Welcome to you, where ever you are.
I’m currently in one of the lounges at Sydney Airport waiting to board our fight to Perth. Yesterday we played a match against the Prime Ministers XI, and well, to put it mildly, we didn’t do too well in the field.
But before I cover that match off I’ll take you back to the last round of the domestic One Day competition, we were in Invercargill, the bottom (pretty much as far south as you can go) of the South Island. We were certainly made to feel welcome, that was until we stepped out onto the pitch, that is. It was a typical home crowd that you come to expect in the South Island; they love their own players and love to hate the others, it was going to be a fun afternoon.
We bowled first and during the middle stages we were looking down the barrel of a chasing a score of around 280, that was going to be a lot, even with it being a small ground and a good deck. A couple of very good innings from three of Otago’s more experienced boys certainly set them up for an onslaught towards the end of the innings. We picked up a couple of crucial wickets at game changing times and managed to peg them back to 244.
I didn’t feel like I started this game to well with the ball. It wasn’t quit the start I had been having in the previous couple of matches. The thing that was very pleasing was the way I came back at the end of the innings and bowled during the batting power play and death, my areas and variations, alongside the field I had set worked really and contributed to the pegging back process.
This match finished in great style. Last ball of the innings, scores tied, Franklin, who had been in since the 16th over and was on 86 off 97 in a perfectly paced innings, cleanly hits one through the leg side field to the boundary. We win, and I’m out there with him, as we’re nine down. I came in with four balls left in the innings, five runs needed, Franklin on strike. Franky and I had a quick chat, I wanted to know what he thought the plan should be, were we going to take the single if it was there or was Franky going to take the strike and look for two’s and boundaries? Franky backed me to get him back on strike so we decided that we’ll take every run we could get. Single off the 3rd ball of the over, that brought me on strike, three balls left, 4 needed and I needed to get off strike, thus getting a single, anyway possible. I know you really shouldn’t pre meditate, but in this situation I thought it was maybe best. It was either going to be a yorker or a bouncer. A yorker it was, fast and into my pads. I wasn’t quite quick enough to catch up with it and maybe hit the winning runs fine of fine leg, but I did get enough pad on it to squirt it out to square leg for a single; that was once I picked myself up off the ground when the ball hit it knocked me off my feet and I didn’t have a clue as to where it had gone. Franky charging down towards me shouting yes said it had gone somewhere safe for a single.
Two balls, 3 runs and Franky nudges a two to get himself back on strike and tie the scores. He walks down to me at this stage and we agree that we’re just running, no matter what. Winning run off the last ball and that finishes the innings and our campaign with a not so good four wins from 10 matches.
It was a quiet night in Invercargill, early flight out in the morning and back to Wellington for the day. I had a couple of things planed to do in the afternoon; catch up with a mate and get along to a clothing shop were sponsoring me some T-shirts. Quite a while ago, before I started playing cricket for Wellington, I worked in a photocopy shop. I started out as a production worker, then moved out to reception and worked in customer services. During this time I met some pretty talented people that needed photocopying done. Students for their assignments, architects with their building plans, writers producing books and artists getting originals copied so they could sell the prints or send them off for possible job offers. There was one guy who was amazing, Marty F Emond. His stuff was cool, as he was and I spent quite a bit of time doing his copying. Since I knew him back then he and a mate started up a clothing company using his works as designs. I loved his work then and have a couple of signed bits stored away to get framed at some stage soon. Marty has since passed on but his work lives on through the “Illicit” clothing line. I wanted some of Marty’s T’s. So I got in touch with Illict.co.nz, pleaded my case, and happy days. Thanks Steve.
We’re now 10,000 meters above the nothingness that spans the central inland part of Australia; it’s a vast sea of scrub and desert with small towns dotted along some of the rivers. And that brings me to the last couple of days based Canberra, the capital, our first destination in this 22 day Chappell-Hadlee tour. We arrived to Sydney and bussed straight to Canberra, half way there we had a food stop and I slipped up. I had a bag of chippies/crisps. The thing is, we’re on a ‘eat better’ programme at the moment and I didn’t really think about it. I was hungry and felt like some chips. I could have done better for myself, and should have, and now will do. Everything we eat now we have to think about, I normally eat pretty well so it shouldn’t be much of a problem, but for some others there is a fair amount of good natured peer pressure on them to do better for themselves and the rest of the team.
Trained on Wednesday at the Manuka Oval, a hot day and it was forecast for match day to be even hotter. In the evening we had a reception at the Parliament Buildings with the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. Both teams were there and were introduced to the PM by their respective captains. A photo, a couple of speeches, a mingle and we’re back to the hotel where I ordered a salad for tea.
Yesterday’s game started off how you’d like most One Dayers to start off; a good score on the board and batters getting in some really good time in the middle; none better than Baz’s ton. It was pretty warm out there and, 37 was forecasted, and you could see it was going to take its toll on us in the field. Fully hydrated and feed was as much as we could do before heading out to defend the total. And to cut a long story short, we didn’t bowl as well as we should have and were the first NZ team to have ever lost to the PM XI; not a first I’ve ever wanted to be a part of.
I felt like I bowled ok in the majority but let myself down with some bad balls and decisions when to bowl my variations. I’ll now head to training tomorrow with a couple of chats to Dan and Millsy under my belt and a greater knowledge on One Day cricket.