BLOG: THE CARAVAN ASHES
Susan and Keith Hall reckon it’s all cricket when the Australian and English teams compete at a caravan park.
We recently visited Mandalay Holiday Resort & Tourist Park, south of Perth at Busselton, and noticed that international rivalries were a topic of hot debate. But don’t worry, as it was all in good fun. The reason for the international tensions was simple: it was the day of the annual Caravan Ashes, a cricket contest between the "Poms" and the Aussies.
The tradition started 15 years ago, and just like the real Ashes, there is a small trophy which contains ashes. But these ashes are from a wooden rake, not cricket bales. The reason is that caravanners of the past used to rake up the leaves around their van, damaging the grass while they were at it. So the caravan park banned rakes and instituted a veterans’ cricket match as a reminder. The trophy is called the Rake Cup.
Park owner Clive Johnson explained that the rules are slightly different from normal cricket. Each player gets to bowl one over, and each pair of batsmen stays in for two complete overs — even if they get out. The players are mostly regular park visitors aged in their 60s, so they all know each other. And since there aren’t many English players available, it doesn’t take much to find yourself on the English team. For example, merely having a wife who was born in England is enough.
On the day of the event, Australian and British flags fly beside the sports field. Everyone stands for the national anthems and then it’s "Game on"! The umpire was a former professional umpire, but the contest is not taken too seriously and includes some humorous interludes. This year the winner was the Australian team, but the Poms are determined to win next time.
Of course, there are some poor, benighted souls who aren’t really interested in cricket. But there was plenty of entertainment for them too at the alternative attraction — the recently installed waterslide.
YOUR SAY: Tell us about the sporting contests you’ve seen at caravan parks. What was the event? What was the rivalry like? Who won? Remember, "sporting" doesn't necessarily have to mean it involved a physical sport.
Susan and Keith Hall are regular Caravan World magazine contributors to. Visit their blog here.