Dunedin prepares for Barmy Army

The English are coming ... The Terrace Bar duty manager Laura Mulqueen is ready for a big week...
The English are coming ... The Terrace Bar duty manager Laura Mulqueen is ready for a big week when the Barry Army uses the bar as its Dunedin headquarters for the New Zealand v England cricket test match starting on March 6. Photo by Tim Miller
An army is coming and Dunedin is preparing itself.

Thousands of loud English cricket supporters are expected to be in the city for the England and New Zealand test match at the University Oval starting on March 6.

New Zealand Cricket commercial and marketing general manager James Wear said there had been very strong sales for the Dunedin test.

When England was playing and the Barmy Army following it, ticket numbers grew and this had shown up in pre-sales for the Dunedin match, Mr Wear said.

''We recommend that locals get in soon to secure their tickets for the Dunedin Test, as there is limited capacity at University Oval,'' he said.

New Zealand Cricket does not give out information on the specific number of tickets sold before a match.

Barmy Army spokeswoman Becky Fairlie-Clarke said there was excitement among the Barmy Army about the New Zealand tour and a real interest in visiting Dunedin.

The group was also looking forward to seeing the University Oval, which they had seen on television last year, when South Africa played there, Mrs Fairlie-Clarke said. Despite New Zealand's disappointing form before the tour a large number of supporters were still expected to follow the English team around New Zealand, she said.

''It is always hard to to say how many people will tour but certainly the tour in 2008 has gone down in Barmy Army folklore as an absolutely brilliant tour.

The Terrace Bar will be the headquarters for the touring group while in Dunedin, something owner John McDonald is looking forward to.

''We have been in talks with them for the past couple of weeks and we put together a proposal and they said yes to using us as their base in Dunedin.''

Mr McDonald expected it to be a very busy week for the bar and did not mind if there was one day of rain.

''I'm sure we will be able to accommodate them for the day.''

The bar had not applied for an extended licence and would operating as normal, he said.

He also invited any New Zealand supporters to get along and enjoy the atmosphere.

Adams Flags sales manager Bruce Adams said he would be making sure there were a few extra English flags lying around just in case Barmy Army members had left theirs at home.

As well as the test match, the Barmy Army will be taking on New Zealand cricket's own supporters, the Beige Brigade, on March 5, the day before the test starts.

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