Australia Ashes 2006 / 2007 Tour Diary
Catch up on the Howzat Travel Ashes tour of Australia as we fill you in on how our trip went.
Our favourite Ashes 2006 / 2007 cricket tour photos will be added to this page as and when we receive them.
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24th December 2006 - Christmas Eve
0400: Just arrived and checked in, we got up around 11.30am knowing that jet lag was on the cards so battled through the day and the tiredness barrier.
We left the hotel and headed out to the Melbourne streets, firstly to get our bearings but also for some much needed food... The hotel was nice and central, so we used this opportunity to visit the Melbourne Aquarium; a collection of Australian marine life. We then met with old friends and Howzat Travellers for a few afternoon beers at our local pub. It wasn't long before the jet-lag was kicking in, so it was time to get a few hours sleep in preparation for the days ahead.
25th December 2006 - Christmas Day
An early start and we eventually went down for a full English breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The change of sleeping pattern and excitement meant we had been awake since around 4am.
We had a lazy morning getting ready for the Christmas cruise. We caught as taxi from the hotel and made our way to the Victoria harbour. The Aussie weather had brought us wind and rain so it wasn't quite the sunny Christmas we originally had expected. Local papers stated this was the coldest on record at just 13 degrees C.
We eventually boarded the cruiser and were pleasantly surprised with the free bar, the wine and beer was in full flow. The next 5 hours saw each and every one of us fed and watered to the maximum.
After lunch we took a steady stroll back to the city, this gave us chance for some local sights and walk off some of the day's indulgences. Once we made our way back to the hotel, a quick change saw us back off out for the evening, we made our way home around 11.30pm feeling that we have had a good Christmas.
26th December 2006 - Boxing Day
Day 1 of the Melbourne test match. Again the leg lag saw us up nice and early around 6am, a light breakfast and shower and soon enough we were taking the 20 minutes' walk to the MCG.
A slightly delayed start saw England win the toss and electing to bat, a strange decision maybe! Overcast conditions and rain forecast.
At 36-1 and Cook out early, the heavens opened again, lunch was taken a few minutes before scheduled. What happened next was typical of the Ashes tour so far. England managed 102-2 with Strauss making a much deserved 50, then we collapsed; England were all out for 159...
With 9 overs left in the day, Australia were looking good at 44-0 when Super Freddie Flintoff gave us a glimmer of hope with 2 wickets from 2 balls. Firstly Justin Langer then the night watchman Bret Lee.
At last the English Barmy Army had something to smile about. The 91 thousand crowd had seen 12 wickets and Mr. Shane Warne take his 700th Test Wicket. On the whole we had witnessed a historic and memorable day.
After a few beers and something to eat we began to wind down for the evening.
27th December 2006
A few of the Howzat Travel group met in the hotel reception at half 9 so we could walk to the ground together. Today's tickets were general admission. We decided to sit in the upper tier above and amongst the majority the England followers.
A prompt 10.30am start saw England take 3 quick wickets, firstly Ponting caught by Cook, Hussey Bowled by Hoggard and Clarke edged off Harmison.
The first 45 minutes play had given us all a massive lift and we were back in the game.
At 80 for 5, Symonds and Hayden at the crease things were looking good, but our hopes soon changed.
Ever the showman, Symonds was pumped when he reached his debut century, bringing up the 151 ball milestone with a towering six straight down the ground off medium pacer Paul Collingwood. Symonds celebrated by leaping into the arms of Hayden. Hayden's 169 ball century was his 27th in Test matches. Once again today was not a good day for England.
After play had finished we headed straight back to the hotel bar to re-group and enjoy a few cool beers. Later on we found a restaurant alongside the Crown Casino and docklands area. After tea we were feeling shattered and ready for a good nights sleep.
28th December 2006
An early start and up for breakfast around 7am. Today we headed to the ground early to secure some good seats in the lower section with the large group of England supporters. By 9.30 the sun was creeping out and we were all looking forward to the days play.
