My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Why do we have a media beat-up before every single cricket tour in this country?!

Because the media hates success, that’s why and they can’t stand the fact that the Black Caps are playing well, and climbing to the top of the rankings, and so they try and create drama and rifts and discord that is non existent!  Time and time again, before every cricket series starts in this country for the last few home summers, the media has tried to “blow up” a huge non-story (in this case, why wasn’t Ross Taylor called into the squad for a one-off T20 match when another player was ruled out with injury) and it’s all because they want the public’s attention not focussed on the players, who are playing extremely well at the moment and succeeding, and they’d rather create a barrier between the fans and the team and management.  Why?  Because the media can’t stand the fact that the Black Caps are at the top of the rankings in nearly every form of cricket, and Mike Hesson has a LOT to do with that!  They’d rather drag the man down, rather than congratulate him and get behind him to support him.  And that truly is sad, NZ media people!

I don’t know why everyone’s upset that Ross Taylor wasn’t called into the Black Caps squad for a one-off “hit and giggle” T20 against South Africa this Friday when Martin Guptill was unfortunately ruled out due to a hamstring injury!   For a start, he’s not as young as he once was and a T20 is the ideal opportunity for the selectors to bring someone new in to the line up to give them some international experience.  Hence the fact that Glenn Phillips has been called into the squad to cover for the opening batsman spot.

I mean, it should have been Tom Blundell, in my opinion, but that’s another story …

Also Ross Taylor isn’t actually an opening batsman so why on earth would he be brought in as cover for an opening batsman’s spot!

If I was Ross Taylor, why would I be upset at missing a one-off T20 match when I have five One Day matches and three TEST matches to be fit for!  That’s where the real glory lies!

Don’t fall into the media’s plan of making you hate NZ Cricket and in particular, Mike Hesson, people!  They hate anyone succeeding, remember, and will do their utmost to drag them down at any opportunity, including by creating rifts that aren’t actually there!  Don’t fall for it!

NZ Cricket in conjunction with Mike Hesson, Mike Sandle, Craig McMillan, Shane Jurgenson, and others in the support team, have brought the NZ Black Caps to the top of the rankings in almost every cricket format!  They have to be doing something right; and the media doesn’t like that because they can’t criticise them when they’re doing so well!

Don’t fall into their trap of believing that there’s rifts and discord – just get out there and support the team, while it’s doing so well!

 

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This is what we should be reporting on and celebrating today …

Kane Williamson

104 not out!  144 minutes, 90 deliveries, 15 boundary fours.

NZ v Bangladesh, Basin Reserve, Wellington, 16 January 2017

16-jan-nz-v-bang-day-5-williamson-wagon-wheel

Kane Williamson’s run scoring wagon wheel, courtesy of http://www.cricinfo.com

I felt incredibly blessed and fortunate to be able to be seated at the Basin Reserve in Wellington this week, as the New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson, not only guided his side’s run chase on towards victory over the Bangladesh cricket team, but he also managed to score his fifteenth test century in the process!

When Kane walked to the crease at the fall of the first wicket in the run chase, the side was in danger of losing their way in reaching a relatively small target of 217.  Kane needed to get himself settled at the crease, on a pitch that had already seen a number of runs scored and wickets taken over the last four days, then establish a partnership with Ross Taylor after the second wicket fell at the other end of the pitch, and look to score runs reasonably quickly as there were only a finite number of overs left in the day’s play.

The fact that he did all this is just another indicator of his incredible cricketing mind and amazing skill and technique in being able to take whatever the Bangladeshi bowlers threw at him, and judging by the above wagon wheel and noting how many runs Kane scored onto the legside of the ground, you can be sure there were also a number of short-pitched deliveries thrown in there for him to deal with also.

I actually found myself thinking when Kane was on about 60 runs that if he played well enough, he could actually score himself a century on that afternoon.  It seemed every run and moment from that point was captured by the ever-growing crowd on the embankment and terraces as everyone, it seemed, was willing him onwards to the target.  Not only the target of a test match win, but the target of a fifteenth test century.  You had to feel for Henry Nicholls who was Kane’s team mate at the other end of the pitch who, upon Ross Taylor’s dismissal for a very well played 60 runs, had to try and balance between scoring runs for the team and ensuring his captain received enough of the strike in order for him to reach his goal.  In fact, I could just imagine Kane walking down the pitch between overs and saying to Henry, just have a go, mate, and let’s go and have a beer (to paraphrase something Jimmy Neesham once said!)

Another reason to love Kane Williamson.  Ever the team player, he was more intent on reaching the final target for the team, than worrying about whether or not he’d be left stranded on 99 not out!

