My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Disappointment doesn’t cover it!

So, it’s the weekend after Christmas … it’s summer time, which means CRICKET in New Zealand for me … what better way to spend it than road-trip to the Hawkes Bay to enjoy a One-Day international match between the New Zealand Black Caps and the West Indies cricket teams?!

The posters are up ... and everyone's ready for cricket!

The posters are up … and everyone’s ready for cricket!

Sadly, however, it seems if you want to break a drought in the Hawkes Bay, you schedule a cricket match 😦

After arriving in Napier the afternoon before, I awoke on game-day to the sound of rain on the motel roof!  Not heavy rain, mind you, but the persistent, saturating kind … the kind that even the groundstaff of McLean Park, where the game was scheduled to be played, feel disgruntled and helpless against … or so it seemed when I turned on the television coverage half an hour before the scheduled start of play to see an on-field interview by Mark Richardson of Sky TV and the head groundsman at the ground, discussing the current wet situation and just how long it would take to dry out the ground once the rain ceased falling.

It didn’t actually seem like the groundsman really wanted the rain to stop, in my opinion.  He was most defeatist and gloomy about the whole outlook.

And eventually the rain DID stop … much to the delight of the thousand or so fans who had now made the trip to the Park, myself included 🙂

The sun shines on McLean Park!

The sun shines on McLean Park!

The sun eventually broke through the clouds at approximately 4.15, and we waited with much anticipation for the groundstaff to rush to work, pulling the covers from the pitch and surrounding areas, as well as commencing the job of mopping up the puddles of water over the ground.

And we waited some more …

And still we waited, getting rapidly sunburned in the warmth of the sun, noticing the steadily increasing blue sky above our heads … until finally, at 4.53pm, seven minutes before the umpires were scheduled to “inspect the ground” to see if it was suitable for play on, at 5.00, the groundstaff appeared, casually rolling the covers off the bowlers’ run-up areas, and finally the pitch area itself, and then, at 4.58, they were just starting to use the “super sopper” equipment to dry the outfield.

Well it was no wonder then when, at 5.00, the umpires trekked across the Park, to see the suitably for a game of cricket, they decided that the players couldn’t possibly play any kind of cricket on it and called the game off … to the immense dismay of the patient supporters, just dying to see their favourite cricket team play any sort of cricket match in front of them!

I mean, it’s not really surprising that the umpires didn’t find the ground suitable for play … considering absolutely nothing had been done to it since the last time they looked at it 😦

I am not actually disappointed in the fact that I didn’t get the chance to see a game of cricket … well, okay, I am disappointed about that 😉 … I’m more disappointed in the fact that the people concerned didn’t seem at all interested in trying to get any sort of game played at all for the people of Napier that evening!

I found myself wondering if the excellent groundstaff, for example, who look after not only the Basin Reserve, but also the pitch conditions at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, would have shown the same serious lack of urgency or desire to do their best for the players, as well as the cricketing public!  No!  I was imagining that the head groundsman at the Basin Reserve rallying his team quickly and smartly, as soon as the rain had dissipated, giving the pitch and surrounding areas as much time as possible to dry out and be ready to go in the time that was available.  Because, let’s face it, we could have started a 20/20 match at 7.00 that evening, and still had it finished in time, with the excellent light and sunlight that was now bathing the Napier area!

I left the Park feeling immensely disappointed and quite despondent, to be honest … which is not how you should feel when you spend so much time and resources to support your favourite cricket team, at all!  It’s probably just as well I can’t afford to make such a trip again for a long time, as I don’t think I will bother heading to the Hawkes Bay again for a cricket fixture 😦

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Test victories are SO sweet!!!

Victory!

Victory!

So stoked that I was able to finish work early this afternoon and get to the Basin Reserve to watch the New Zealand Black Caps complete a stunning, and much deserved, victory over the West Indies!!!

The boys have put up with a lot of stick from the media and public over the last few months … and not always fair and deserved, I have to say … and they have been steadily working on their game and improving with each match … until finally, today, all that hard work, effort and heart paid off and they were rewarded in the best way possible with a test victory!

Some people might say that the West Indians weren’t really playing very well, which is true, but our team also has to be able to stick to their own game plans, and use their own skills to be able to take the wickets and score the runs and claim the victory!

And that’s exactly what they did over the last three days in Wellington … lead by Ross Taylor, who is just going from strength to strength it seems with his batting (long may that continue!) and a bowling unit which some people think needs to be split up, but Messrs Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Corey Anderson, Ish Sodhi, Kane Williamson, and particularly Trent “Lightning” Boult have once again proved their doubters wrong and bowled outstandingly to finish off a test victory!

The job’s only half done though, guys 😉  It’s on to Hamilton now where hopefully we can have another complete performance and a wrapping up of this test series 2-0!  🙂

Enjoy the champagne tonight, Boulty - you deserve it for that 10-wicket bag!!!

Enjoy the champagne tonight, Boulty – you deserve it for that 10-wicket bag!!!

Oh, and happy birthday Tim Southee and Corey Anderson … double celebrations tonight!  😉

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Finally got my pic!

Finally got my pic!

It took a while … and a lot of courage … but I finally got to chat to Neil Wagner tonight, and get a photo taken with him 🙂
Thanks so much Neil, and Hamish Rutherford for taking the time to say hello and give us a better insight into life on and off the cricket pitch!

Oh and once again, so sorry for the exciting landing at Wellington Airport yesterday 😉 Heh heh!

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I heart the Basin Reserve!

As you probably know, I have had a few temporary contracts over the past year, with a time of unemployment and job-seeking between each one; I was asked, by a few different people actually, if I would consider moving to another city in order to find that perfect job … or just any job!

I actually did consider this on more than one occasion, but every time, the answer would come back as a resounding no!

And I’ve figured out the reason …

It will be really dumb for those who don’t understand … but for me, I don’t think I could live too far away from this place:

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Like I said, if you don’t understand or enjoy cricket as much I do, I don’t really expect you to understand why I would feel this way; but there is no place better to spend Christmas and Summer holidays, lying on the green grass of the Embankment, or sitting back on the eastern Terraces, as you watch either First-Class or International cricket match being played out in front of you!

It’s also a fantastic place to sit and chat with friends, with the back-drop of a cricket match – sharing a coffee, or some other beverage that suits your lifestyle 😉

And speaking of Christmas, is there any better sight in world cricket than the Pohutukawa trees in full bloom, while a Test match is being played on the hallowed turf of the Basin Reserve?!

Nope, call me sentimental, or foolish, or whatever – I love my days spent at the Basin Reserve and couldn’t imagine ever living too far away!

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Best Test match venue in the world!

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