The Festivus holding page: The Boxing Day Tests and some Ian Austin news

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We can’t generally be arsed reporting on Boxing Day Tests in any way promptly, but it is nevertheless one of the most important times in the cricket year.

This is a quandary, but a few years ago we came up with an approach that we’ve since tried to pass off as a solution. We flag what matches are taking place in advance, wish everyone a happy Festivus and then leave you all to cobble together a kind of fragmentary, disjointed log of any major developments in the comments section.

We find this works quite well. You may disagree, but it’s our website, so that’s what we’re doing.

The Boxing Day Tests

For a year with so little cricket, Boxing Day features a rather packed schedule.

  • New Zealand v Pakistan from 10pm Christmas Day (these are all UK times)
  • Australia v India from 11.30pm Christmas Day
  • South Africa v Sri Lanka from 8am Boxing Day

The Australia v India one obviously feels like the biggie – particularly coming off the back of that whole 36 all out thing – but the joy here is that we’ve got three chances of a decent five-day dust-up.

Now onto more important business.

Ian Austin news

As a special Festivus treat, we now bring you a delightful second-hand anecdote about 1990s Lancashire all-rounder, Ian Austin.

Most of you will be aware of our deep affection for Austin. If you do not know of it and also do not know of Austin, we can explain the whole thing quite quickly. Ian Austin was a a fat sod who bowled incredibly innocuous-looking deliveries that were for some reason impossible to hit. He liked betting on the horses and he did not look like a cricketer.

There you are. You’re up to speed.

We recently happened across a new Ian Austin anecdote while watching Sky Sports’ The Cricket Show and we thought we’d share it with you. It was told by David Lloyd, because of course it was.

Apparently the Lancashire players used to get a drink on the club after each day’s play. We imagine that most of them had a beer, but they could choose whatever they wanted. Bumble said that at least one player used to have a pint of milk. Disappointingly, he doesn’t say who.

Now what would you guess Ian Austin got?

If you have ever worked in a pub in North-West England, you will have served someone with an air of Ian Austin about him. We’d probably have Austin down for a slightly faffy and idiosyncratic version of an otherwise common beverage.

We’d say a pint of mixed would be his most likely tipple, or possibly something boring that no-one else really buys, like a Mackeson’s. We could also see him being the type who repeatedly complains that his pint of Stella doesn’t retain an inch of head all the way to the bottom, concluding that this means his beer is “flat” and that the barman “can’t pull pints” even though what he is doing here is demanding that mass-produced keg lager magically acquire qualities it just does not have.

What we would not expect Ian Austin to order for his one drink each night is Chardonnay. But that is what he ordered.

There is however a more on-brand element to this. Ian Austin’s one drink of choice was in fact an entire bottle of Chardonnay and when the club told him he couldn’t have a bottle, he could only have a glass, he had a massive sulk about it.

Happy Festivus.


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  1. I hope everyone has a satisfactory Festivus – the Airing of Grievances has gone mainstream this year I see, judging by, well, every single website other than this one.

    On a slightly more serious note, I hope all regular (and irregular) readers and commenters (and also, obviously, the man they continue to call ‘King Cricket’, much to his apparent chagrin) are doing OK, particularly if like me you are unexpectedly having to fend for yourself with regard to the whole Christmas thing.

    Two words of advice: Christmas Pizza.

    1. It doesn’t have cinnamon on it, does it?

      At least you’re guaranteed to win the feats of strength. Hope you can find some other highlights beyond that.

      1. I do have some cinnamon I could put on it, but I think I’m going to stick with pigs in blankets for now

  2. Merry Festivus one and all. What tier are you in? We’re in one, heading to two. Exciting, isn’t it?

  3. Once again cricket shows why it is the best. They have festivus matches with some proper history and tradition.
    Whereas other sports that we won’t mention just pile in a load of rubbish matches that bore everyone.

  4. I’ve just had a memory flash from my most recent visit to Old Trafford (2019, obs) where I was told that Ian Austin is now a sales rep for a well known Northern brewery. (Was it Thwaites? Not sure.)

    Anyway, point is, that makes his personal choice of Chardonnay all the more out of character…

    …unless Northern breweries these days make most of their money out of poncy wine swillers (like me) rather than beer swillers like…people who are not named Ian.

    Shame those details didn’t make it to the write up back then:

    Ah, The Chorlton Tap. Now there’s a pub that knows how to serve a glass of Pinot Grigio.

    1. One of my locals. It shows how south Manchester has changed if you’re praising the quality of wine in a pub. In the olden days a friend asked for half (albeit of beer, not wine) in The Railway down the road in Didsbury and was told “we don’t serve fuckin halves in here” and was handed a pint.

      KC, you missed the bit about Ian Austin being able to belt the ball miles, sometimes more than once in an innings. I think he got a Roses ton once.

  5. Who do we reckon will be the LMCOG 2020? The question is complicated by the fact that nobody did well overseas this year. Blackwood? Rizwan?

  6. Happy Boxing Day. For the nostalgic have a look at the cricket footage on the Pathe News channel on YouTube.

    The above link is a newsreel from the final Test of the 1926 Ashes. The waiter, dressed in tails, bringing on drinks on a silver platter is marvelous

  7. If Smith was English, how long would it be before people were clamouring for him to be dropped?

    “He hasn’t made a century since September 2019… only 10 runs in total in his last 4 innings… time to let someone else have a go”

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