Offbeat January 21, 2010

Prince William defies Aussies


Prince William: "I didn't get bowled, but I did not exactly cover myself with glory either." © Associated Press

England’s defense of the Ashes may still be 10 months away, but the opening salvo of the competition has already been sounded in the unlikely location of Flowerdale, a small town in Victoria which was devastated by bushfires last February. Even more unlikely were the participants, with Prince William, currently engaged in a royal visit to Australia, representing England while the Australian side featured four international stars, including Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden, and an unspecified number of small children.

The small community marked the Prince’s visit with a barbecue and a cricket match on the village pitch, and presented the young royal with an Australian shirt, with "William" emblazoned on the back. To his credit, on being presented with the shirt, William quipped: "Don't mention the Ashes!" In what is seemingly becoming the English way, he then clung limpet-like to the crease, seeing off a succession of deliveries from the determined young children and squeaking home to an unlikely draw. "I didn't get bowled," said the Prince, "but I did not exactly cover myself with glory either."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town