All the mistakes are mine, the opinions are mine and are not associated with any organisation I am currently involved with!
All the mistakes are mine, the opinions are mine and are not associated with any organisation I am currently involved with!
Adelaide is renowned for being a vibrant multi-ethnic forward thinking city with a whole range of initiatives, events, ideas and cultures yet retaining an appreciation and value of the past.
One area which is not so well known is its street art. So armed with a self-guided tour map (in essence a map showing where the art is but leaving it to you to find them) off I trotted today.
Not knowing what I was looking for, where precisely I could find it and, most importantly, trying to work which direction was which (the sun peaks in the north here so my northern hemisphere brain was completely fuddled) I came across the following.
Apologies for the sheer number but the variety was just too great to summarise properly.
The homework is done, calculations made, strategies and plans fixed. All that’s needed now is the mental application to see it through – and that’s probably the most difficult part!
NSW bat on for 30 minutes before declaring at 3/247 – a lead of 385. Hackney 98no overnight reaches his ton before a slack shot sends him back. It’s quite clear that they wanted him to get his century and just add a few to the target.
So…386 needed off 87 overs at 4.4 per over or 10 wickets for NSWs first win of the season. All results possible – let’s see!
The loss of both openers early on have put SA on the defensive to a degree. The NSW bowling attack looks sharper than the SA who, until last week, were in contention for the final next week. So things look awry – or as we used to say ‘words and figures differ’!
Spin is introduced just before lunch and Sangha seems to have more bite and loop than Green did in the first innings. Life is not comfortable for Drew and McSweeney who seem grateful that lunch has arrived at 2/55 off 20 overs.
The rate is edging towards 5po and I suspect that mentally SA are longing for a draw. NSW need just 8 more to win. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon!
And it was – the match swaying one way then the other. I suppose NSW have the upper hand – 4/189 means another 200 or so needed off just under 40 overs. If Lehmann can stay the course, SA are in with a shout; if not…?
But before we get to the conclusion I must say I am bowled over by the KR Oval; it’s a fine ground, staff are welcoming and friendly, the pitch excellent (all told), catering good and a joy to attend. The only drawback is BYOS (seat) but it does need more spectators. A great shame, a good match – and all for free!
How tense was that? After Wellington just a few weeks ago, I don’t think my nerves can take any more! Scott went for 40 fairly early on. Lehmann followed reasonably soon afterwards to an lbw decision which looked odd from side on but then I’m not the umpire!
Manenti didn’t hang around so it was left to Nielsen and MacAndrew to steer SA to safety as it became clear fairly early on that the run chase was beyond them.
NSW took three wickets in the session but found the SA defence too much and finally succumbed to the fact that a draw was all they could achieve at 5.58pm and with two balls left to play.
NSW bowlers did themselves no favours in the occasional display of bad temper. Just underlined to SA that they’re on top!
Leaving NSW with a winless season for the first time in their history. Where did things go awry here? SA let Edwards run free for the 8th wicket on day one; NSW were offered a generous declaration to set the game up but used up time today in adding to the overnight total. If they’d had an extra 30 minutes…?
Anyway, all ifs and ands; what is sure is that this was as tense as any match I’ve seen and will see. So draws aren’t necessarily boring…this was intense; the shame being that only a few spectators witnessed the end…and the match overall.
So, dear reader, this is my last cricket blog of this trip – I’ll be back watching cricket at the start of April but there’s some tourist stuff to follow soon! 😜
As regular readers will know, I write this blog as the game progresses so what starts off as one thing ends as another and today is no exception!
From the number of you following this particular set of ramblings and ravings I get the impression that you’re about as excited about this match as watching paint dry or grass growing; and to a degree you’re correct.
However, this is not the crash bang wallop of thrash and bash nor the excitement generated by Test matches but this is the pure hard graft of the engine room of the game.
It’s in the first class game where potential test players develop, where skills are honed and the patience needed for the long game practiced. The wider stage – as in all walks of life – grows in matches like these.
