One Day Cricket – of snakes and men

I witnessed history last Sunday evening.

It has been many years since I have been to a One Day Cricket match (am I the canary in the mine in regards to the formats demise?). Yet I have witnessed many of the highpoints of One Day Cricket in Australia.

  1. Michael Bevan, arguably the best innings closer ever, hits 4 off the last ball against the West Indies to win at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on January 1, 1996.
    I was there.
  2. Allan Lamb takes Bruce Reid apart and hits 18 off the last over to win at the SCG on January 22, 1987.
    I was there.

But I have also witnessed some of the ‘off field’ high points at One Day cricket matches that seemed to have ended once the SCG’s famed Hill was cemented over.

  1. Wally, wearing nothing but some tight shorts and an empty KFC bucket on his head adorned with chicken bones and silver streamers, is ‘canned’ en masse by the hill faithful when he stands to cheer Bruce Reid on during his toothless over. The largest item to hit him was a complete two foot long bamboo bong.
    I was there (no video available).
  2. Drunken McLegend, enraged by being ‘canned’ en masse each time he stands, returns fire by standing, turning to face the crowd, and then skimming an empty can up across the heads of the hill faithful. Only to be ‘canned’ en masse again.
    I was there (no video available).

So in your correspondent’s opinion, since The Hill was cemented over and the fun police began popping all the beachballs, the days of the entertainment being largely on the paying side of the fence were over.

Then I went and saw Australia play Sri Lanka at the SCG last Sunday night.

Those who follow cricket will know it was declared a washout and therefore a ‘no result’. I could not care less about the result. In fact, if not for the rain, I would not have witnessed the worlds longest ever beer snake.

Consulting the source of all knowledge, “A beer snake, super snake, or cup snake is the stacking of numerous plastic beer cups to form a “snake.”a beer snake“.

The first such example was seen on January 3, 2001 at the SCG. A newspaper article in the Sydney Morning Herald cited Michael Gray as “The Snake Charmer” and architect of the social phenomenon.

So not only was I witnessing a record. I was witnessing it at “the source”.

About 20 minutes after the players came off the field due to rain the crowd got restless. More experienced observers noted the start of several smaller “snakes” at disparate locations in front of the Victor Trumper Stand. Every 10 minutes or so, as each of these smaller “snakes” was married to another, the crowd would cheer. Slowly the larger “snake” emerged and we knew something special was afoot.

World Record Beer Snake

White arrows denote “The Snake”

Reports have the final, record-breaking snake at 175m. After about 60 minutes the snake in front of the Trumper Stand was 100m and seemed to be struggling to source fresh cups. As with any community enterprise, momentum was of maximum importance and the spirit of the crowd seemed to be flagging. Then the Brewongle Concourse came to the fore. Just in front of your correspondent another snake was growing. Supporters passed over their beer cups, 6 from myself included, and in a blink there was a 75m beer cup snake on the Brewongle Concourse.

Beer Cup Snake

White arrows denote “The Snake”

The keepers of the snake then set off towards the Trumper Stand to merge it with its destiny. As the snake approached the barrier between the two stands a game breaker emerged. There was no way the fun police would let the snake exit the Brewongle and enter the Trumper. Or was there? After a few quick words between some security staff and the cops, the snake keepers were afforded an escort and the snake made its way from the Brewongle and into history.

The beer cup snake is no mean feat and is something to be proud off. However, the collusion of the security staff and police in the creation of the record is something to be lauded.

PS I have reviewed the slightly alcoholic cats piss they serve at Australian sporting venues elsewhere. Any focus on such serves only to cheapen the record achieved.

Beer Cup Snake

The Brewongle “snake” heads off to break the record

PPS It showed a distinct lack of digital nuance on my part to not consult twitter prior to writing this article and see that #beersnake had trended Australia-wide. I have to also publish some of the better tweets below;

Crunched the numbers. Under amended target, Sri Lanka will need 2176 plastic beer cups to win. #beersnake #AusvSL

Expect #beersnake to be rotated in next game. #ausvsl

The delay is due to the match officials trying to work the #beersnake into the Duckworth-Lewis calculations. #cricket9 #AusvSL

#Beersnake world record broken. Crowd now singing ‘We are the Champions’ at full volume.

and my personal favourite..

*tears* #Beersnake Straya…. Just, Straya.