Cricket!

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
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5
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Trip End Feb 27, 2006


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, February 26, 2005

I spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the New Zealand v Australia ODI Cricket match and it turned out to be a great experience! Despite my love of the game of cricket, I had never been to a match before and so I was delighted to wake up to glorious sunshine in the morning.

I met Steve and Paul at 12.30pm and we proceeded to look at various maps in a vein effort to establish where Eden Park was! We asked various people as well and they couldn't help. When we were on top of Mount Eden the other day, it looked so close to Auckland's city centre...but that wasn't the case!

Therefore, we walked around for a bit until we found a taxi and jumped in! We were on our way. We talked to the taxi driver about the Kiwi cricket team and he was less than confident about the game! Time would prove him to be 100% accurate!

Once at the ground, we walked around for a while and picked up a few "4" signs for when either team hit a boundary. As it turned out, these signs made good makeshift hats for Steve and Paul to protect them from the sun! I went for the more conventional approach...I brought my own hat!

The weather was relentless once we got to our seats. There was no breeze and the sun was fierce...plenty of "slip, slap, slop" was needed - an expression down under that basically means put a lot of sun cream on!

The game got under way and immediately the banter started in the crowd! We were surrounded by Kiwis and the beer was flowing, so as time went on they all became more and more boisterous! It was good humoured stuff though, and unlike in England, you never got a sense that a brawl was about to break out! Far from it actually. I was lucky enough to sit next to possibly the loudest guy in the crowd...but he entertained us for sure. Every time someone even hinted at standing up in front of us, he would literally scream "Sit down" or "I paid good money for these tickets" or "I can't see a thing." You could tell he was joking though! But soon enough, more and more people were joining in almost to the point that everyone on the 6 rows in front of us were too scared to stand up! Most people took it in good humour though, apart from one girl who made the fatal mistake of rolling her eyes at the guy next to me. So for the rest of the game, she suffered even more at the hands of the legions of intoxicated Kiwis around me!

Talking to the Kiwis, it became clear that my accent may became a useful tool over here! The woman in front of me kept asking me to repeat things because she liked the way I said it! Now if only she had been 20 years younger! Seriously though, a lot of the people over here have spent a lot of time in England and so they are very welcoming towards you. One woman had actually been in Leeds over Christmas and I was surprised to hear that she knew where Doncaster was! On a side note, I was actually talking to 2 women in my hostel room on friday who were from Adwick and Sprotbrough...it's a small world!

Anyway, back to the subject! My highlight was definitely towards the end of the game, when it became clear that the Aussies were going to win. A guy from Wellington kept standing up and looking back...basically making fun of the Aucklanders because they had all gone quiet. He was a real character! Sure enough, he tried it once too often and was suddenly pelted with about 20 or 30 items, most of which where empty plastic beer bottles! One of them hit him smack bang on the side of the face...yet he didn't flinch and continued the abuse! Classic! I learnt that there is a big rivalry within New Zealand between Aucklanders and the rest of the country. Auckland is home to about a third of the population and apparently the further south you go, the more the rivalry exists. We shall see...

As for the cricket (which at times took a back seat to the beer and banter), the Australians made a great start when they scored 17 runs off the first over, thanks mainly to a number of wides and no balls by Darryl Tuffey. They soon slipped to about 120-5 though, but as is so often the case with the Australians, they dug in and Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey added an unbroken stand of 140 to make a competitive total. In reply, the Kiwis made a real hash of the chase and thanks to some comical running between the wickets, they were eventually bowled out for a mere 160.

Like I've said though, the game was almost irrelevant! Throughout the match, numerous Mexican Waves went around the ground, and it seemed compulsory to throw lots of empty bottles in the air when the wave passed you! Also, big beach balls were thrown around the crowd and large cheers echoed out when the ball went on the pitch! Simon Katich was the unfortunate Australian fielder to be near our section of the crowd for the most part, and he suffered a bit of an ear bashing! I had no sympathy though...the Aussies are never short of a word or two when they play England!

Once the match was over, we made our way out of the stadium with 30,000 other people and made our way back to Auckland. The Sky Tower proved to be our very own guiding star and after about 45 minutes, we arrived back. It had been a good day...watching cricket, a few beers, and some banter with the locals! Shame about the result though!
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Comments

Devarchit on

Hi,

I’m writing on behalf of the Managing Editor of CricketCountry, which is a joint venture portal of the Zee Group and an American media giant. Our cricket vertical has lots of cricketers writing for us, besides established writers. However, we are also giving space for bloggers and others who would like to share their views and/or blog on cricket.

Would you be interested in posting your writings on our website? If you do wish to share, kindly let me know. We are not paying fan bloggers for non-exclusive articles, but what we would undoubtedly give them is instant recognition on a big platform alongside big names - something that is not possible as a stand-alone blogger or merely commenting on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, we intend leverage the written stuff across social media platforms. And that means getting your writings across to much bigger audience and thus getting new readers to your blog – if you are a blogger.

If we find that any blogger is writing insightfully and is drawing a huge following, we could then commission him/her to write exclusive articles for which they would be paid.

Do let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,

Devarchit Varma

devarchit.varma@corp.india.com

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