My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report and thanks everyone for reading and encouraging me to keep blogging this year; hopefully I can say enough to keep you interested and entertained in the year ahead also!  Happy new year to all my readers and followers 🙂

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Book Review: Gifted Hands

I was actually recommended to read this book by my 16 year old nephew so I figured if he enjoyed it, it could be worth a read!

Dr. Ben Carson is known around the world for breakthroughs in neurosurgery that have brought hope where no hope existed.  In Gifted Hands, he tells of his inspiring odyssey from his childhood in inner-city Detroit to his position as director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Medical Institutions at age thirty-three.  Taking you into the operating room where he has saved countless lives, Ben Carson is a role model for anyone who attempts the seemingly impossible – (taken from the flyleaf of the book)

Overall, the book for me was a satisfying yet challenging biographical story of Doctor Carson’s life and, more particularly, the lives he can save through his talents as a neurosurgeon.

Although I didn’t particularly enjoy reading through some of the surgical procedures he had to describe in the various stories, it was still amazing to read a first-hand account of what actually goes on in such operations and just how horrid deficits and disabilities can actually be righted and the people can start to live a “normal” life again.

I think I really enjoyed reading the stories about the children’s lives he helped, the most.

The letter from his mother, Sonya Carson, as the preface to the book was also a nice touch, particularly in her sharing of a wonderful poem by Mayme White Miller:

“Yourself to Blame”

If things go bad for you –
And make you a bit ashamed,
Often you will find out that
You have yourself to blame …

Swiftly we ran to mischief
And then the bad luck came.
Why do we fault others?
We have ourselves to blame …

Whatever happens to us
Here are the words to say,
“Had it not been for so-and-so
Things wouldn’t have gone that way.”

And if you’re short of friends,
I’ll tell you what to do –
Make an examination,
You’ll find that fault’s in you …

You’re the captain of your ship,
So agree with the same –
If you travel downward,
You have yourself to blame.

The person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is you!”- Sonya Carson

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So this is Christmas …

(As the lyrics from the popular Christmas song I have been hearing a lot over the last few weeks, goes!)

I figure it is obligatory to blog at this time and reminisce on the year prior 😉

Just looking back over my photo albums of the pictures I have collected throughout 2012, I’m actually quite glad I am trying to take more pictures of daily events now, as it is quite easy these days to forget just how full our days and years are!

Small things like having the opportunity to meet and say hello to cricket players in domestic, as well as international teams … being privileged to see the South African cricket team in action at the Basin Reserve in March … getting the chance to test my vertigo and see just what the view really is like from the commentary boxes at the Basin Reserve … rare, but satisfactory and hard-fought, victories by the New Zealand team … being hugely blessed by the team behind the Wellington Firebirds franchise … and sharing many, many fun, happy (and thoughtful and sadder) moments with fans from around the country and around the world!

It actually has been a fantastic year, in my opinion, in my cricketing world, and I’m thankful to all the fans, players and other people who made it so great 🙂

And I’m now looking forward to a brilliant summer of domestic AND international cricket ahead … cannot WAIT for the Barmy Army, oh, and the English cricket team, to hit our shores in February!  And of course, I’m hoping that our New Zealand “Black Caps” team do everything they can do to make us proud and satisfied with the performances they put together on the fields of play around the country, and around the world, in the coming months!

A very happy Christmas to all players, no matter which team you are part of, and cricket fans around New Zealand, and around the world … and very best wishes and blessings for 2013!

2012 - a year in cricket!

2012 – a year in cricket!

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Impressions of Karori Park

I was most disappointed this week, actually, to be stuck in the office at work … while the Wellington Firebirds and Central Stags were doing battle in the Plunket Shield domestic men’s 4-day competition at Karori Park in Wellington.

Since making it’s first-class cricket debut at the end of last season, the staff and grounds staff at the facility have gone out of their way, it seems, to make any cricket the Firebirds (and opposition) play at the ground, a pleasurable and enjoyable experience.

Fortunately, Wednesday evening after work, it was such a beautiful sunny afternoon in Wellington, that I was able to hasten from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping in the CBD … and found myself in a little piece of cricket paradise for the last hour or so of the day’s play:

Village cricket in Karori?

Village cricket in Karori

I actually arrived at the ground just in time to see the last Central Stags’ batsmen (in their second innings at bat) lost his wicket to a catch to Josh Brodie, which set the home team a target of 247 runs to begin to eat into over the next day (and 12 overs remaining in that evening).

I was fortunate to be able to find a vacant park bench on the side of the boundary … fortunate, in that the game was definitely well attended by fans seated along the “embankments” of the ground, as well as people walking their dogs around the pathways that run around the outside of the ground; people jogging and riding bicycles … it was a casual, laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, that was extremely enjoyable to watch cricket in!

