Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
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
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
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
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!