The Ashes, Walters, Boon and a Drinking Record

Keep all the cricket records aside, because this article will leave you awestruck as it details the incredible record set by cricketers off the field.

Doug Walters was an integral and an incredible part of Australian Cricket till the very end of his career. His cricket records, on and off the field have entered grandly into the chronicles of the world cricket. He arrived imperiously into international cricket by hitting a magnificent century on his debut in 1965 and became the 9th Australian to do so. In his very next match, he scored another century and became only the second player to hit back to back hundreds in the first 2 Tests after Bill Ponsford. He served in the army for another two years and arrived even more grandly in 1969 by hitting a double ton and a century (242 and 103) in the same match and became the first person to do it.

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Besides these, he has hit a century in one single session three times. Keeping the cricket records of Walters aside, he was a voracious smoker who kept the count of the cigarettes he smoked. By the time he quit smoking he had already smoked 7,85,300 cigarettes. But one record created by Walters off the field seemed immortal for all the cricketers.

The Record

The 60s to 80s was the time when there was a competition among the Australian players as to who will drink more cans of beer by the time they reach London. It was 1973, and the flight took off from Sydney and Walters asked Rodney Marsh how many cans of beer they could drink till they reach London. Marsh answered, “25 to 30, I think” to which Walters replied, “Nah!!!.. I think 35 at least” and thus began the competition which became a regular affair for Australian players whenever they travelled to England. The rule was to count the cans of beer drunk on the flight, cans drunk during the halt will not be counted.

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By the time they reached London, Marsh, and Walters both had drunk 44 cans of beer and were so high on alcohol, that both of them were carried off by the flight attendants. This was incredible memory of the then Ashes team as it became an unbreakable record until 1989.

David Boon: The Record Breaker

The Australian team in 1989 was to travel to England to regain ‘The Urn’. They started their journey to get back The Ashes and thus began the “Beer Competition” by David Boon, Mark Taylor, and Merv Hughes. Dean Jones joined in soon.

The flight was to halt at Singapore and Dean Jones had kept a count of 22 beers by then. But shortly after the flight took off for London from Singapore, Jones fell asleep and Geoff Lawson kept the score in vomit bags. Taylor backed off and so did Hughes but Boon continued.

A few hours later, Jones woke up to the cheers and claps in the flight only to discover that Boon had drunk an incredible 52 cans of beer. In 1973, the record set by Walters was broken, but it is also said that Boon and colleagues had asked the pilot to make 2 more rounds around the airport so that he can reach a count of 50.

Their coach Simpson was not happy at all. But Jones recollects the announcement made by Captain,

“Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to Heathrow, 6 degrees outside and I want to wish the Australian cricket team all the best, I know they’ll do very well, ‘cause David Boon just broke the record – 52 cans from Sydney to London!” Everyone has just gone off, except Bob Simpson, who’s gone purple with rage.”

An Unimaginable Record

David Boon had drunk 52 cans of beer which amounted to a staggering total of 19.5 Ltrs of beer consuming 900 ml of undiluted alcohol in the span of 24 hrs. While Walters and Marsh were carried off the plane by the flight attendants, David Boon walked off the plane proudly without anybody’s support. Technically, David Boon should not have survived after drinking 900 ml of undiluted alcohol which could have caused great pressure on his liver or else he would have died of Cardiac arrest, but it was Boon who stood different from all the technicals of human biology and just walked off the plane and when they arrived at the hotel he attended a press conference too. When asked about this Boon says he just remembers walking off to the hotel room and doesn’t remember what he said at the conference.

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He headed straight to the hotel where no one bothered to wake Boon up who slept for straight 36 hrs, Australia won the Ashes series 4-0 where Taylor piled up incredible 839 runs in the series and Boon contributed 442 runs at an average of 55.

To date, this remains a record and will remain immortal as these days Cricketers like to keep the fitness level at par than to spoil their eating and drinking habits. But Boon just entered the history books grandly and will remain the annals of cricket history forever.

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