Plane pain for late-arriving England fans

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 13 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan thinks Aussie Jason Gillespie would be the perfect replacement for Peter Moores if the England coach was to get the sack.

Geoff Crowshaw waving the English flag at the SCG for England's clash with Afghanistan on Friday. Source: News Corp Australia

WHEN England fans Stuart Ferguson and Tony Deane began planning a trip to Australia for the Cricket World Cup over a year ago, they crunched data Peter Moores-style.

"We thought dead-cert quarter-finals," Ferguson explained. "So we booked tickets."

The World Cup rolled around and though England were wobbling through it, Ferguson and his uncle confidently boarded a flight on Monday with their boys needing to just clear one last hurdle: Bangladesh.

"We found out mid-air," Ferguson sighed.

"On the plane we got updates every 10 minutes on the screens. We were two or three hours out of Dubai ... so yeah, bitterly disappointed, obviously. They fell short."

Bangladesh's famous upset saw Ferguson and Deane arrive in Sydney this week armed with tickets to two quarter-finals in which England could have been playing, but won't be.

The stoic — and still smiling — northerners had to make do with their only glimpse of England at a wet SCG n Friday, when the world's most pilloried cricketing "minnows" took on Afghanistan.

"It's a bit of a damp squib. We kind of don't mind if they lose because then at least the coach would go," Ferguson said.

On black Friday, the gloomy Sydney weather was an appropriate backdrop for a tiny band of hollow-eyed England fans at the SCG.

England's Alex Hales leaves the field after being dismissed against Afghanistan on Friday. Source: AP

Heaving masses of white usually follow English cricketers everywhere but after their woeful World Cup, the cross of St George was easily outnumbered by the wildly swung Afghan flag by a factor of 50.

One lone soldier still flying the flag for England in bay 14 was pith-helmet-wearing expat Geoff Croshaw, who said the saddest part about England's pre-finals exit wasn't the ribbing from Aussie workmates.

It was the absence of ribbing that hurt way more. If there is one thing more painful than derision from an arch-rival, it's sympathy.

"Do you know what's really interesting? There's actually not been much reaction, because it was almost expected. They haven't been giving me much, because it's kind of what they thought would happen," Croshaw said. "It's crazy really."

Sitting among funereally quiet English fans, expat Richie Coljzak said his Aussie friends hadn't been quite as compassionate but another group had outdone them.

"My Irish mates have been the worst," Coljzak said. "They're saying we're still going strong and you clowns are off home."

With the Three Lions tattooed on one biceps and the English rose on the other, Colzjak's colours are painted on and he said he'll remain a loyal fan of English cricket, despite the humiliation of the past six weeks.

"I'm sticking behind the guys," he said.

"Listen, Aussies keep using the wrong bait. Being English, we are used to losing. We're good at losing. It's the winning that confuses us."

Croshaw is taking out what small positives he can.

Beating Scotland in anything is crucial, he said, and if things don't improve in English cricket with the Ashes around the corner, Croshaw says they can "cherry-pick" from their neighbours.

"The best thing is, right, if the Irish do any better, we will just go and knick some more of their players," he said.

Maybe Ireland will poach the good English players instead, you ask?

"Well, yeah, good point," Croshaw reflected.

"Eion Morgan might go back to try and win a few games."

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