My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Keep your chin up, Black Caps!

So our New Zealand Black Caps lost the lottery that was a 24-over “quarter final” against host country, England, in the early hours of this morning NZ time!

England v NZ, Cardiff, 16 June 2013 scorecard

All is not lost, of course, with a “no result” between Sri Lanka and Australia in the final round-robin match or alternatively, an unlikely Australia victory, sending our boys deservedly into the semi final stage 😉

For me, though, this tour of England, along with the Champions Trophy tournament, has been the form and skill shown by two key players for the future of the NZ cricket team …

Kane 'the Rock' Williamson!

Kane ‘the Rock’ Williamson!

Kane Williamson‘s batting innings today against some of the best One-Day bowlers in the world was solid and classy at the same time!

I make no secret of the fact that I enjoy watching Kane bat, but this is because he is technically so impressive and has a fine array of shots in his batting bag to unleash on any type of bowling.  And don’t forget, he doesn’t turn 23 till August!  Yet, he’s playing like a seasoned veteran of a hundred matches, let alone 40-odd!

His calmness and sense of the game situation is also something to be proud of … and I’ll never forget how calmly he completed this run-out during the encounter with Sri Lanka when, having accidentally knocked the bails off in gathering the ball from the outfield, he clinically showed us all how to complete a run-out under those circumstances!

Keep calm and complete the run out!

Keep calm and complete the run out!

It goes without saying for me that my other ‘highlight’ of the tour is one Mitchell John McClenaghan!

NZ's strike weapon!

NZ’s strike weapon!

Not only is he actually a genuinely nice guy … he’s also a pretty handy strike bowler, both at the start of an opponent’s batting innings and at the “death” overs!

I found myself actually hoping Brendon McCullum would win the toss of the coin just so New Zealand could bowl first over the course of this tournament, just cause I wanted to see such “aggressive and bouncy” bowling live and first hand … from the other side of the world 😉

He never disappointed either, and Mitchell on more than one occasion, took the ball and grabbed a vital wicket at a key time for the side.

And not that I’m hoping Ravindra Jadeja, James Anderson and Ryan McLaren bowl poorly for the remainder of the tournament … but I’m desperately hoping a New Zealander stays at the top of this table too:  Champions Trophy 2013 Most Wickets

Those were a couple of my highlights over the last few weeks – what were yours?

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#jobs4Jess … what I’ve learned!

Okay, so it’s definitely no fun being unemployed!

Apart from the obvious not having an income so you can buy nice things for yourself and friends and family, it can often make you feel totally unwanted and useless, and that is not a healthy state for anyone to be in.

I’m having to go through the whole job application process again after finishing a six-month contract recently, and thought I’d jot down a few things I’ve learned … about myself, as well as the process … and hope it encourages you to keep at the job search and not to get discouraged; you’re actually not the only person out there feeling discouraged about not being able to find and successfully apply for a job 🙂

First observation:  Dress to impress!  

Okay, so it seems like a bit of a cliché, but it actually makes a heap of sense and enhances your chances in front of a prospective employer no end!

I recently attended a work opportunities seminar.  There were about 12 of us, sitting in a room waiting for the presenters to speak with us.  I couldn’t help noticing, as I scanned the room discretely, that there were a lot of denim jeans and tracksuit pants in evidence, and there was only two of us who had dressed ourselves as if we really wanted to start in a job that afternoon!  (I have nothing against jeans and trackies, by the way 😉 … I just reckon if you really want to impress a prospective employer, you’ll make sure you look like you’re ready for work!)

And I know we’re not supposed to discriminate on how someone looks when considering them for a job, but guess what, I think prospective employers do!  And if you don’t actually care about what you look like, they are going to think you’re not going to care about your work and making an effort to do a good job for them, who are in fact going to be paying your wages 😉

You’re probably thinking, a work opportunities seminar isn’t actually a job interview … but actually, in a way, it kind of is!

The people who are presenting job and training opportunities to you at the seminar could be prospective employers too and so will be checking out your attitude and appearance and deciding if you are someone they would want working for them in the future.

And isn’t it a good thing to be practising for the real thing anyway?!  🙂  If you can show you’re serious about wanting to find work, and putting your best foot forward, as the saying goes, that surely is going to make prospective employers look seriously at your application and put you to the top of the list of applicants they have to trawl through 🙂

Second observation:  Be positive!

