A beautiful day in Nelson, Trafalgar Park looking great, it was just a pity that there really was only one team in it; and it wasn't us.
Wellington Firebirds, my domestic team, took on the Central Districts Stags in a one-day game. Both teams are the 'form' teams of the domestic season. So it shaped up as a very competitive match. To lose by 82 runs wasn't quite the result that was expected by either team.
I got back to Wellington from the Napier Test on Wednesday, straight to the gym and then the rest of the afternoon off. It had been a tough five previous days especially as we had bowled every day. I thought I'd get my gym work in early so I could enjoy Christmas Eve afternoon and the whole of Christmas day off. Boxing Day I was out for a run early before heading down to Nelson for a 'net' in the afternoon. Last time I did this flight I had some more issues with motion sickness and I wasn't looking forward to this flight at all. I had my little pill that is supposed to make me fine with the movements and it wasn't needed. One of the nicest flights I've ever been on. Sun was shining and the scenery is just amazing. I really do appreciate living in a beautiful country with some great views from plane windows.
Good practice, although still feel tired, maybe I didn't need that run in the morning, but I've got to keep doing everything I can to try to get into the one-day team. Good meal out with the Wellington boys and it's good to catch up with them; it had been a while.
Good sleep in a tiny bed, up and off to the ground for my first one-day match for quite some time. We had looked at the pitch the previous day and it looked pretty good, maybe thinking about bowling first on it, but not bothered if we had to bat on it. Arrived to the ground, deck hadn't changed to much so still looking to bowl first. We did win the toss and did bowl.
Graham Napier, of Essex, started us off well. In his first over, Naps struck twice and was maybe a little unlucky not to have a third which would have brought him a hat-trick. Great start and that was the end of that for quite a while. The deck played really well and the 'Stags' batted even better.
A reasonable crowd had turned out including some boys that had given some of us a whole lot of grief the last time we were here. This time, though, they were good fun and I really enjoyed a laugh with them at times. The boys, and girls, on the couch enjoyed their day, a little more than most of us Wellingtonians. Good fun, the way a crowd should be.
A 100-run partnership from Sinclair and Peter Ingram really made our life tough. Both batted really well and from there we were always playing a little bit of catch up cricket. At one stage there was a chance that we could be chasing 300, and on this deck we weren't too concerned that we were chasing 286. That was until we started batting. We lost two early and that really hurts when your chasing down a large target. We need a couple of partnerships similar to what we had already seen when we were in the field.
I had bowled pretty well, did let go of a few balls I wasn't happy with, but the majority were where I was asking them to go. I picked up one wicket, with a yorker, a ball that I am working hard on. Came off the park reasonable happy although I know there is still a little bit of work to go.
I found in the morning before the match that I hadn't made the one-day team for the first two ODIs against the Windies. I know I'm close though and a couple of good performances in this and the next couple of matches for the Firebirds will push me close and make the selectors jobs tough; which is all I can do!
A couple of good innings from the boys in this match but nothing to take us close. I went in with us needing over 115 to win. The better target was to get 60 and deny Central Districts a bonus point. That meant me, at 11, and Boam, at 10, were going to have to bat our socks off and do something special; we didn't do too badly. A final wicket partnership of 32 was as good as we could really ask for. I made a new top score for one-day cricket, 17 off 15, not huge, but it's a step forward.
The Twenty20 the other night was pretty special viewing. Gayle was amazing, again. Probably the least said about him the better; he might be reading. The one over 'bash' was interesting; added some more intensity to an already amazing tie. And again, Gayle ... Wow.
I liked the 'one-over match', except there need to be less of a gap between the action. It's a good format, and brings more people into the mix to separate a closely fought tie.
And that'll do for now, next game for Wellington is the December 30. I'll catch you back after that one.
Enjoy the festive season!