Bay City Ovalers

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BLACKCAPS v England, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui 28 February 2018

‘It’s great these lights are *finally* up,’ said Neil Craig, NZC board member and a driving force behind developing Bay Oval, while being interviewed on the big screen mid way through England’s innings.

The ‘finally’ indicates the ambition for this ground. Competition is getting fierce among the new breed of boutique grounds that includes University Oval, Hagley Park and  Saxton Oval (not to mention Queenstown, Whangarei, New Plymouth and arguably the Basin, now it’s been opened up to white ball cricket). But the Bay’s oval has moved fastest to get those all-important lights, and was rewarded with the popular holiday period T20s, along with Napier’s only scheduled international game thrown in.

It’s not hard to see more ODIs against the big guns coming here after 8000 or so punters packed in on a Wednesday night, and day / night Tests were mentioned more than once in conversations on the grass banks. It’s an easy ground for punters to get around and find a spot that suits on the banks, and the food on offer is top class, including sportreview.net.nz-endorsed Tag Burger. The Mount looks bloody fantastic on SKY’s  drone shots too.

I’m certain the building won’t stop there either, this ground has built up a serious head of steam. A new stand next?

As for the cricket, it was pretty enjoyable. For England. They fielded like the Kray Twins chasing down a debt, and their batsmen did to us what Ross Taylor and Tom Latham did to them in Hamilton, finding gaps and play it risk-free. It was classy stuff, and this series looks like a tough  assignment for both teams, and an intriguing one for the fans.

Not even Pakistan hipster cable knit could save us #cricket

A post shared by Richard Irvine (@richirvine) on

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Previously

 

Links on Friday

Mesmerising Russian Ice Hockey player Nikita Kucherov gets right inside this goalie’s head and makes himself at home with a fumble-shot, faking to lose the puck but actually sending it smugly goalward. He’s done it before, to the same poor keeper.

 

Long read: a profile of ex-Philidelphia 76ers’ General Manager Sam Hinkie, the Stanford geek who took Moneyball to the extreme by selling his all team’s decent players, with the aim of finishing last and rebuilding from scratch with high draft picks. The fans were split into ‘WTF is going on’ and ‘Trust the process’ camps, and Hinkie, who was fond of appalling corporate-speak like ‘you don’t get to the moon by climbing a tree’, was out after three years. In a shocking plot twist, the team is actually coming right, lead by Joel Embiid, who nicknamed himself ‘The Process’. Read more. And even more.

Nike’s London campaign video is genius:

This (presumably Canadian) God is coming to save the world.

Links on Friday

The beautiful game used to bring out the best in designers, keen to push the boundaries on the biggest stage of all. These Days, football shirts are basically designed to look good with a pair of jeans – The Art of the Football Shirt is a hipper-than-thou exhibition of when shirts were less marketing-department-orientated – some great photos here.

If you missed Carlton Cole’s epic Twitter thread on West Ham United’s ‘banter era’, it’s time well spent and basically War and Peace written by Del Boy Trotter.

Skater Christian Flores tries to land a laser flip down a triple set of stairs. For two years. Surprisingly affecting stuff!

Radio New Zealand’s Eyewitness show looks at the 1992 bomb blast outside the NZ Men’s Cricket Team’s hotel – it packs a lot into 13 minutes and confirms fall out from this incident is still ongoing in 2017.

Being there – Māori All Blacks v Lions, Rotorua stadium

This is an intriguing point of the tour – the Lions sent to a tough venue to  play a tough team a week out from the first Test. Which will be tough. You get the idea.

The misty, niggly rain that turned up a few hours from kick off, which had the Lions’ big pack licking their lips like they were being offered vinegar on their fish and chips and hurt the Māori ABs’ backline chances for razzle or dazzle.

Frankly, the home team were flat when the occasion called for a bit more. The bright spots of a stirring haka and home town hero Liam Messam’s try came early but there was little else to cheer about, despite some big hits going in late.