Believe me, I know how easy it is to get discouraged and not want to bother with the whole application process anymore, especially after weeks of looking for appropriate job vacancies and weeks of interviews, where you feel like nothing you say is making a difference 😉

But it’s important, I reckon, to keep yourself positive and that way, you can project a positive and likeable demeanour to any prospective employers you are introduced to.

And it’s not just to be positive when you finally get to the interview stage, either; right through the process, if you keep your mind focussed on your strengths, and the skills you have to offer, instead of allowing yourself to feel down about not being suitable … yet again … the right job opportunities will come your way.  I mean, think about it – if you were a manager, would you like the guy or girl in the work environment who dragged their feet into the workplace every day, moaning about how they were never good enough … or would you like the bright, breezy, happy person who really, really wanted to make a difference and help his or her workmates and bosses and be the best they could be?!

I think I’ve jotted down enough thoughts for one blog – haha!  I might have to continue this another day …

And believe me, this is more about myself and keeping myself focussed on finding the next new, awesome job opportunity, and so anything I write, is advice to myself first and foremost 😉

If any of you agree or disagree, or find anything useful, or have any other ‘pearls of wisdom’ to impart in the job searching process, please leave a comment or word of advice or encouragement, so this can be shared also.  I mean, we’re all here to help each other anyway, right?  🙂

Good luck and keep at it, to anyone else who might be stuck in the same situation I find myself currently … I’m sure with a little effort and work, you’ll be successful soon! 🙂

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Series winners – oh yeah!!!

England v New Zealand - Natwest series - 2013

England v New Zealand – Natwest series – 2013

They may have lost the final … dead-rubber … match in Nottingham today, but the New Zealand Black Caps wrapped up another away series victory over a top One-Day side regardless!

Think about that for a second …

Little old New Zealand, the land of 4.5 million people, putting together a One-Day cricket side that can beat the likes of South Africa and England, top test-playing nations in the world!  And not just beat them … beat them in their own backyards too!

Yep, there’s a lot to celebrate and be happy about so far this 2013 year for our national cricket side!

Such as … being unbeaten in three One-Day matches at the Home of Cricket (Lords) … Martin Guptill scoring the second One-Day century by a New Zealander in England …

103* at the Home of Cricket

103* at the Home of Cricket

He then went on to become the third New Zealander to score a century in England, when he smoked 189 runs at the Ageas Oval in Southampton – the highest individual One-Day score by a New Zealander full stop.

This was part of a combined team innings of 359 runs which ensured the 86 run victory to wrap up the Series for New Zealand.  This total also included three century-scoring partnerships, between Guptill and Kane Williamson (120), between Guptill and Ross Taylor 109, and an unbroken 118 partnership with Brendon McCullum!  Who says our batsmen can’t bat well together, create partnerships and win games, huh?  😉

Martin Guptill was eventually dismissed (after about 3 ‘not out’ scores in succession) in the third One-Day match, giving him a Series average of 330!  Not bad, really!  🙂

There’s also plenty to be smiling about in the bowling department for the New Zealand Black Caps as well!  While it was disappointing to lose our test bowling star, Trent Boult, before the Series with a side strain injury (get well quick, Boulty!), the likes of Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Kane Williamson 😉 and Mitchell McClenaghan stepped up and between them, caused more than enough difficulties for the English batsmen.  Finishing the Series with an average of 17.25 for McClenaghan is definitely in the “win” category!

Another McClenagan wicket at a vital time!

Another McClenagan wicket at a vital time!

As well as the Series winners’ medals and the Series trophy, Martin Guptill also takes home the “Man of the Series” honour, which is a fitting tribute to a fantastic individual contribution!

So now it’s onwards and upwards to Cardiff in Wales, where the New Zealand Black Caps’ first opponents in the Champions Trophy tournament is Sri Lanka.

Can our confident and skilled cricketers cause a few more problems for world-class batsmen and bowlers and go far in this tournament?  You better believe it!  Keep the faith, New Zealand cricket fans (and critics alike!) – this team is going places and it’s going to be fantastic to watch … if you can handle the early-morning viewing hours!  😉

The victorious Black Caps!

The victorious Black Caps!

For more statistics from the Natwest Series, click here:

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