APPT Sydney Day 2: Every cloud has a silver lining

If there's one thing that we love about this wide brown land, it's summertime. The glorious sunshine on the golden sands of our beaches, the crystal blue waters of the ocean. Could you imagine being down at Bondi or Manly, surfing the waves, or lying there on the beach working on your tan as a bevy of bronzed Aussie beauties walk on by? Paradise!

Unfortunately, we'll have to rain on your parade, because according to the Bureau of Meteorology, we're in for our wettest summer yet, thanks to La Niña. The good news? Australia is coming off an almost decade-long drought. Naturally, it's been great for our farmers, but parts of country New South Wales and Queensland being flooded, further affecting crops.

Nevertheless, the rains seem to be easing and with Australia coming out on top after weathering the storm of the global financial crisis, further recovery in both the agricultural and economical sectors is possible.

The same can't be said for our ailing Australian cricket team, who are currently struggling against England in what is arguably the greatest Test cricket series in the world - "The Ashes". Long story short, when a touring English team was defeated by a touring Australian colony side in 1882, a British newspaper published the following obituary:

Thumbnail image for appt_sydney_obituary.jpg

From death, there is life ... the obituary that started it all

After the "announcement" of England's cricketing demise, legend tells us that three Victorian ladies incinerated the bails of a wicket before placing the ashes in a six-inch tall urn and presenting it to the captain of the English team, Ivo Bligh in 1883. The original urn, due to its delicate state, now resides permanently in the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at The Oval (a replica is presented to the winning side), but the glory, the prestige and the spirit of the rivalry is alive and well.

Some people may think that Test cricket is a boring game, but try telling that to the fans who fill up the stadiums, especially when The Ashes series is on. In a similar tradition to Thanksgiving NFL matches, the Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts the Boxing Day Test, which begins on the day after Christmas. Up to 90,000 people, regardless of the touring side, will head to "The 'G" to watch five days of world-class cricket. Howzat!

Thumbnail image for appt_sydney_england_ashes.jpg

The English side are presented with The Ashes at The Oval after winning the series in 2009

As for 2010, the first Test in Brisbane was declared a draw due to inclement weather, while Australia lost in the second Test in Adelaide, with the third test in Perth due to start this weekend before the fourth and fifth tests in Melbourne and Sydney in the new year. If there was one other time we were praying for rain apart from the drought, it was last weekend, as it would have "saved" us in Adelaide. One more victory for England in the last three tests will result in those limey fog-breathers retaining the urn!

Despite the setbacks we've had at the start of this Aussie summer, we can always take solace in the fact that for the last three years, the PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final title has stayed on home soil. Grant Levy in 2007. Martin Rowe in 2008. Aaron Benton in 2009. Who will it be in 2010? There's only one way to find out, and that's to stay with us right here on PokerStars Blog as we bring you all the live updates from 12.30pm AEDST (GMT +11). See you soon!

Landon Blackhall
@PokerStars in Sydney