Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Wellington v Northern Districts, Plunket Shield, Wellington, 3rd day

Look, there's a fast bowler in my garden

Cricket at Wellington's Karori Park isn't for the pampered lot

Trish Plunket

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Tim Southee roars after New Zealand pick up the final wicket, Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart, 4th day, December 12 2011
Tim Southee: destroyer-in-chief © Getty Images
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Choice of game
Well, if the world is going to end in a couple of days, I best get my share of cricket watching done! I headed to day three of the Wellington versus Tim Southee Northern Districts at the very picturesque Karori Park.

Team supported
Oh Wellington, though you are so often so terrible, I will still support you. Though the presence of Kane Williamson for Northern Districts did make me question that a bit.

Key performer
When Luke Ronchi came in, it was looking truly dire for Wellington. We might have struggled to the hundred-run mark in our first innings, were it not for Luke and his rather impressive boundary-hitting. And then he got a hundred, and he got it in style. Boundaries flowed. And then, not three hours later, he was out there again getting fifty.

One thing I'd have changed
Oh Jesse, you came in and smacked a four and it was glorious and we were all so hopeful. So I would have definitely changed Ryder's demise on 9, either by giving Joey Yovich butter fingers, or stopping Ryder playing such a ridiculous shot in the first place.

Face-off I relished
It's hard, when one team is so dominant, for the other team to have any reaction other than whimpering and acting like the girl from Fifty Shades of Grey. So it was only Southee telling Ryder just where to go that gave a little bit of life.

Player watch
On the boundary, at various times, were Brent Arnel, Southee and James Marshall. All got harassed for autographs. In the viewing area we spied Andy Mackay, who is broken, and Dane Hutchinson, who had left his keys behind.

Shot of the day
Ronchi - who else? - belting Southee back over his head, over the sightscreens, which were two stevedoring crates with one side painted white, and into someone's garden. Beautiful.

Crowd meter
It was a glorious day in Wellington cricket's third home - Karori Park, which has no stands, but plenty of grass to stretch out on. There were a few extra games of cricket being played by kids on the boundary, lots of joggers and dog walkers, and a hundred or so fans enjoying the sun.

Entertainment
New Zealand cricket is usually a low-rent affair, and Karori Park takes it to an extreme. There's no PA. There's no entertainment. There's not even real sight screens. But watching big international fast bowlers having to hunt in someone's garden for the ball… yeah, that's entertaining.

Fancy-dress index
One small girl, when I complimented her on her "princess dress", told me in no uncertain terms that she was a fairy, not a princess. Otherwise it was singlet and stubbies for most people.

Accessories
I neglected to take a book, which was a poor choice as the game didn't even start till midday because the ground needed to dry out. I finished making and addressing Christmas cards, surfed the internet on my phone, and tried not to get too sunburned.

The ides of summer
This was a long, loooong day. And not just because of the way Wellington were playing. Keen to play enough overs to help make up for yesterday's washout, the game stretched on till 7:30pm, by which time I was starving. I shudder to think how the bowlers were feeling. While later in the season we will struggle to have enough light at 5pm, there was no trouble with that tonight - it was a golden evening and brilliant cricketing weather.

Marks out of 10
7. Terrible cricket by Wellington, great cricket by Northern, idyllic atmosphere for cricket-watching. If the end of the world comes this Friday, at least I can say that I spent my last days somewhere this gorgeous.

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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: 4 
Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Lovely piece Trish, brings back memories (from London) of playing on the ground far too long ago, late 70s/early 80s. Sounds like they have improved it a bit since then. I think Auckland are missing a trick by moving their 4 day games back to Eden Park, cricket in the burbs is a grand idea.

Posted by stickywicketnick on (December 19, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

Loved the part about cricketers looking for the ball in the garden. Great to get some sunshine detail, especially being on the other side of the World in winter. Ronchi could make the team as a batsman let alone as a keeper.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

Well BJ Watling will be feeling mighty nervous behind the stumps right now...

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

and come January will Ronchi be in the national side?

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