My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

A picture tells a thousand words …

Nothing needs to be said, really …

The New Zealand Black Caps completed a 27 run victory over the South African Proteas earlier today (NZ time) and in doing so, won a One Day International series for the first time in the continent!

A well-disciplined batting effort from Kane Williamson for his 145 not out, combined with brilliance in the field … well, I need not say more …

Jumping for joy!

Jumping for joy!

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When is a run-out not a run-out?!

When it’s the Auckland Aces HRV Cup team, trying to dismiss Cameron Borgas of the Wellington Firebirds’ HRV Cup team!  😉

Firebirds v Aces at the Basin Reserve

Firebirds v Aces at the Basin Reserve

Seriously, it was like a comedy on the Basin Reserve this evening as the Wellington Firebirds and Auckland Aces faced off in the preliminary final of the HRV Cup domestic 20/20 competition at the Hawkins Basin Reserve!

Of course, it all started swimmingly for the home side, winning the toss and doing what seems to be most successful for them this season and that is batting first, and letting Jesse Ryder have free rein with the bat, to set a defendable total.

And boy, did he bat well!

Facing up to the opening over from Matt Quinn for the Aces, Ryder proceeded to smash 20 runs off the 6 deliveries!

And then proceeded to score 46 runs off the 17 balls he faced in total, making it an extremely entertaining 14 minutes of cricket for the home fans who had flocked to the Basin Reserve in their numbers (It has to be said – a winning team does seem to bring in the supporters!)

When the opening batsmen departed in quick succession for the Firebirds, it was left to the likes of Michael Papps (70 not out), Cameron Borgas (29), Luke Ronchi (21) and Theo Doropoulos (10*) to steady the ship and set a very defendable 182/4 total.

Welcome back to the Basin, Lou Vincent!

Welcome back to the Basin, Lou Vincent!

Ably assisted by a fair few dropped catches and fielding blunders by the visiting team, including said run-out attempt.  Cameron Borgas survives an appeal for Leg Before Wicket (LBW) by the Aces fieldsmen, defending the ball into the point region … he sets off for a single but is wisely sent back by his partner at the other end … he turns, slips over in the middle of the pitch, yet still has time to get to his feet and return to his crease as the Auckland fieldsman fires the ball at the stumps and proceeds to miss!  The fans watching were left open-mouthed with confusion, wondering how the heck Borgas was still alive at the crease – ha ha!

Another highlight was Lou Vincent fielding the ball from the boundary fence – he picked the ball up and then tossed it to one of the boys standing alongside the fence, watching, just so he could get involved in the game and throw it back to him!

Act 1 ended and it’s time for the Firebirds to show that they can defend a total of 180 (ish) for the second time in a week (Firebirds v Knights, 13 January 2013 scorecard) and again, it started so well with Ili Tugaga trapping danger man, Lou Vincent, in front of the wickets for a first-ball duck!

The Aces star import, Aaron Finch, made a valiant 44 of 30 balls to get the team close to their required target, but the Firebirds took wickets at regular intervals and bowled economically to restrict the Auckland side from scoring any more than 159 runs off their 20 overs.

Which means, it will hopefully be “third time’s the charm” on Sunday afternoon as the Wellington Firebirds attempt to beat the Otago Volts in Dunedin for the tournament title for this season.  So far this season, the Otago side has had the better side of the results, but they will be tested with losing the likes of Jimmy Neesham and Nathan McCullum to New Zealand duties in South Africa, and so hopefully, the Firebirds can go one better this year and put a trophy in the cabinet back at the Basin Reserve!

Firebirds v Aces, 18 January 2013 scorecard

And then saying hello to Lou Vincent, Theo Doropoulos, Laura McGoldrick and Mark Richardson after the game … just about made up for being spotted by a Sky Sport cameraman eating my dinner of hot chips half way through the Firebirds’ batting innings!  😉

Finally have the courage to say hello to Mark "Rigger" Richardson!

Finally have the courage to say hello to Mark “Rigger” Richardson!

