Sunday, February 20, 2011

Four-Day Match

We've been a bit boring recently, due to ill weather and illness, so haven't been out much...but on Sunday, we were all set for a day out.

Wellington Firebirds, our local cricket team, have been involved in a monumental tussle with Auckland Aces in a four-day match at the Basin Reserve. After three days, the Aces were on 238/7, and the fourth day looked like it would be a cracker.

We headed down to the Basin Reserve in time to catch the last hour of the morning session. Auckland reached 277 in 13 overs in the morning before declaring, setting Wellington a target of 276 with 77 overs to score them in. When we arrived they’d already dropped a wicket and were drifting along at 17/1.

As we approached the ground, there didn’t seem to be much activity. As you walk along Cambridge Terrace you can see the scoreboard from outside the ground, but we couldn’t see anyone on the bank, which is usually crowded with people. When we got to the gate, there was no-one there to sell us a ticket. It appears that entrance to four-day games is completely free. Despite this, very few had actually turned up. We’d been expecting the same deal as when we’d gone to the Twenty20 series at the end of last year, and in January when I’d headed down to watch the penultimate day of the second test.

Of course, one of the downsides to this is that none of the concessions were open, and when the teams marched off to lunch, there was no Hell On Wheels for us to do likewise. So we left the ground and retraced our steps along Kent Terrace, to have lunch at the Capitol Restaurant. As we were on our way there, we spotted Strawberry Fare, a place which had been recommended to us by various people…so we resolved to visit it on our way back to the ground. Strawberry Fare is noted for its puddings – whilst they do have main courses on offer, most folk give those a miss and head straight for the desserts. We did likewise, and very good they were too! After an enjoyable lunch we headed back to the ground, to find Wellington had dropped another wicket, and weren’t really keeping up with the RRR.

Silly fielding positions

Gloom and despondency set in, despite the warm sunshine and almost cloudless sky. However, the new batsman was Neal Parlane, a stalwart of the Wellington batting, and he soon played himself in. He made a fifty stand with the opener Brodie, then lost his next partner fairly quickly. But then he was joined by Joe Smellie and, with the help of a couple of big overs along the way, they managed to stay on top of the run rate, and they batted out the innings; making a century whilst Smellie made a fifty, with a couple of overs to spare.

View from the grassy bank

We pondered on the economics of this. All the players were being paid to be there, as were the ground staff. There were, perhaps, a total of fifty spectators. We kept thinking that new people were turning up, until we realised that they were using the cricket ground as a shortcut between two streets. We’d turned up fully expecting to pay admittance – the usual exorbitant fee of $15! How does this work? Who benefits? Answers, as usual, in the comments, please!

1 comment:

  1. Seems that on the previous day one of the Auckland Aces walloped a six through a window of the New Zealand Museum of Cricket, which is just behind the bank of benches where we usually sit. They couldn't get the ball back as it was after 3pm and the curator had locked up and gone home with the key!