Josh Brodie and Steven Murdoch for the Firebirds fell cheaply to the opening bowlers of the Stags, and it was Michael Papps (77 not out) and Scott Kuggeleijn (142 not out) who ultimately batted intelligently and, on the final day, saw the home side to victory.

It was also very pleasing to see a “cameo” from Jesse Ryder as he ambled to the crease (he always seems to be so relaxed, does our Jesse! 🙂 ) at number 4 in the batting order, going through a few “swings and misses” before finally connecting to a couple of deliveries and scoring four boundaries (including a 6 over the ropes) in his 19 runs off 12 balls.  Hopefully his good form with the bat can continue right the way through the summer, whether he is playing for his domestic team or gets called back into international duties later on – he deserves to keep batting well for a lot longer yet!

Of course, while I miss the convenience and top-rated environment of the Hawkins Basin Reserve … and can’t WAIT to be back there when these two sides once again battle it out on the cricket field, this time in a 20/20 fixture on Boxing Day this year … we would seem to be incredibly fortunate and blessed to have THREE top class cricket grounds in Wellington these days!

Wellington Firebirds v Central Stags, 10-13 December 2012, Plunket Shield scorecard

Enjoying the cricket at Karori Park

Enjoying the cricket at Karori Park

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Book Review: Love You

Kim Crossman - Love YouLove You
By Kimberley Crossman 

Even though this book has clearly been written aimed at younger women, i.e., teenage years through to early 20s I would say, it is still full of positive information and advice for helping ANY one in how to live their lives to the fullest!

I think my favourite chapter was the one about friendships, possibly because I like being a friend to people myself and value the friendships I have made over the years. As the quote Kimberley gives in the chapter goes, from Zara Cormack:

“A  true friend is someone you can lose touch with for weeks but when you call them your bond and love for each other is equal if not stronger than before. Encourage your friends to be the best they can be, support their dreams and be honest with them and then you both will grow.”

I also loved the way Kimberley waited till the last page of the book to thank a few people for helping with the book, and also, through her life to make her the woman she is today. Usually these “dedications” can be found on one of the front pages of a book – I liked turning to the last page and finishing with a note of thanks and gratefulness.

I also loved, of course, the fact that I had the opportunity to meet Kimberley herself recently, when I bought the book and she signed the front page of my book for me as well! And the fact that she took a couple of minutes to chat and say hello properly and have photographs with each of us, made a real difference – so often at book signings, the customer is just passed along a line and the book’s author doesn’t really know who is who; it was a blessing to meet Kimberley that day!

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Needed a good cricket news story this week …

… and thank goodness Jesse Ryder more than delivered for the Hell Wellington Firebirds in their HRV Cup fixture against the Central Stags!!!

Jesse Ryder smashes another boundary

Jesse Ryder smashes another boundary

I unfortunately was not able to witness the onslaught myself (being limited to text updates on the Cricket Wellington scoreboard) but after the Stags won the toss and decided to bowl first, Ryder seemed to make that decision appear to be their first mistake!

I don’t know if it was because he was still feeling annoyed at the treatment former New Zealand captain, Ross Taylor (who’s home team happens to be the Stags also) has received over the last few days and weeks by the management at NZ Cricket, but Ryder was obviously on a mission to hit the ball as hard and far and often as he could in his 26 ball innings!

His 75 runs included 9 boundary-fours and 6 hits that cleared the rope for six runs, as he and Michael Pollard set up the Firebirds’ innings perfectly, reaching 100/0 off just 7 overs!

The Wellington team had a minor hiccup in the next few overs as they lost both the opening batsmen (Ryder 75, Pollard 28 off 21 balls) and Michael Papps (0 runs) and Luke Ronchi (15 runs) close to together, but returning captain, James Franklin (42 off 37 not out) and stand-in captain Grant Elliott (50 off 27) steadied the ship and ensured the team set a huge total of 214/5 off their 20 allotted overs.

The Stags were always going to be up against the run rate (and the ‘Winning and Success Predictor’ utilised by Sky Sport which at one point gave them a 2%) chance of winning the match!

The Wellington bowlers did their job well shared the wickets around, although special mention must be made of Chris Woakes’ 3 wickets for 27 off his 4 overs – welcome to New Zealand, Chris, and thanks for coming all that way from England for the season 🙂

Slightly concerning to hear that Doug Bracewell has sustained an injury while bowling in the Firebirds’ innings, particularly as he has just been named in the New Zealand team for both the test matches and T20/ODI matches on the upcoming South Africa tour next week.  Hopefully this was more a precautionary “did not bat” and he recovers quickly!

Oh and Firebirds, keep the winning going please!  Apparently, winning 2 out of the 3 games so far this season equals the number of wins IN TOTAL for last season’s HRV Cup … please don’t let the winning stop at 2 for the 2012/13 season as well 😉

Wellington Firebirds v Central Stags, Napier, 7 December 2012 scorecard

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