As it happened Australia added 47 runs to their overnight score and took a first-innings lead of 260. Clark had the initial breakthrough by bowling Cook and when Bell was out LBW a few balls later it became apparent that the game was looking over and maybe we wouldn't even make it into day 4.
The remaining 8 wickets fell without an English fight back. However the England fans were in good spirits and made the most of the Ozzie sun. We stayed at the ground to see Shane Warne's last few moments witnessed him collect the man of the match award. We then took a steady stroll back to the hotel
Once back at the hotel we had a quick wash and change went straight out to a nice restaurant where we enjoyed some French cuisine. A lovely end to a disappointing day of English cricket.
No Cricket today so we enjoyed a lazy morning around the hotel. We eventually left in search of some late breakfast around 11am. It wasn't long before a nice cafe tempted us for our daily egg and bacon breakfast.
After breakfast we continued our travels onto the shopping district and then on to Fitzroy park where we spent some time viewing Cooks Cottage and the local tourist attractions. Today's weather was nice and warm so a light lunch on the grassy park seemed a nice way to spend the early afternoon.
During the afternoon we visited the Crown Casino and South bank area, before heading back to the hotel late afternoon. After tea we headed out onto the town, Friday night in Melbourne seemed a good way to enjoy a few beers!!
Again a lazy morning at the hotel, before we headed off to St Kilda. St Kilda is Melbourne's beach resort, and is laced with cafes/ bars and shops. Today was the hottest day so far, so the beach was rammed with what seemed like all English tourists. After a good 4 hours in the direct sun, we took a walk through the town and headed back to Melbourne on the 92 Tram.
We headed straight for the Elephant and Wheelbarrow public house, a traditional English pub where we enjoyed the English beer and a well prepared English meal. After tea we headed straight back to the hotel where we enjoyed an early night.
31st December - New Years Eve
We asked for an early wake up call due to our transfers leaving at 6.40 am to Sydney. We all checked out and boarded the coach over to Avalon airport, around 40 minutes outside Melbourne. Once checked in we all managed some light breakfast before our 1 hour 10 minute flight over to Sydney.
Once we had landed and collected our bags we headed to our Sydney Hotel, The Capitol Square. The hotel was located about 3 blocks down from Central station, on George Street. Once everybody was checked in okay we took a stroll towards Circular Quay to gather our bearings and have some lunch.
We soon realised that Sydney was filling up with people fast due to the world famous New Years Eve spectacular fireworks display. Sydney expected a massive 1 million visitors to the city for New Years Eve. We headed back to the hotel to take showers and get ready for the evening.
We had planned to visit Luna Park for New Years Eve, and the rest of the Howzat Travel group planned a variety of different celebrations. We all had a great night and had some wonderful stories to share after the celebrations were over.
Happy New Year!
1st of January 2007 - New Years Day
We woke around 11am feeling like we had enjoyed a memorable New Years Eve. Once we'd had a late breakfast we took a walk down through Darling Harbour and onto Circular quay, where we enjoyed a pleasant and leisurely day strolling around Sydney.
Today was an ideal Opportunity to soak up some Sydney sun and collect some souvenirs for family and friends.
2nd January 2007 0800:
Day One of the Sydney test match. We had initially arranged to meet at 9am at the hotel reception, however we woke to persistent rainand the test match start was delayed until 11.30.
We eventually took a walk up to central station at 10am and caught the bus over to Moore Park next to the SCG.
We entered the ground to find Freddie had already won the toss and had elected to bat. Maybe the right decision going on past SCG pitches.
Things looked promising for England when Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook enjoyed a 45-run stand, their most productive partnership of the series. The partnership ended only three overs before lunch when fast bowler Lee took an edge and was caught behind. Cook followed for just 20 runs only two overs after the break and the collapse was looking all too familiar.
England's third-wicket pair rescued the situation, but McGrath's double strike regained the momentum for Australia as they chased their place in history and it took Flintoff and Collingwood to prevent any further setbacks before the close. England closed the day on 234-4.
