Filling the basin

Sportzfreak and the Beige One have blogged on Fill The Basin, Sunday afternoon’s benefit match for viictims of the Canterbury earthquake. Here’s my thoughts:

How much fun was it? Cricket is the perfect sport for This Kind Of Thing, not too much physical exertion for the oldies, and lots of space in between the action for farking about. Plus Adam Parore got hit with a bouncer while being a cock. That was a highlight.

Some of these guys could still be playing for the Black Caps. The Greatbach / Astle partnership in particular was as smooth and brutal as a gang fight in a butter factory. That said, the years haven’t been kind to Gavin Larsen’s bowling. Nor Sir Richard’s, who doesn’t play a lot these days, unlike Ewan Chatfield, who still turns out for his club “if they haven’t got enough players.” Bless. Tana Umaga, though, that guy could play for the Black Caps *now*. As could bloody Marc Ellis.

You there! This is what your hair looks like!
Subtle Rexona product placement.

Our PM smiled and waved a bat at Shane Warne’s friendly bowling, but good god; as a nation, we need to improve our banter. Ben Hurley struggled manfully to lift the standard, but John Key – is “Liz says Hi” the best you can do? It’s hardly “I can smell the uranium on your breath” is it? It doesn’t even makeĀ sense. Warne showed us how it was done with an offhand and off color crack about the TradeMe prize winner’s wife – the crowd went quiet as they tried to work it out. Warne’s a great sport, we couldn’t have asked for a better heavily botox-ed pantomime villain for this event. He needs to bowl his underarms a bit straighter though.

The whole day, complete with the perfect venue and rugby and Hobbit luminaries, was a raging success, not to mention a tribute to Stephen Fleming’s mana, determination and political and organisational skill. Surely there’s a role for him somewhere in the national setup in the near future?

One grumble – the TAB made their beachhead in the nation’s living rooms even bigger with their guy Mark Stafford doing much of the TV interviewing. He may be able to ask softball questions OK, but do you want or accept Goldstein or the Marlboro Man doing the same? I don’t, and I don’t see the difference.

Basin day two report

Saturday at the Basin may turn out to be the most blogged about day ever, with Hadyn, and Ben doing write ups, and Robyn filing a n00b report. Here’s how my day went.


Day one went fantastic for the Black Caps, who dismantled India’s star studded batting order like a 21st marquee due back at midday. The sun shone, and we had one more wicket to get at the close before getting stuck into the (big) total.

Day two. I walked into the Basin for the first time ever just after 12. After saying g’day to Graeme and son, and holding my breath through the field of bad vibes and disturbing weirdness that surrounds Sonny Shaw (don’t explore that site at work, team), Hadyn and I, and soon Dan were parked up on the bank. For those of us to used to ramming our knees behind a plastic Eden Park seat, stretching out on the grass was a real treat. The Basin Reserve is a fantastic park, theĀ  elevated view from the requisite down-the-ground angle gives a great perspective.

Then we started watching Cricket, possibly the down point of the day. To me, the crisp (I’m being nice) breeze made it tough to bat, but just as tough to bowl in, especially into into the breeze. Ross Taylor was quietly playing to the conditions, waiting for bad ones and putting them away with sweetly timed on and off drives. No-one else wanted to do that, and our top order used the walk from the sheds to the pitch to the sheds again like a revolving door.

Ryder was more interested in staging a one man outlandish helmet exhibition than batting, much to the disgust of bloggers staying up late in the UK, and was soon back in the sheds, followed by pretty much everyone else. It was depressing, slow going – this Indian team may be full of rock stars, but they fuck around between balls and overs like Keith Richards trying to change a string. The over rate was disgraceful, and made the day tough going at times.

The tail enders weren’t about to let the crowd turn blue without getting their money’s worth, though. Every blogger’s favorite Ian O’Brien got his highest test score in front of his home crowd, while Chris Martin, yes, ‘Learn to Bat‘ Chris Martin hit Harbhajan back over his head for four. Good on him.

The final potential high point of the day was watching Sehwag knock it around, but turned to custard as Martin claimed him after only a couple of token swipes. From then it was shut up shop time until, I admit, we sneaked off early with beer and a heater top on the list.

It was one of those days that add to the purists’ sense of worthiness, but despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The great company of all the above, plus Fraser and Robyn, a couple of beers and great conversation made a challenging day’s play for Black Caps fans go by too fast. I was hugely impressed by the Basin, especially the ‘let everyone run around at the lunch break and smack balls at each other’ policy, and can’t wait to come back.

I have to note that I arrived in the capital Friday to a stunning day and extremely kind welcome from the Wellington digerati. I’m not sure if it’s the strong coffee or daily caviler laughing in the face of earthquake-induced certain doom, but the capital has easily the warmest web / community spirit around – the locals were incredibly welcoming of Auckland based half-arsed sports bloggers blowing in for the weekend. I even got free beer in classy surroundings. Ta.

I can’t stress enough the *awesomeness* of meeting up with the *actual people* we’re reading / writing to / twittering with over the intertubes. Let’s not forget it’s about connecting with people – there doesn’t always need to be a modem involved, eh.