52 beers in one flight

David Boon is a former Australian cricketer, born in Tasmania 1960. He scored more than 7 000 runs at Test level (highest level of playing cricket) and made more than 100 appearances on both Test and One Day International. After finishing his career in international cricket, he became the captain of Durham, English first-class county club. He retired in 1999 and became a national selector. Boon is known for his batting scores, stout figure and distinctive mustache, but to be real, he is famous for drinking 52 beers on a single flight, from Sydney to London.

David Boon

From 60s to 80s there was a competition among Australian cricketers – who can drink the most beer on a flight. Seemingly unbreakable record was set in 1973 when Doug Walters and Rodney Marsh drank 44 cans each. There were multiple attempts to break that record, but all unsuccessful. Until April 1989, when Australian team was travelling to London to regain The Ashes. Flight included a halt in Singapore before landing in London. They took off in Sydney and Boon was slowly starting to warm up with Mark Taylor and Merv Hughes. Dean Jones joined soon. None of them kept count except Jones, who notified the team when they finished their 22nd, 375 ml can of beer somewhere near Singapore.  Shortly after the plane took off for London, Dean Jones passed out and fell asleep. Geoff Lawson continued keeping the score on vomit bags.

The Age News Picture by Pat Scala. (Photo by Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Few hours later, Jones woke up due to a loud applause of the crew and the passengers, as few seconds before captain of the plane announced that Boon had broken the 1973 record. New record was 52 cans, with attendants confirming the count. You can imagine that their coach, Bob Simpson wasn’t that happy about it. As Dean Jones narrates: “…and the captain skits on – “Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Heathrow, 6 degrees outside and I want to wish 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”.

 Australian Cpt Allan Border (in cap) with his two batting heroes Geoff Marsh and David Boon.

Marsh and Waters were carried out of the plane in 1973, while David Boon walked out. He picked his bags and left for the traditional press conference with the team. Luckily no reporters asked him questions. The press conference was followed by a cocktail party hosted by the sponsors, where Boon drank three more cans of beer. After finally arriving at the hotel, Boon fell asleep, no one could wake him up for 36 hours and he missed two training sessions. He never spoke about this event, “and never will” as he said for Weekend Australian Magazine.

David Boon drank a staggering amount of 19.5 liters of beer, consuming 900ml of pure, undiluted ethanol in 24 hours. In case you were wandering, he is still alive and works as a national selector.
This story is a big part of cricket history of that era and probably won’t get an encore any time soon. Mentality of cricketers and sport in general is a lot different now, and you probably cannot find an airline today that would be so cooperative and supportive of drinking more than 50 beers on their flight.