There was a party down the other end of the pub last night… someone had a special birthday and whoever it was had an extended family in the modern sense, marriages, remarriages, ex-partners, step-sisters/brothers, half-brothers/sisters, ex and current parents-in-law… They were having a grand time. In what we call the cross-benches, the bar between the two ends, there was a group of youngish people who left at about 10:45 all together no doubt to go into town and find a club. At ‘our’ end were three friends at the bar who as usual were talking about sport.

We sat down with our drinks and after a little while the landlord came over to chat, and told us about  a recent trip to Australia. He is a great cricket fan and part of the reason for his trip was to go to Adelaide to see the Test Match. He and his wife had a marvellous time, and he told us what a lovely city Adelaide is – definitely a place I would like to visit!

He was telling us about the cricket – well, not so much the cricket, more about the fans. The English team have a huge group of fans who travel the world to watch them play – and they are known as the Barmy Army… which I think I must write about in detail another time. There is always a huge group of these fans who are characterised by good but eccentric behaviour and their devotion to the English team which, it has been said, are expert in ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’.

After a decade or so of Australian fans seeing the Barmy Army on tour, several of them began to respond by creating their own version – the Richies. To explain about the Richies I need to mention the famous and much-loved and respected cricketer, Richie Benaud. Richie was an outstanding cricketer but in later years became renowned and respected as a cricket commentator. He was popular across the world, but particularly Britain, as well as his home country. With the advent of television he began to wear a distinctive beige jacket and white trousers, and was always immaculate with a shirt and tie – he was easily recognisable with his thatch of silver hair and usually carrying a microphone.

So, going back to the Richies, it started with about ten cricket fans dressing up as Richie Benaud, complete with silver wig and microphone to support the Australian team in Test Matches, and now there are literally thousands! They don’t all turn up to all the matches, some probably can only afford to go to their nearest ground, but having this huge army of well-behaved but fun-loving fans, cheering the team on, supporting them in victory and in defeat is fantastic. They only want to enjoy themselves and honour Richie, having a great time but abiding by the rules of the grounds, with no anti-social behaviour, and following the dress code – as their web-site says:

Do I have to wear a suit? – Absolutely! Being a Richie is a commitment to uphold the good character & fine dress standards of the great man himself. You’ll also have to wear a shirt, tie, pants, wig and of course… your Microphone! If you want to wear a singlet & strap a watermelon to your head go for it. We’ll be in the bay next door high-fiving every time Warner hits a six.

If you want to know more, here is a link:

http://www.therichies.com.au/

The things you learn with a night out at the pub!!

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