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Our five minutes of Ashes fame

PUBLISHED: 13:45 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:35 07 January 2011

Pictured: (l-r) Mark Tisshaw, Craig Press, David Asker, James Hammond, holding their 'NCFC St George' flag at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Pictured: (l-r) Mark Tisshaw, Craig Press, David Asker, James Hammond, holding their 'NCFC St George' flag at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Archant

It's already well-known among drinkers in Norwich, but the name of a city pub has flashed across television screens worldwide, thanks to four of its cricket-loving regulars.

When friends David Asker, Craig Press, Mark Tisshaw and James Hammond travelled to Australia to support England in the Ashes, they decided to take a reminder of their favourite pub with them.

The lads had a St George’s Cross flag made up, bearing the Norwich City club crest, the initials NCFC and the name of the Coach and Horses, the pub in Thorpe Road where they drink.

And when the final wicket tumbled in the fourth Test in Melbourne, signalling that England had retained the Ashes, images of their flag being jubilantly waved were beamed around the world.

Now back home, they are delighted their flag – lovingly stitched by Mr Press’ mother, Trudie – got global exposure, and are hoping it might earn them a drink when they next visit the pub.

Mr Tisshaw, Mr Press and Mr Hammond met at Thorpe St Andrew High School, where Mr Asker now teaches PE. They meet up regularly at the Coach and Horses, and all play for its cricket team.

The flag also bore the name of Norwich Bystanders Cricket Club, which Mr Asker captains and Mr Tisshaw plays for.

Mr Press, 21, of Longfields Road, Thorpe St Andrew, is a teaching assistant at Wymondham College. He said: “I bought the basic flag from the Canaries Store. Then I bought some felt, cut out the letters and my mum very kindly sewed them on. It took a couple of nights.

“Every time there was a crowd shot on the big screen we held it up so it could be seen, and after it was shown on TV at home I got a barrage of texts from people saying they’d seen it.”

Mr Asker, 26, of Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, said: “I saw England win the Boxing Day Test in South Africa last year so I was hoping for a repeat performance, and luckily Andy Strauss and the boys pulled it off.

“The whole trip was brilliant, but a highlight was skittling the Aussies out for 98 on the first day, and seeing the England players doing the sprinkler dance in front of us and showing they really appreciated us was great, too.”

Mr Tisshaw, 21, a journalist from Surrey, said: “Our flag was pretty distinctive and one of our mates who stayed up every night watching the Ashes saw it at about four or five in the morning. Later we got bombarded with texts and people were uploading screen grabs from Sky on to Facebook.”

Mr Press, Mr Tisshaw and Mr Asker are all Norwich City season ticket-holders but student Mr Hammond, 21, from west London, supports Ipswich Town. “I wasn’t too worried about the flag; it might have felt slightly dirty but I got over it. It was all about supporting England, and the Melbourne Test was probably the best it gets in terms of atmosphere,” he said.

Another highlight of their trip was meeting England stars Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood in a Melbourne casino on the night of the famous victory.

Dave Blake, owner of The Coach and Horses, said: “It’s grand as owt. It’s good expo-sure for the pub and it can’t do any harm. I suppose I’d better buy them all a pint now.”

Have you spread the name of your local pub far and wide? Contact Love Your Local reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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