My view of that historic moment

But he did it, and the very next ball achieved his ultimate goal of winning the match for the team, as the Black Caps reached 217/3.  There were no histrionics, or lavish displays of joy and excitement as Kane reached both milestones either; just a quiet smile and confidence in himself and his team to come through five days of testing and intriguing cricket victorious!

And so I say thank you.  Thank you to the New Zealand Black Caps for five days of victorious test cricket, overcoming when most around the world at written them off, but mostly thank you to Kane Williamson, for allowing me to watch you go about the business of scoring test centuries, and winning matches for your team.

Courtesy of the Black Caps support team, the moment captured when Kane Williamson scored his 15th test century!

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A site for sore eyes!

I only hope they know what they’re doing, erecting such a huge amount of scaffolding less than two months out from cricket season, but boy, its great to see our RA Vance Stand getting some much need TLC! 

Onwards and upwards for our might Basin Reserve! 

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Dear Wellington Cricket fans …

I am not calling this an “open letter” because it’s not really a letter; it’s a blog post, that anyone can read if they so wish, but I had to come up with some kind of title …

Anyway, I digress …

This weekend, I attended a One Day International cricket match between our New Zealand Black Caps and the Champion Australian team, and while impressed by the general overall behaviour of the 22,000 strong crowd at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, I did have a couple of moments of disappointment.

First of all, we seem to have this horrendous habit in this country of booing.  I mean, I can understand a sigh of disappointment, perhaps, when things don’t go your teams way, but loud choruses of “boo!” ringing around the Stadium for, for example, when an opposition bowler loses his run-up and has to pull out and start again.  I mean, really?  How does that warrant anyone booing at him for wanting to get his action totally correct so he, for one thing, doesn’t do himself a horrible injury if he gets it wrong?  And I noted there were times when a New Zealand Black Caps’ bowler had to pull out of their run-up for not getting it exactly right – how come we didn’t boo them?  It was for exactly the same reason as the opposition bowler.  Why can’t we just respect the sportsmen in front of us, regardless of their team that they play for, and respect them for the amount of skill and expertise they are showing to us?

And have you ever stopped to think just how hideous people actually look when they are mid-boo?  I mean, it’s quite hilarious actually.  If they actually knew how bad they looked, they’d stop in an instant, I reckon!

The other moment of disappointment that I had was when the Australian team were fielding in the first innings and David Warner had the misfortune of having to field at the third-man or fine-leg boundary line.  I guess he’s not the most popular of the visiting Australian team, but he’s a pretty spectacular player in his own right, whether he’s batting or fielding.  He deserves a bit of respect for just what he can do, not the obscene chants that get yelled at him from the other side of the boundary fence.  Do these people even realise what they are saying when they chant these horrendous things?  And apart from the obvious disrespect of it all, do these chanters not actually realise that all they are doing is firing up the likes of David Warner even more, and making him field 100% better, and bat 100% better, just to rub it in the faces of those who taunted him?  (This was obvious when he came out with his batting partner in the second innings and bludgeoned 98 runs in quick time!)

And then the same section of crowd, the very next time David Warner was fielding near them, was chanting for him to “give us a wave.”  I mean, seriously?  After what they were just chanting at him moments ago, they expect him to turn around and give them a cheery wave?

I know it’s all supposed to be “just in fun,” and “it’s only banter,” and “it’s all part of the environment,” but you can still have fun, and banter, and create a sporting environment by being a bit more respectful, not only of the opposition, but of our own team and the other people watching.  If there’s anything anyone should have been able to notice from our New Zealand Black Caps over the last few years, is that you can actually enjoy yourself and yet still be competitive, but you don’t need to disrespect the opposition to do it.

It’s time to raise ourselves ABOVE the lowest common denominator, people, and have a bit of respect for each other (and ourselves!)

Hopefully, at the test match starting at the Basin Reserve at the end of this week, we will be able to actually just enjoy the Australians being in our country for once, and appreciate them for the skills and abilities they have on show.  They may be the “enemy,” but they’re still all jolly good at what they do, and I for one am pretty darn impressed by what I see on the cricket field every time I see a match!  That deserves respect, not derision!

Rant over …

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Why I love the Basin Reserve …

As I drove past the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground in Wellington (several times, in fact) at the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel sad that there are people in this country who have no appreciation for just what we have in our city.

I mean, aside from the obvious fact that the Basin Reserve is a top-class world-renowned Test cricket venue, where I personally have been privileged to witness many classic and historical cricket moments through the years …

The Basin Reserve in itself is also a rather stunning open Park, which the general population of the city have the privilege to enjoy for no cost to them.

