Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Wellington v Otago, Plunket Shield, Basin Reserve, fourth day

November sun and cricket for free

... at the Basin would tempt the best of us even if our team's batting collapses like a sand castle

Trish Plunket

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Wellington's Cameron Merchant walks back after his dismissal, Wellington v Northern Districts, Plunket Shield, 3rd day, Basin Reserve, November 18, 2010
Batting lessons for Cameron Merchant, please © Getty Images
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Choice of game
Well, when you've nothing better to do, you go to the cricket right? It was on, it was free, it was 22 men in white. I assumed Wellington would lose, given their recent form.

Team supported
I'd like to pretend that five years studying in Otago made me a neutral supporter, but I was backing Wellington on the inside. And a lot on the outside too.

Key performer
Nick Beard, the Otago No. 11 who came in as nightwatchman and scored 62. He came in and stopped the rot, giving the Otago second innings a real kick.

One thing I'd have changed
I'd give the Wellington top order the ability to bat. No, seriously. Matthew Bell scored six runs. Cameron Merchant scored a total of 33. Josh Brodie did slightly better, both his innings together made it over fifty.

Wow moment
Wow, we managed not to screw it up! As Joe Austin-Smellie smacked the last ball straight out the gate and into the road, it was a serious relief to all that it wasn't fetched and another over bowled.

A special mention
Just a little love for Jayde Herrick, who flew in just for this match and bowled his guts out - until we broke him. Oops. Sorry Jayde. Your tattoos are really cool anyway.

Player watch
Well... um... We saw Luke Wright posing for photos, and - woo yay! - Iain O'Brien was back at the Basin, wearing jandals and being harassed for autographs.

Shot of the day
A six big enough to thud into the windows of the RA Vance stand, scaring all the execs having a conference in the Long Room. Pity, the shot was by an Otago tailender.

Crowd meter
There was a crowd. There was definitely a crowd. They may have been scattered here and there among the bank and on the seats, drawn more by sun than cricket, but hey, there was a crowd! The players were still the loudest group, except for the period where the Wellington College students turned up to hassle Harry Boam.

Fancy-dress index
Given the Basin Reserve is actually a public thoroughfare during the games, we were treated to some impressive tattoos, Lycra clad cyclists, ridiculously dressed hipsters and the Blanket Man. I don't think any of those guys actually watched the cricket.

Entertainment
We're a low-rent outfit here in New Zealand. So low rent that the games are free! The downside is there is no entertainment, besides the cricket, which only counts sometimes. Still, we make our own fun, and a couple of sideline cricket games started up. I think some of the kids batted better than Bell.

Accessories
I brought a book, but found the most crucial accessory was one I had forgotten - sunscreen. And so had everyone else. We slowly turned red as the day progressed. But really, who would have thought - sun? In Wellington? In November? Madness.

Overall
Oh Wellington. You get yourself into such a good position, and then you blow it, leaving us only grateful to have salvaged a draw and gotten first-innings points. But the sun shone, the whites were bright, it was a distraction from the disaster that had befallen the West Coast. I couldn't have asked for more. Except maybe an innings without a dire collapse. But I'm a Black Caps fan. I'm used to those.

Marks out of 10
8. Sun. In November!

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Trish Plunket is a descendant of the guy who named the Plunket shield. This affords her no special privileges whatsoever. She lives, plays and works (when closely supervised) in Wellington, New Zealand. When not supporting cricket teams who specialise in top-order collapses she studies psychology and writing, referees rugby union, and tries to convince people to employ her.

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Comments: 1 
Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (November 26, 2010, 11:41 GMT)

I'm attracted to beautiful girls who love (at least like) sport. Trish, you fit the bill on both counts. Let me know when you are in London next.

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