A guy who may or may not truly be called Bert fills us in on the latest instalment of his long-running Ashes bet with some Aussie

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Bert writes:

OK, hold onto your hats. I can now reveal the result of the latest Ashes Bet between me and my Aussie mate. The result is…

He Won!

Yeh alright, since the bet is on the outcome of the series this has been known since December, but why should that stop me making such an exciting announcement? Besides, it gives me an opportunity to fill you in on some more amazing Ashes Bet Facts.

The place was Whakatane, a small town on NZ’s Bay of Plenty Coast. The date was late 2002, the time, about midnight. The situation was a bar, too many drinks, and a loud-mouthed Aussie (or “an Aussie” as they’re also known) going on about the upcoming Ashes series Down Under.

In that drunken haze of annoyance and a thorough lack of understanding of the situation in world cricket, the Ashes Bet was born. Three months later I’d lost a dozen bottles of red wine and was faced with a similar bill every two years or so for the foreseeable future.

But then came 2005. Enough words have been written about that series to convey the drama, the emotion, the sheer unalloyed delight of it all, but perhaps I might be permitted to add a few of my own. “In your face, Aussie, now where’s my fucking wine.”

That was the turning point. The next turning point came in the following series, when we lost 5-0. But then there was a turning point, and we won again.

Really, when you look at it, it’s just been one turning point after another, a curve based around the following formula – whoever is at home, wins. Since 2002 there has been only one exception to that rule, the glorious 2010/11 series.

I have to say that this was cricket at its most enjoyable and, I might add, this website’s palmiest day. We had Trott, and Swann, and relentless Cook, and the Through The Night Thread, and the Mitchell Johnson Song, and the Sprinkler Dance, and Boxing Day, and graphs, and Venn Diagrams and so much more. And we (specifically me) had a dozen bottles of finest Australian red wine out of sequence.

So, where do we stand. Well, the score in Tests since than night in NZ is Australia 23, England 14. The score in wine bottles is Australia 48, England 60. Who on Planet Earth would have thought that 15 years ago? Not my Aussie mate, that’s for sure. Not me either, it had to be said. So I’m happy to pay up, to provide the Barolo, Nuit St George and Fleurie so richly deserved. Because I know that I’ll be getting it all back in 2019. Let’s face it, they can’t drop Shaun Marsh now.


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  1. Bert, can I just shock you? I like Australians!

    Despite being over there (down there) for three weeks at the height of the drubbings, not one made even the slightest attempt to rub my nose in it, despite being given plenty of opportunities. They almost seemed too embarrassed by the ease with which the whole thing was won.

    Contrast that with my Scottish ‘work colleagues’, who since my return have been insufferable.

    1. There has been a change since 2002. Essentially, the 2002 Aussie was confident to the point of cockiness about victory, whereas the 2002 Englishman was so sure of losing there was nothing but bitterness and cynicism. At least, that was the situation in that bar.

      Since then both sides have approached the middle, and we are now more similar in our attitude to sporting success than we are different. I think we’ve learned to be a bit more Aussie about winning, which is a good thing, and as you suggest, the Aussies aren’t especially cocky these days.

      That said, I’ll get a phone call early one Friday morning in a week or so, which will be from a half-inebriated Victorian with a corkscrew. I will hear the unmistakable sound of a cork being pulled, followed by a resounding toast to Steve Smith (a tradition on drinking any of the Bet wines is that we toast the winning captain). Cockiness will have been resumed for an evening.

  2. Excellent match report, Bert, well writ.

    I was able to break my Aussie wine fast last night, which I did by cracking open a fine bottle of Yalumba Scribbler.

    One strange thing I have noticed is that my Aussie wine fast for the Ashes works unfailingly for home series (I started it in 2005) but, apart from 2010/11, it doesn’t seem to work for away series.

    Does anyone have any idea why this might be? I cannot fathom it.

    1. Ged, I think you will need to switch to an Aussie wine binge for future away series. I know you can do it. Even if you just twist off the cap and leave it there.

      PS. I’ve had a couple btls of the Scribbler in the past, a fine wine indeed. Perhaps we should set up a KC Wine Club?

    1. I’ve been tempted. His actual quote when I suggested it was that if I did, he would “come up to the UK to kill me in person”.

      One problem I do have (that maybe the wine aficionados here could help me with) is where I can find a decent selection of European wine in Melbourne. Specifically, on the Mornington Peninsula. The last few times I’ve used Dan Murphy’s, which has worked OK, but if anyone knows a better option I’d be very grateful.

      1. I can’t believe that a man of your stature would allow a mere death threat to impede your judgment.

        Even a death threat from a wild, bellicose Australian who knows where you live.

        Send the Aussie bastard English wine.

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