Add to the pot the fact that in Australia as elsewhere the first class game has been marginalised, played at the wrong time of the season, downgraded in status and not publicised and you are where we are.
The view of the locals attending is that this is a ‘nothing’ match and each side putting out a ‘second XI’. I can’t comment but from what I’ve seen, the standard looks good.
But for me – I’m like a pig in ****! The setting is idyllic, the weather fine (cool southerly wind today taking the edge off the temperature), the cricket absorbing. What can I ask for?
Lunch on day 3 sees SA at 4/213 – Drew went in the first over with the new ball just before lunch for 85 and was really undone – and hit – by the ball before. The new ball bouncing that little bit more. At one stage SA seemed to have stopped and came to a halt against what looked like reasonable but not difficult bowling. Are they playing for the draw already?
The new ball brings both wickets and runs so that, with 30 minutes until tea, SA took the initiative. Lehmann went to his hundred and immediately declared at 7/309; conceding a lead of 138 on first innings. There was a distinct urgency after lunch but the declaration took most of the crowd by surprise and sets up the rest of today and tomorrow.
What target do NSW set? What would SA want to chase? How long for each? Will NSW be bowled out in time or can NSW bowl SA out? There are 140 or so overs left in the match, so any forecast is as good as any other! And NSW don’t want the honour of being the first side in their history to have a winless season!
Personally I think chasing 325/350 in the time left – say all day tomorrow – could be a challenge but it means NSW getting 200 in the 40-odd overs left today. All to play for!
As the day draws to a close it’s clear that NSW are timing this perfectly. A slow start after tea but they up the pace in the second hour after MacDonald and Hackney each score 50s and the lead closes in on 300.
They’re scoring at 4 an over without any problems and SA don’t look like taking a wicket any time soon; so, I suppose that NSW are worried about taking 10 wickets on a flat pitch with little discernible help for the spinners tomorrow.
Personally I’d have Jack Edwards padded up and ready to really up the pace. From what I’ve seen so far, he’s a talent to watch and international honours are not out of the question.
But time and overs are the main elements in each side’s equations for tonight’s homework! The lead is 341 at the close…is that enough?
A decent target, a couple of quick wickets and dressing room panic soon sets in. I think NSWs bowlers are a notch or two above the SA attack – all of which means I can’t wait for tomorrow!
It’s clear – well at this stage at least – that given more sunshine (forecast) and no rain (not in the forecast), the pitch at the KR Oval is getting flatter and flatter. An hour into the second day and NSW have progressed to 7/361 losing an early wicket to a sharp chance at short square.
Bowlers are straining but to little effect as the boundary count increases – the square is slightly elevated with a drop on all sides, so anything off the square will speed to the boundary with this fast and drying outfield.
From 5/179 SA have let things slip and can’t allow NSW to get too many more. But let’s see.
The next hour brings more misery for SA who, by the end of the session just want it to stop! Jack Edwards goes to his century (and on) lunching on 132no and Ben Dwarhuis 52no. The stand is over 100, the bowlers trying hard but this is turning into a very flat track – and now a very light shade of green as NSW lunch on 7/431.
The agony for SA ends 30 minutes after lunch when NSW declare at 9/447. Edwards fell for 138 to the deep trap SA had been luring him into for some time and Dwarhuis ends on 60no.
McAndrew for SA takes six of the nine wickets to fall and seemed the more dangerous of the quicks being slightly slower in pace than Agar and Johnson who, other than first thing yesterday, did very little other than get the old ball to do a bit.
This session is key – SA need a good start!
And to a degree they get it – tea at 1/55 against a pace attack seems a good effort. No real alarms as the pitch just gets flatter. Unless there’s a collapse I see this as 450-plays-450 and the third innings starting on day 4 but I’ve been wrong before and…
First drinks 2/96. Hadley launched into the attack! Drew…oops but still there. At second drinks 3/123 Drew 50no. Bowling is higher standard than SA. Pitch more yellow – flatter, but is spin yet to play a part?
3/134 at the close with Daniel Drew 51no. The first target has to be 248 to save the follow on but with the pitch looking more benign by the hour, this looks like a nailed on draw…but what do I know?
