John Harms on Summer

I am on tour in Queensland at the moment, which has afforded me the opportunity to visit some familiar old Trans-Australian Banks with their jaunty tropical livery, all green and happy, just as a good betting shop should be.

Just down the road from our holiday unit at Mooloolaba is the yacht club which is as good a spot to invest as you’d find with a breeze wafting across the deck which looks over the inlet. It’s one of those classic joints which offers value countries and quite a few of the tradies lob for a steak and a pint and end up leaving the ute in the car park for the afternoon as they try to land in a winner in Penola.

The Harms brothers – all four of us – have gathered from around the country for the annual beach holiday, with tribes, which means feeding time is frantic, not unlike fish being thrown to the creatures at Underwater World next door.

This makes the annual golf tournament a blessed relief. Fiercely contested, betting on The Brown Slipper (a mounted corduroy number) was stifled this year by no-one knowing the form. The pure market would have been 4/1 each of four.

However I knew that something was afoot when youngest brother offered to prepare lunch for me. He served up about a kilo and a half of left-over vindaloo and a Corona – at 11.15 on a 35 degree Queensland morning. I never came back. Twin Waters was in terrific nick though, and the golf was adequate, more memorable for its lines rather than the shot-making.

Evenings have been taken up with the feeding, watering and settling of surf-tired kids, and The Big Bash. Punters take their life into their own hands when betting on this form of the game as teams find their way, and fortune plays its role. I used to think that any team with Chris Gayle in it was worth a ticket until the Thunder were beaten last night.

But then again, after the punting debacle of the Second Test, I might be better chancing my arm with The Big Bash. Anticipating further fluctuations in a relatively low-scoring Sydney Test, I got the scenario completely wrong. Congratulations to the Australians and the patriots who backed them.

But at 3/40 the Australians my thesis was on track. Enter Michael Clarke and his band of olde swash-bucklers. The rest is history – and a red blotch in the debit column.

I’ll stick to my guns. Both sides have batsmen who are vulnerable early. Both sides can get the wobbles. The Perth wicket looks to have reverted to type – fast and bouncy.

But a key factor is that the Indians don’t like the short stuff.

I still reckon they are OK value at the longer price of $3.70.

Yet the Australians, whose comprehensive win at the SCG gives them every right to go in favourites at $1.70, have their tails up.

I’m staying with my approach. I’m going to back the side which bowls first to win the Test and then re-assess as the wickets fall and the batting side’s price drifts. I reckon this will be a Test of fluctuating fortunes.

The beauty of it is in the daily timing. There might be no better way than to finish your Queensland holiday than with a post-dinner beer at the local watering hole, having a quiet nibble at the Friday night red hots, while watching the cricket from far-off Perth. It’s Mum’s turn to settle the kids.

Dad is exhausted.

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