3rd January 2007
We had breakfast and headed back to the SCG for another day of cricket. Today started at 10am as they were trying to make up for the rain delays of the previous day. England needed to capitalise on their good start but once the game had commenced, Australia took the new ball and by the time drinks had arrived England were down to 274-7. The remaining England collapse continued straight after lunch when England were eventually bowled out for 291. The only positive from the England batting performance was the 89 from Mr. Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff.
Australia's batting started positively and they soon had 31 runs on the board from the first 9 overs before Langer lost his wicket for 26 when he was caught by Chris Read and bowled by Anderson. By the time tea had arrived Australia had raced to 109-2 the only other casualty for the session being the wicket of Haydon, with a strange looking bottom edge dismissal from the bowling of Harmison.
After Lunch the wickets kept falling firstly Ponting was run out from the great fielding of Jimmy Anderson for 45 then Clarke was caught behind by Read giving another wicket to Steve Harmison. The rain then set in and the players left the field for a good hour, about half of the 45,000 thousand crowd had stayed to see the remaining 12 overs when the players re entered the field, Australia eventually finished the day on 188-4
Again we made our way back to central Sydney for a quiet night as all the New Year's celebrations were beginning to catch up on us.
4th January 2007
An early start today as we decided to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. The climb exceeded our expectations and provided us with an experience we would never forget.
After the climb we caught a taxi to the SCG. Another early start meant we missed the first few overs on the day, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that England had removed the danger man Hussey for a duck from only the 9th ball of the morning. What happened next was the last thing that the England faithful had wanted. Gilcrist raced to 62 and Shane Warne topped the Australian innings with 71 from only 65 balls. The Australian tail had given them a first innings lead of 102
The remainder of the day was then somewhat typical of the whole Ashes series England lost four wickets in overhauling the deficit - they closed on 114 for five, a lead of just 12 - with the demise of Andrew Flintoff in the penultimate over, all but signalling the end of England's hopes of avoiding a 5-0 series defeat.
We yet again made our way back to the Sydney central and enjoyed a few beers before retiring to our hotel room. The effects of the Sydney sun and poor cricket did it's best to dampen our good spirits.
5th January 2007
In true English spirit we again made our way over to the SCG although today there was very little optimism in the air. As expected, Australia took less than a session to wrap up a 10-wicket win, collecting the last five England wickets for the addition of 33 runs in little more than an hour.
With the English innings over, Australia needed just 46 to take the historic 5-0 win for the series, Langer and Haydon took just 11 overs to complete the challenge.
Despite the poor England result all true cricket fans including the England faithful would never forget the experience that followed. Shane Warne arguably the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen left the field for the final time after announcing his retirement from international cricket.
Along with the retirement of Glen McGrath and Justin Langer, today had been an extremely memorable day and there was no doubt in anybody's mind that they were pleased they had attended.
With the day's cricket ending early, we decided to drown our sorrows over at the Empire Hotel in Kings Cross. We made our way home late in the evening with endless amusing memories!
6th January 2007
With the cricket over and not making it to the final day we had another great chance to enjoy a day of Leisure.
The weather was nice hot and the group agreed to meet at Manly beach. We boarded the ferry from Circular quay just after lunch and we all enjoyed a day of sun bathing and beach cricket.
Later that day we enjoyed a nice meal overlooking Manly beach, before heading home on the ferry. This was to be our final night in Sydney so we headed off to Darling Harbour to enjoy a few quiet drinks and soak up the Sydney atmosphere for one final time. The evening gave us chance to reflect on the trip to Australia and the great memories.
7th January 2007
We spent our last day in Australia chilling out in Sydney. We visited a museum on the Harbour bridge and Paddy's market for some last minute gifts.
At 4pm the group was ready for the transfer to Sydney International Airport where we boarded our Emirates flights home.
In reflection the Ashes trip had been a wonderful experience and a tremendous success. The cricket was at times woeful and big mistakes within the England camp were apparent. However we had experienced probably the best Australia side ever performing at the top of their game and historic memories of Warne's 700th Test wicket, and the retirement of Warne, McGrath and Langer will always be remembered.
It's now time to start looking forward to the next tour!