And so to the cricket…
This match is a bottom/mid of the table clash between SA and NSW in the Sheffield Shield played at the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide. The Shield is the equivalent of the English County Championship and this is the final round of matches before the top two final next week.
Neither side will be in the final so there’s little to play for – other than pride and, in NSWs case, their first win of the season.
A pleasant warmish day (by UK standards) but the bats look ill at ease, bowlers on the money and NSW reach 0/46 in just under the 90 minute mark before MacDonald succumbs to a sucker punch hook for 21. Tbh he never looked comfortable and with a green pitch, cloudy but not overcast skies batting would never be easy until probably later today so his demise was not unexpected.
Hackney at the other end looks a bit more settled and is now joined by Sangha to take things forwards. He came and went and stand-in skipper Henriques steadied the ship to 2/73 at lunch. I suppose both teams would be happy with that. Cloud cover has increased progressively during the morning – not that there’s any threat of rain but it’s helping keeping both bowlers and bats honest. What will the arvo bring?
What I discovered later was that MacDonald was making his first class debut – even more pressure then!
Half way through the afternoon session and it’s still a good fight. SA start off with a few maidens before Henriques in particular but also Hackney respond with well crafted boundaries. However, Henriques falls for 34 to a catch in the deep and at 3/113, no one is on top.
Hackney goes to his 50 and the pace of both the innings and over rate steps up. The cloud cover is burnt off and the ground is bathed in pleasant sunshine for the afternoon. I was unsure whether playing a Shield game away from the main stadium would work but it does and I’m pleasantly surprised.
The crowd – small in number – is, I reckon, about 150/200 strong but given it’s a) a weekday, b) the end of season and c) nothing to play for, I suppose it’s a good turn out. I think we’d get bigger crowds in England for something similar but the whole thing is sheer bliss.
The best comparison I have is Fenners or The Parks in terms of the ground and feel but better weather and more intensity!
Tea is called at 3:10pm on the dot – no ‘32 overs remain before tea can be called’ and see NSW at 4/156. The crowd – such as it is – seeks shade as we now have blue sky ‘from edge to edge’. Hackney moved into the 60s but Davies fell for a brief 24 whilst Gilkes wants to get a move on.
An hour into the final session and Hackney has gone for 78. Gilkes and Edwards especially are batting as if they need to catch the last bus and push the rate along, helped by bowlers who look tired and poor part timers to speed up the arrival of the new ball. NSW 5/225 with an hour and a bit to go. SA need the new ball to work for them!
With the sun beating down for long periods, by this time of day you can begin to make out the pitch from the surrounding grass. Perhaps SA should have been a bit more aggressive earlier? Who knows? Hindsight is wonderful
Gilkes and Edwards were only parted just before the end as they plundered a partnership of 115, and NSW end the day on 6/299.
We’ll have a better idea of how good a score this is once both sides have batted but I think NSW just have the edge. But for me, it doesn’t matter; just the chance to see a Shield match means it’s pure bliss! And I get to do it all again tomorrow!
Before the Sheffield Shield game starts tomorrow (and the blog) took the opportunity for a few tourist shots of Adelaide. Enjoy!
No one nowadays wants to look at your holiday snaps (used to be 36 on a roll so you wouldn’t have to endure too many!) as nowadays cameras are digital and the numbers taken are ‘large’.
But I must share these with you – the end of the tour tour trio visited Lake Hayes just outside Arrowtown today and were blown away by the sheer beauty of the place.
Before we get to the photos, I received feedback on a small sample of my cricket shots from a professional photographer of many years standing and status. He was passing (photographing the rare Australasian crested grebe) and we asked him to take a group photo. He obliged and we got talking – cricket, wildlife, royalty (he’d photographed many he said) – and I showed him a few of my favourites from this trip.
He was amazed of the quality given the camera I use and as he said farewell he said ‘you’re good, you know what you’re doing’ – I’m stoked!
