consecutive test matches, a new world record!

    Viv Richards, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag held this record previously, having scored fifty-plus in 11 consecutive Tests.

  10. Hope everyone is enjoying the cricket. But Bearsy, it must not interfere with the grape-peeling and coffee serving and general TLC you must lavish on Boadicea.

  11. janus :

    Talk about a reversal of fortunes!

    Well who would have thought it, didn’t AB and JP (de Villiers and Duminy) hadle the 1st session this morning against the new ball well?

    A good days cricket, runs and wickets, but we’ve dropped Warner (again!!!) I think that we’ll live to regret that.

  12. I was up on the top tier of the Duckpond Pavillion today, a corporate suite withe a magnificent view, it’s high, very high but once seated and acclimatised to the perspective a fantastic place to watch the action.

    Free food and drink all day served in our seats by waitresses 🙂

  13. The corporate suite I refer to above (#15) probably seats about 200 people, (based on the dining room which has 20 tables each seating 10 people.)

    Only 17 tables were used on my visit, 11 of them occupied by various Aussie tour groups!

    I had Aussies to the left of me, Aussies to the right …….. (and a fair few both in front and behind me 🙂 )

    And what a super bunch they are.

    We swopped nostalgic memories of past tests, one chap’s recollection of a tour of the West Indies was absolutely hilarious.

    Another lamented that he’d toured England twice (or was it three times?) and was yet to see an Aussie win in seven test matches!

    One was a member at both Sidney and Adelaide (showed me his credit card type membership cards) and added that he was only a member at Adelaide because they served ‘full strength beer in the bar’ whereas in the rest of the stadium it was ‘half strength rubbish!’

    Two of them had each traveled overland from London to Cape Town, one of them back in ’75.

    I mentioned my very first test match, the St George’s leg of the 1970 4-0 thrashing of Bill Lawrie’s side, one joked that his memory didn’t go back that far 🙂

    They were an inquiring lot, loads of questions, from the racial make up of the Proteas side, where they were from etc. and the general state of S.A. cricket to the complete shambles that local government in our region has become since ’94 and loads of stuff inbetween.

    A great days cricket in great company.

  14. And what a day, the 3rd day is often called ‘moving day’ – it was!

    Aussies skittled out for 246, Proteas end the day 369 runs ahead with only 4 wickets down.

    Normally I think that the Proteas would bat on for a lead of a least 500 and then declare, but today isn’t going to be normal, there’s a forecast of rain throughout the day tomorrow (Monday, the 5th day), not just pitter patter stuff but proper rain!

    Decisions made during the first session on Sunday will be crucial.

  15. I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed the Ozzie company! ‘Skittled out’ is a polite way of putting it – as usual our top end should be sent skittling off the team!

    I have to say the b*dy band in the background drives me crazy – I do wish the next innovation for TV’s allowed me to switch off the background music.

    I take it you’re there for Day 4?

  16. I’m with you on the band, Boadicea, but at least they are no worse than ‘our’ own dear Billy Cooper, trumpeter to the Barmy Army, and they are a lot better than those bloody vuvuzuelas..

    At the tea interval today, Bob Willis as the interval summariser for the Evil Empire, opined that the Proteas might fail to win this Test (or even lose it) not only because of the five dropped catches but also because of the three missed reviews. He thought that Smith might have reviewed some or all of them if he had been able to hear the snicks over the music.

    What a difference a few overs and Dale Steyn bowling with reverse swing make! SA in cruise control now and a magic atmosphere to which both band and massed choirs are contributing. I have just really enjoyed the full-throated rendition of ‘Goodnight Aussies’ to the tune of ‘Goodnight Eileen’.

    If you are there again today, Soutie, you are a truly fortunate man. It’s been a great Test so far and both teams have played their part. Cape Town should be a classic.

    I just hope that the 90% chance of rain tomorrow does not force a damp and disappointing draw.

  17. My view on Sunday (day4)

    It was hot, very hot.

    This next picture is of the ‘unreserved stand.’

    Look at how the spectators form a ‘plimsoll line’ to remain in the shade! Gradually creeping down as the sun gets further overhead.

  18. We got to the ground for the start of play, I wanted to watch Amla get his hundred and he didn’t disappoint.

    The declaration 45 minutes or so before lunch took me by surprise, ‘only’ 447 ahead with 5½ sessions left! Not even 3 runs an over! Graeme Smith obviously has a lot more faith in our weather forecasters than I do!

  19. Lunch

    We’re allowed on the field at lunch time.

    The batting square is quickly roped off by the groundstaff and those that want to can stroll over and have a look at the wicket.

    Hundreds of mini games form along the boundary with young children bowling and batting and following the steps of their heroes, (yes, I too did it many many moons ago 😉 )

    and

  20. Boadicea :

    I said: “May the Best Team Win”,

    and I think they did Congratulations are in order for SA :-)

    Hi Boadicea

    Indeed! who would have thought it? After the comprehensive thrashing that the Aussies dished out at Centurian just last week now this!

    10 Aussie wickets in an afternoon!

    The last Aussie batsman (Lyon) out off the 3rd last ball of the day!

  21. Môre Jay

    No, no ‘damage or litter’ ever!

    We do the same at our provincial matches, it’s simply always been that way.

    Which brings me to the crowds and extensive crowd control measures that I witness almost daily in sports events broadcast to us from other parts of the world (read UK mostly) and that’s the amount of security / stewards that I see. Hundreds of them!

    My how we laugh at a culture that has to be continually policed because of the loutish behaviour endemic there.

    If you look at my pictures here, you don’t see any men / women in their bright dayglo jackets! (The chap in picture in my comment # 11 is actually a ticket inspector for that particular part of the stadium ~ The Longroom)

    It’s the same at the rugby matches that I attend.

    We’re generally a well behaved and respectful bunch 😉

  22. My tickets for today.

    Well, as we all now know, there was no day 5.

    But there could have been.

    The doomsday predictions of 90% rain were wrong! Very wrong! I spent the best part of today close to St George’s park, sure it was overcast, the light was no worse than Thursday when we played the whole day with the floodlights on!

    St George’s at perhaps 1.15pm today

    There was a light shower at about 12.45, might have delayed the after lunch start by no more than half an hour or so.

    I thought that Graeme Smith was a tad generous with his declaration, if the Aussies had been a bit more circumspect with their batting they could have had the best part of a day’s play to set a new world record for a 4th innings victory.

    Ah well, that’s all water under the bridge now, one thing that it does prove is that the only thing predictable about the weather in these parts is it’s unpredictability 😉

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