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Our instant lifestyle comes back to hurt us

I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised as our New Zealand cricketers crash to another horrid score in the second test match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth over the weekend …

instant coffee I mean, our lives are centred around wanting everything immediately these days … whether it be instantly feeding our caffeine addiction rather than waiting for the plunger to brew or the barista-made cup to be ready … our need to eat quickly using a microwave to heat our food, rather than taking the time to carefully and considerately plan out a menu, gather the ingredients and spend the time putting together a nutritious meal for ourselves and our friends … our need to instantly connect with our friends and family around the world via text messages or social networking, instead of sitting patiently by the mail box, just waiting for that much-anticipated letter to arrive …

(Even as I write this blog post, I proved my own point by signing into my “instant” messaging application on my computer and immediately being able to talk to a friend on the other side of the world, without any effort at all!)

 … and our need to watch an entire game of cricket, and get a result in the space of an afternoon, so that we can go away and get on with the rest of our lives, and all those other important things that we can’t wait to do!
As I watched the first session of the second test match on my TV screen … with images screened to me via satellites so that I could get the action from the game live and at the same time as it was happening … I found myself marvelling as Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis strode out to the middle of the field, and each set about defending stoically and deliberately each delivery that was bowled down the pitch to them, not seeming to care or mind that it had taken them half an hour to score a mere 11 runs …
And I watched the other end of the pitch as the likes of Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell, disciplined themselves to bowling the right line and length of delivery so that the batsmen couldn’t score runs freely … and wondering to myself just who was going to crack first, and hoping it wasn’t the New Zealanders …
I almost sighed out loud as eventually the short-pitched, easy-paced delivery came and the world-class batsman at the other end of the pitch was able to easily switch his mindset from defence to attack and score a boundary 4 and ease the run-scoring pressure off himself and his team!
Photo courtesy of www.cricinfo.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com

And I woke up this morning to check the New Zealand batting scorecard … feeling distressed to see scores such as 1, 13, 4, 10, 0 and 15 from our “top” batsmen 😦
And then I look down the  “minutes” column, which indicates the amount of time the batsman spent at the batting crease to score his runs, and the news doesn’t get much better … 12, 8, 41 and 10!  Brendon McCullum at least managed an hour and a half for his 13 runs (97 minutes to be precise) but without having seen the batting innings myself, I would hazard a guess a lot of those 61 balls faced from the South African bowlers weren’t met with a defensive bat 😦
Scorecard for New ZEaland v South Africa, second test, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Now don’t get me wrong – I love all formats of cricket, and will steadfastly support my national and local teams in their quests for various tournament wins – I just feel like we have “trained” our players to have an instant entertainment mentality in all varieties of the game, instead of being able to appreciate waiting for the joy, for example, of a test match century, achieved through determination, discipline and defence:
The joy of a test century!(Photo courtesy of www.cricinfo.com)

The joy of a test century!
(Photo courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com)

The administrators for our game in New Zealand, along with the media, and some fans, have told our players that we just want them to go out onto the park and entertain the crowds for a few hours and that’ll do … they don’t bother telling the players that actually the fans will appreciate them a whole lot more if they take two days to grind out 100 runs for their country, or cause the opposition batsmen to take two or three days to bat through their test match innings because they are bowling so tightly that runs are harder to be scored … for some reason, they believe we love our “instant lifestyles” so much that we want our cricket to be instant as well.  Unfortunately, the only Instant Cricket I have found is a gambling website that allows where users to play 5, 10, 20 or 50 over games instantly and win cash!
I may want an instant lifestyle but I still appreciate waiting and being patient for things, because most of the time, the things that take time are the things that are worth the most!  And I, for one, want long-life (and patient) cricketers!
Determination, discipline and defence – sounds like a good slogan, really, doesn’t it?!  😉
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It’s the small things that count …

I don’t know why, but for some reason I was really looking forward to the Hell Wellington Firebirds HRV Cup match against the Otago Volts side at the Hawkins Basin Reserve this week!