27 Sep - Basin 2Many times I have wanted to go for a walk at the weekend, and decided to start my ventures from the Basin Reserve. As I walk through the stylish new wrought iron gates of the CS Dempster or JR Reid gates, I have often been greeted by many other people taking the chance to wander around the ground themselves. Just the other weekend, a family group were enjoying a fun game of backyard cricket on the lush outfield of the arena – it was so great to see!  But you are also greeted by the sight if people relaxing around on the splendid grass embankments.  I often think to myself how blessed we are in this city that we have such a beautiful and peaceful location to just sit and enjoy life for a time!

Latterly, I have also been really enjoying keeping an eye on various renovations and changes that have been taking place at the Basin Reserve.  Apart from the obvious pitch and ground preparations which always take place before the start of every new season, it has been fascinating to watch as the old Groundsman’s Cottage has been transformed into a well-appointed and necessary Groundsman’s Garage and Cottage in which the many pieces of equipment necessary for a curator of a cricket ground to complete his tasks, can be readily housed. Not to forget that the new “deck” area on top of the Garage in front of the Cottage gives a superb vantage point to oversea the entire ground … and keep an eye on the cricket action!  Tickets to the Groundsman’s Stand anyone?!

Work on the redevelopment of the Groundsman's facilities is looking good!

Work on the redevelopment of the Groundsman’s facilities is looking good!

The view from the vantage point of the Groundsman's Stand!

The view from the vantage point of the Groundsman’s Stand!

27 Sep - Basin 5

I haven’t even mentioned the NZ Cricket Museum, competently curated by Jamie Bell, which currently has a brilliant exhibition that you can stand out in the open air and sunshine to read about, in the “On a Foreign Field” display.  If you haven’t read all about the lives and achievements of eleven New Zealand cricketers “who went from heroes on the cricket field to heroes on the battlefield,” you really should pay the Basin Reserve a visit the next sunny Saturday we have!

The Basin Reserve - part of New Zealand Cricket history forever!

The Basin Reserve – part of New Zealand Cricket history forever!

I made up my mind that I was going to save up so that I could purchase a Cricket Wellington membership ticket this year … and I am so glad I did, because there is nothing better than having access to such a brilliant and beautiful landmark in the Basin Reserve!

27 Sep - Basin banner

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It’s not okay …

Why is it so okay in this day and age to run down and disrespect other people and places?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been enjoying some fabulous cricket from the New Zealand and Sri Lankan cricket teams as they battle in a two-test match series, in Christchurch and in Wellington.

Which means that I have had the absolute pleasure of being able to watch one test match live and in the flesh at my home ground, the world-renowned Basin Reserve, and I was privileged to be able to watch practically every moment of the test from the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on my TV set.

Which brings me to my observation for today …

How is it, that the Sky Sport commentary team were able to every day, it seemed, find every single opportunity to praise and speak glowingly about the Hagley Oval, and about Christchurch, and about the people of Christchurch, and then all the wonderful things that you can do in the Christchurch area …

And then, it’s like a switch was flicked as the test series moved to Wellington and suddenly they find every excuse and reason to degrade and disrespect the city and the people who live there!!

I would really love one or all of the commentary team to be able to comment below and explain this strange phenomenon to me, please!

I do realise that most of the commentary team for Sky Sports and the cricket now seem to be mostly based in Auckland, our largest city in New Zealand, so is it really just jealously that they don’t have such world-class venues and set-ups in their own city?  Or that they can’t entice their own people of Auckland along to all five days of a cricket test match?!  Surely it can’t be as simple as that, can it?

But at the end of the day, it’s still not good enough!

What gives anyone the right to run-down or disrespect or degrade anyone or anything in this life?

And then if you tell people that what they are saying is hurtful, we are just told to “suck it up” or “get over it; it was just a joke.”  Why is it so acceptable to “joke” at someone else’s expense and then expect them to not only say nothing in return, but to not be hurt by our words?  We often get told this by people living outside of Wellington … and yet, when their turn comes to host a major event, be it sporting or otherwise, we are often the first in line to congratulate them and to back them up in their preparations and enjoyment of the event; why does it not go both ways?

I am not expecting anything to change much today, sadly, as rain showers have been forecast in Wellington for the first time in about three weeks and look likely to disrupt the day’s play at the test match … but apparently it never rains anywhere else in the country, so once again, this will be a slight on this fine city of people who always go out of their way for other people, and who are always generous with their time and money to help others (one example of this was the “Fill the Basin” event we had a few years back to raise money when Christchurch was so devastatingly hit by earthquakes!)

Is there a clause somewhere in the Laws of New Zealand that says everyone must put down Wellington and all who reside in her, at every possible moment?!!

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Tribute to the Basin Reserve

My first attempt at painting …

image

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NZ v India – second test, day five …

My highlights from day five will have to be extracted from the current jumble of emotions and excitement going around in my mind!  😉  

Such a spectacular day today – I don’t know where to begin!  

I will complete this blog series tomorrow, once I’ve come down from cloud nine a bit to where I can think 🙂 

 

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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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