But back to the photos – just enjoy
Into the full tourist ‘stuff’ now as I embark on an end of tour tour fly drive across the South Island. You’ve seen the odd photo of Lake Tekapo already but there’s no photos of the star gazing since:
a) it was late at night, b) it was dark and c) the nearest object to photograph is 4.3 light years away so my camera can’t focus that far.
To give you an idea, the light from Alpha Centauri (nearest star) left there in late 2018 and has just arrived! So when you look at stars you’re looking at what they used to be, not necessarily what they are now! Fascinating stuff!
The final few days are here in Queenstown one of the maddest places on the planet (they invented bungy jumping here, so you can gauge how crazy they are), so this is mainly photos of the most wonderful scenery, and the luge at the top of the mountain!
Who knows what’s in store for tomorrow?
Have a star gazing night planned – this area has been declared as having one of the darkest skies in the world – so today was pure tourism before this evening.
Imagine these views as the views from your office/workplace/whatever! Lake Tekapo in all its glory!
One of the advantages of writing this blog contemporaneously is that I can either be immediately proved correct or a complete fool – and I achieved the latter today!
After a nauseous night of disturbed sleep, nibbling ginger nuts at the cricket seems to have mollified my insides which now seem to belong to me!
Another early start to catch up for the weekend’s rain and a slightly cooler day than yesterday beckons.
England start needing 210 runs, NZ 9 wickets. The English bats soon oblige with Robinson lasting a very short time, Duckett didn’t seem settled and Pope dancing down the pitch to every ball which seemed odd and did little to persuade the faithful that he was not ill at ease and playing/missing more than he should.
Brook – the current chosen one to be the next ‘everything’ – came and went without facing a ball as fellow Yorkie Root ran him out calling for a swift single but you do need to run your bat in! Haven’t looked at his current Test average but it’s probably slightly less than stratospheric! NZ found a way to get him out cheaply!
All this means England are 80/5 in no time but by lunch recover to 168/5 with Root dominating the scoring; Stokes’ knee clearly hindering him in mind and body. With the Ashes looming Stokes’ knee should become the next national obsessive news story requiring daily medical bulletins! But I suspect not!
Finding a spot at this ground which is not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not too steep and not disturbed by wandering walkers would give Goldilocks a challenge; it must be here somewhere but after four days and a session I can’t find it! But people-watching the wandering walkers makes me feel thin!
At lunch, it looks as if NZ’s fate is sealed – less than 100 needed, one quick retired injured, one all heart but little else and a spinner who would struggle in county cricket – I suspect a tea time finish.
How wrong can I be?
The injured quick was back after lunch, the spinner…well ‘nuf said and the whole hearted bowler – Wagner – came good and how! Last week he couldn’t buy a wicket and now he’s the bees knees!
From 168/5 England collapse to 201/8 – Stokes’ knee obviously causing issues, Root needed one poor shot, and then Broad just tried to be clever and looked stupid. Foakes and Leech managed to get the total to within single figures before Foakes also played a false shot and it was left to Anderson to see England over the line! But NO!
NZ had other ideas! Accurate fast bowling by all three – Southee, Wagner and Henry – pinned England back and Anderson was last out with two runs needed! An NZ win by one run!
Now…that’s the cold hard facts but words cannot describe the tension, atmosphere and sheer squeaky time everyone endured for the last hour! The closest test match I’ve ever seen. As exciting for me as Botham’s 5/28 against Australia in 1981 – and I’ve met enough people who says they were there to fill the ground twice over! I expect the same for ‘Wellington 2023’
An amazing match with mistakes on both sides but clawed back and hard fought. I doubt if I shall ever see another test as good!
One thing it did prove was that Bazzball seems to be all about hooking and when it works, it’s great but when it doesn’t it’s awful – and a number of English bats were at fault.
But let’s not detract from a fantastic game. Hopefully my nerves will recover! It’s worth noting that when the sun shines, the light for photos here is especially ‘clear’ But to give you a flavour of the day, here are a few snaps…
Tomorrow, dear reader, it’s back to tourism with a fly-drive on the South Island and I’m not even half way through my travels yet! Australia – and a Sheffield Shield game – beckons!