The Lions had all the control and their big strong runners and big long kickers won the territory battle comfortably.  Their first job is making sure they’re tough to beat and it’ll be the same next week. Can’t wait.

Off-field it was fantastic grass roots stuff, Rotorua’s big banks were often more entertaining than the game, with several punters forced to regret their choice of non-grip footwear. I bet we had more fun than all those Lions fans in the end-on segregated seating.

Links on Friday

Mascots are generally soul-less husks, but the New York Mets’ Mr Met brings a raw honesty to his work. He’s been fired, of course.

I’d just bought a flat but the moving-in day was the Tuesday of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. I get picked on Sunday. I’m speaking to the chairman of selectors and I say, ‘That’s great, but I’ve kind of bought a flat and I need to move in on Tuesday, do you mind if I turn up on the Wednesday?’ I’d made up my mind that I was going to do everything on my own terms. He was probably thinking, ‘Who’s this guy?’

Long, raw and fascinating interview with Mark Butcher on his bizzaro life as an international cricketer. The ‘few beers in a pub garden’ interviewing style here really works.

SIGNAL from Revel Co. on Vimeo.

Nothing worse than social media criticism – but consider England, responsible for cricket’s existence, being mocked by the game’s governing body with a GIF featuring  a reality TV (presumably) unknown. Cheap effort for clicks from a digital team who’re otherwise kicking arse at making footage and exclusives available online fast.

Warriors release limited edition ‘Fan Fire’ jersery

NEWSDESK: In an effort to reconnect with frustrated supporters, the NZ Warriors team have reached out to jersey-burning fans with a limited edition Fan Fire jersey.

“The Warriors Faithful Sent Us A Clear Message On Social Media,” said Warriors marketing exec Des Frazzler. “They Want The Boys To Show Some Fire.”

The eighteenth jersey to be released in coach Stephen Kearny’s first season comes in red and blue flame editions and will be available at Waikato Stadium this Friday night for $190 for adults and $185 for kids.

When asked if the Fan Flame jerseys are flammable, Frazzler confirmed “They’ll burn all right. They’ll burn.”

Links on Friday

Most Fridays I post links to videos, long reads and weird stuff. Peruse the Links on Friday archive.

Ian Anderson puts in an application for the Northern Knights T20 coaching gig, promising some serious Moneyball-style resource maximisation. sportreview.net.nz understands Ian will take flash-tactic-suggestions mid-match via Twitter, and is therefore 100% behind his campaign.

Grab a nice red and settle in for 5 minutes 34 seconds of Juan Roman Riquelme passing a football:

“Because an entire industry is geared toward suppressing objectivity and encouraging fans to feel they are members of something they can never leave, no matter how grindingly unhappy they might become with the product.”

Sobering stuff for Arsenal and football fans (boom!) – is your innate sense of ownership and loyalty to your team cynically exploited smoke and mirrors?

Watch a man die inside

Dean Barker has been through a fair bit – you’d have to have a heart harder than an Easter Island statue to wish him anything but the best in the next Auld Mug.

However, producing Engaging Content is a harsh business and so the multiple America’s Cup runner up and man on the other end of the greatest fecking comeback ever was forced to read out ‘There is no second’ for the sake of 57 retweets in a ghastly promo clip:

sportreview.net.nz is probably being over-protective of a fine sailor who’s handled himself with more dignity than the legions of armchair experts who’ve lined up to stick the oar in over the years – but that’s a hollow, hollow look.

He’s Dan Carter on the All Black bench against France in 2007. He’s Steve Smith getting a bad decision.  He’s Ronaldo when a team mate slightly over hits a cross. He’s Andy Murray when room service doesn’t put the HP sauce on the fucking side of the fucking plate.

Let’s hope the America’s Cup digi team gets to ‘capture’ more actual sailing content very soon rather than this kind of carry on. If an event with such a great history was a little more aware of its own history, it would be all more palatable and enjoyable for it.