January 20, 2002

The lineout's OK, the backline's fine, but we just want to play cricket

Anna Wilkins

The concept of turning up at a cricket ground, on a dry summer day, no covers in sight, and getting a game of cricket underway on time without consultation with the umpires has become quite foreign.

Just a dry summer day is a bit of an oxymoron at the moment.

Masterton's Queen Elizabeth Park is a nice looking ground, but at the moment it is best described as a bit of a swamp. Even if the rain stopped, the ground would not have been fit for play in either of our scheduled matches against the State Central Hinds.

The covers system is far from extensive and with no protection to the bowlers run-ups, or the area immediately surrounding the pitch, Central have decided to transfer games from the venue to Waikanae's Domain.

We were given the option of a change of venue, to an artificial wicket, which the umpires investigated, but this proved no better. The only option, really, in this kind of weather is a fully enclosed stadium.

It has made us appreciate the facilities we are fortunate enough to have at our home ground, WestpacTrust Park. Without the hectares of covers, pumps, super-soakers and many ground staff who work 14-hour days, we would not have played even the two matches we have.

We've now had four out of six matches washed out, three without a ball being bowled. This has been a common theme throughout the State League and will make for an interesting points table. While we get two competition points for every time we sit and watch the rain fall, we'd far rather trade them for a decent days cricket, even if we come away with no points at all.

We've now arrived in Wellington to take on the State Wellington Blaze at Kelburn Park. We hope we have left the worst of the rain behind so we may unpack some cricket gear for the first time on this trip. The rugby ball has had a lot of use, and while our lineout is effective, and our back line running smoothly, we'd like a return to the code we are here to play.

Lesley Murdoch produced an absolute pearler of a faux pa on our arrival at our hotel whilst introducing herself to our Manager Gaylene. It was hilariously funny for those of us within earshot. I've been instructed by Lesley not to repeat what she said but if you happen to run into her, it would be well worth asking.