Maybe it had something to do with it being the first home game of the new year … or the fact that the Otago Volts have always been a favourite team of mine … or the fact that it was a stunningly fine day in the capital city and I was allowed to leave work early to get to the game in time, along with a really fantastic, and “huge” crowd that crammed onto the embankment to enjoy the cricket …

Wellington puts on a stunner for the Volts!

Wellington puts on a stunner for the Volts!

By the time I got to the crowd and purchased my flat white coffee from the vendor, I was fortunate to be able to find a seat in my favoured spot near the “Third Man” boundary … if a right-hand batsman is on strike, that is 😉

Which brings me to the “small things that count and the small things that make the difference” point …

It’s the small things like having a straight-on view as Scott Kuggeleijn sprints in from the boundary to pick up a ball hit by Derek de Boarder and fire it at the stumps to run Nathan McCullum out …

It’s the small things like being able to see Jesse Ryder bowling to said Derek de Boarder and his bowling being so ferocious (note sarcasm!) that the bat handle splinters on Derek’s bat and the blade flies in the air to the “point” region!

You can just spy the demolished bat on the ground behind the front row seats ...

You can just spy the demolished bat on the ground behind the front row seats …

It’s the small things like being able to keep an eye on the comings and goings in the players’ areas, as well as the game itself …

Nathan McCullum and myself

Nathan McCullum and myself

especially when important Black Caps’ players like Nathan McCullum get stretching exercises performed on his back by the physiotherapist during the batting innings, and worrying that something is wrong, on the eve of his departure for the One-Day series in South Africa the next day!

(You’ll be pleased to know that I had the opportunity to speak to Nathan after the game, and say hi and good luck, and make sure everything was okay … it is!)

It’s the small things like being able to say hi again to Kirsty from Cricket Wellington as she walked past on her way to the Association’s offices … even though it took me a second to recall her name!  (He he – sorry Kirsty, I appreciate you, really I do 😉 )

It’s the small things like Luke Woodcock doing subtle advertising for Buzz Bats as he is sitting with the rest of the team, waiting in case he is required to bat for the home side …

Luke Woodcock advertising for Buzz Bats!

Luke Woodcock advertising for Buzz Bats!

It’s the small things like Grant Elliot remembering who I was when I called across after the game, as he was collecting up his batting equipment from the team marquee, and wishing him good luck for his call-up to international duties in South Africa – he gave me a wave in return and said “Thanks Jess!”

It’s the small things like waiting to have a chat to Jimmy Neesham during the autograph session after the game (and a photo!) and wishing him a good flight and success for the One-Day series in South Africa.  I hope you got to see Skyfall as hoped on the plane, Jimmy!

Thanks for chatting, Jimmy Neesham!

Thanks for chatting, Jimmy Neesham!

It’s the small things like, even though the Firebirds lost the game by 12 runs, feeling like you’ve witnessed a fabulous game of 20/20 cricket and appreciating the impressive skills that were illustrated by both teams, and unfortunately in this case, proved superior by the Volts, particularly in the bowling department as they restricted the Wellington batsmen superbly!

HRV Cup scoreboard – Wellington Firebirds v Otago Volts, Friday 11 January 2013

Thanks for doing the small things to make cricket fun to follow, players, administrators and fans alike!

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Lazy days of summer!

I just realised we’ve been in 2013 for a week and I haven’t blogged yet – how disgraceful! 😉 Ha ha!
Although, I have to admit, nothing really blogable has happened in my world just yet … except for creating a new word! You reckon it’ll catch on – blogable?! 😉

I thought I’d just start the year with a photo, actually …

I took this last weekend, when our fair city was enjoying temperatures of 28 degrees (and my shoulders and back got really burnt and now I am suffering) …

Lazy day at Shelly Bay

Lazy day at Shelly Bay

I was having brunch/lunch with a couple of friends and just snapped this picture, looking out across the harbour; everything about it just felt so idyllic and summery and relaxed!

I think I’m going to have to take more moments out like this, particularly on weekends when I don’t have to work, just to enjoy the world!

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