Beijing (in red and black) and Shanghai battle it out for the China Cup.
There were no shrimp on the barbie but plenty of grilled Australian lamb, hamburgers and sausages at Saturday’s China Cup championship and Great Aussie Barbecue on the sports fields at Dulwich College in Beijing.
At least 350 people, including players representing defending champions the Beijing Bombers and the Shanghai Tigers, headed to the private international school on a splendidly sunny and warm fall day in Beijing’s Shunyi District to play for this year’s title.
The all-day event started out with the China Cup championship game. Australian rules football, called “footie,” is sort of a mix of rugby, US football and soccer, only there’s no padding or protective gear. The players - talented amateurs who play for serious fun - also pushed, shoved and slammed into each other at regular intervals. It’s a crazy, popular sport in Australia, the way SEC football is in the American South.
About two hours later, the Beijing Bombers won the game and retained the championship title for another year.
Later in the afternoon, the Australian and British embassies played cricket. I know the game has a storied reputation in the UK and most of the Commonwealth. My former Kiwi flatmate, Nigel, is a big fan and once told me seiously, “Ah, but cricket is a thinking man’s game.”
The guys look very posh and classy in their uniforms, but sorry, I still think it’s pretty dull.
Throughout the day the scent of grilled deliciousness drifted over the field as a team of Chinese chefs roasted the meat and served it with salads, desserts and drinks. I must admit I skipped the lamb - I’m just not a fan.
We ended the day at popular Beijing sports bar The Local to watch more footie - specifically, a live feed from Western Australia of the semi-final for this year’s Aussie rule championship. Two football clubs, Port Adelaide and Fremantle, battled it out in Perth, with Port Adelaide winning after a stunning comeback from what early on appeared to be a certain loss.
The final game will be broadcast in two weeks.
Two players vie for control of the ball.
The Beijing Bombers defeated the Shanghai Tigers to win the China Cup.
It’s the Australian vs the British embassies in the afternoon cricket match.
Exhausted chefs are ready to go home.