The Gabba may be the traditional venue for an Ashes series opener and Adelaide is the official birthplace of the Barmy Army but there is something very, very special about the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
It’s the biggest event in the Australian cricket calendar and has brought some memorable days for English cricket over the years.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan in the first two Tests but we’re optimistic that Joe Root’s side can bounce back next week – and there’s nowhere better to do that than Melbourne.
If you’re lucky enough to be going to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG then we salute you and have put together this guide to make sure you can get the most out of your time in what is an amazing city…
The Bashes – Thursday 23rd December @ Middle Park CC, Aughtie Drive, Albert Park
Our week starts with the 3rd Bashes T20 to be played against the Richies. The series, which runs parallel to the Ashes, is evenly poised at 1-1 after defeat in Adelaide.
We are delighted to be going back to Middle Park CC whose ground is based very close to the grand prix pits, on Aughtie Drive in the middle of Albert Park.
It is very easy to get to from the city and is a short walk away from the Albert Park tram station.
The match starts at 5.30pm with a coin toss at 5pm and anthems at 5.20pm. The Barmy Army will be playing in red as we raise funds for the Ruth Strauss Foundation whilst the Richies will be in pink supporting the McGrath Foundation.
There is a lot of history between the Barmy Army and the Parkers, many of the founder members were staying at The Pint on Punt Backpackers on the 98/99 tour and it was here that we were challenged to a match.
Our record since then is played 7 lost 7 but a fantastic friendship has been built. Middle Park are fantastic hosts and will once again be putting on a BBQ with the bar open from 1pm as they are holding a junior 6’s before the Bashes match.
All supporters are most welcome as both teams continue to raise money for their respective charities, the Ruth Strauss Foundation and the McGrath Foundation. On previous tours, we have been lucky enough to have several high-profile supporters turning up to watch including Alec Stewart and Michael Vaughan.
Barmy Army HQs and our Pre-Test Party on Christmas Eve
How good is this from the last time we were Down Under 😍
Beer DeLuxe is one of our fav HQs and is part of the Australian Venue Co. who are giving you 🔟% off at 161 venues across Aus 🇦🇺
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) December 14, 2021
For the best experience before, during, and after the third Test, you have to get down to our Barmy Army HQs.
Beer Deluxe in Fed Square is our evening HQ and will host our pre-Test party on Christmas Eve, which gets underway at 6pm and goes on late into the evening.
The Melbourne Barmy Army will be joined by David Musk, our trumpet player for the Test, who will no doubt be going through the full repertoire of songs and anthems with a few Christmas Carols thrown in for good measure – all supporters are most welcome.
The courtyard at the Precinct
Our lunchtime HQ in Melbourne is The Precinct on Swan Street opposite Richmond Station and is not one to be missed.
It offers great quality food and full-strength beer, which must be why it was voted our favourite lunchtime venue on the 2017/18 tour.
Where we are sat at The MCG
In the ground, the Barmy Army will be based in bays M15 and M16 in the Great Southern Stand. Our experience is that it is always quite easy to move around the ground and sit with or near the allocated bays, particularly from day 2 onwards.
Take advantage of this excellent Barmy Army offer – 10% off at 39 venues in Melbourne
We would like to thank the Australian Venue Company for sponsoring the Bashes match for us. They are also offering all Barmies throughout the test by offering 10% off all of their 161 venues in Australia for the duration of the Ashes.
All you need to do is use download the Australian Venue Co app and from the main drop-down menu add the code BARMY. Your 10% discount will then be automatically added to any order they make at all
They have here 39 venues in Melbourne, including Beer Deluxe Fed Square, The Duke of Wellington, The Imperial Hotel Bourke Street, The Crafty Squire, and The Middle Park Hotel.
Merchandise AVAILABLE from Beer Deluxe in Fed Square and at The Bashes
Our tour polo and t-shirts and Budgy Smugglers buckets as highlighted above will be on sale from 24th December at Beer Deluxe. They are not being sold within the ground so head to our HQ to secure your tour merch.
Join the Melbourne Barmy Army – it’s FREE to join!
To find out all the latest news and keep tabs on what is going on in Melbourne, make sure you sign up to the Melbourne Barmy Army on Facebook and/or the Melbourne Barmy Army (@Barmy_Melbourne) on Twitter.
Getting to the MCG
There’s a real wealth of options when it comes to getting to the MCG.
There are two train stations close to the ground, with Jolimont (on the Hurstbridge or Epping lines) five minutes through Yarra Park to the north and Richmond (accessible via any train on the Lilydale, Belgrave, Alamein, Glen Waverley, Dandenong, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Frankston or Sandringham lines) a little further away to the south east.
The number 75, 48, and 70 trams all provide access to the MCG as well, while the 246 bus route is a useful option if you’re travelling from the northern and southern suburbs.
Car parking is available in Yarra Park and usually costs $10 a day per car but ultimately, there’s no better way to get there than on foot and that’s a recommendation that comes right from the very top.
In the words of Barmy Army co-founder Paul Burnham: “All of the Barmy Army venues we have are in the city and you can walk to the MCG.
“In Melbourne, you want to walk as well. It’s fantastic seeing the MCG in the distance as you walk to it.
“It’s particularly exciting on Boxing Day when you’ve got 90,000 Aussies heading to the main event of the year – the Boxing Day Test.”
Other useful info…
In line with the Victorian Government health directives for major events at the MCG, those attending will have to be fully vaccinated, unless they are able to display a valid immunisation medical exemption provided by a Victorian Government-approved health professional.
As per the MCG website: As patrons arrive at the MCG, they are asked to bring up their COVID-19 digital certificate to display to match day staff at the entrance gate in one of two ways:
- Scan the QR code outside the entrance gate using the Services Victoria App on your smart device.
- Show their COVID-19 digital certificate in the same smart wallet on their device, that houses their digital ticket from Ticketek. All patrons will still be required to “check-in” to the MCG via the Services Victoria app
Patrons without a smart device will be required to provide a printed version of the COVID-19 digital certificate or a copy of their full Immunisation History statement provided by the Australian Government (with coat of arms), which can be used as evidence of vaccination. An immunisation statement provided by a general practitioner (GP) will not be accepted.
2022 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for English cricket, click here to join the Barmy Army now…