08 April 2015

Capitalising on the cricket world cup.....

You'd have to have been living under a rock in NZ to have missed the hype and entertainment of the cricket world cup that was on down under for most of February and March.

Our boys have been at the perfect age to learn about the game this time round and to really get into the action, so it's no surprise our living room was turned into a cricket pitch every morning and afternoon and there were a few near misses of breakable items as (soft) balls came whizzing in all directions. It makes a change from it being turned into a football field I suppose!

 Excuse the very blurry early morning iPhone photos - but you get the idea!

Mylo managed to accidentally break the little soft cricket bat we've had for a few years so they had to make do playing with a softball bat instead - which goes to show you'll use anything when you're committed to the cricket cause. Mark even splurged out on some of the fancy light up cricket bails to add a bit of fun to their endeavours - they did have to spend a fair while doing jobs to earn them mind you as they weren't cheap!

Growing up, cricket was by far and away my favourite sport. We went to several regional cricket games at the marvellous Pukekura park natural amphitheatre venue in New Plymouth while I was in my early teens and I will never forget the day I managed to get autographs and photos with Chris Harris, Nathan Astle but not to be trumped by a photo with my all-time hero Chris Cairns. This was in 1991, while they were all representing NZ on a national level and were part of the team who did so well at the 1992 world cup when it was last hosted in these here parts. Imagine my surprise when I then ended up sitting next to (and working up the courage to have a chat to!) my hero Chris Cairns a couple of years back on my way to the inaugural bloggers conference in Christchurch - that totally made my day I can tell you!

A sneaky pic I couldn't resist when I realised who it was!

As a teenager with a love of the game, I even decided I'd try my hand playing cricket in 7th form for our girls team at Morrinsville College - not very well mind you - I'm not much of a team sport player because I'm not particularly gifted with sporting abilities but I also have a terrible fear of any balls coming at me at speed which makes it difficult to do well from the outset!

When I later moved to England, Mark was already playing cricket for a local team so I often went to watch an hour or two of his Saturday games and our combined love of the game even took us to the Oval in England to watch NZ vs England one day during the time we lived in London. Mark carried on playing cricket for a local Wellington team when we first arrived back here in 2002 but a bouncing ball to the lower arm which broke his arm the following year meant his cricket whites were packed away and have been not seen since, apart from to show them the boys - although none of his kit would get anywhere near fitting him now that he's 30 kg lighter than he was back in those days!

Family day out watching Sri Lanka vs England - how very English do the two guys in front of us
look in their hats!

We have absolutely relished the coverage of the world cup here - Mark went to quite a few of the games with his friends, and as a family we even went and watched the Sri Lanka v England pool game at Westpac Stadium. Thankfully it was one of those 'can't beat Welly on a good day' days so we all thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and the opportunity to hang out with a few of our friends and neighbours who'd all come down for the game. Wellington's civic square was even turned into a village green for people to come and watch the final few big games on the big screen!

Unfortunately for Mark, his time down at the stadium for NZ's quarter final against the West Indies was cut short at the end of NZ's innings when he had to make an emergency dash across Wellington to retrieve a puking Mylo from a sleepover (since I was busy at our church womens conference) so he had to make do with watching the West Indies innings from the couch overseeing vomiting proceedings from time to time. But enough about that and at least he got to see Martin Guptill get his 200 runs!

Throughout the tournament, he boys have truly surprised me with their ability to pick up on the game so quickly - happily discussing even the more unusual players' names and some of the terminology of the game - you could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard Noah say 'he's nutmegged him' one day - I had to stop and ask him what that was - and here was I thinking I knew a fair bit about the game!

The night of the semi final when NZ played South Africa Mark was out at a friends and I was resigned to watching it on my own. When Noah poked his head out of his room at 8.30pm and asked how the game was going, I asked if he'd like to stay up and watch as I was rather keen to have a buddy to watch it with as I could tell it was turning into a bit of a nailbiter. It turned out to be one of the most thrilling one-day games the cricketing world has ever seen and I'm so glad I got to share that with him - even though it made for a very late night! With the game hanging in the very balance at the beginning of the last over, our screams of delight as Daniel Vettori hit a four to the boundary woke Mylo - who came out bleary-eyed wondering what on earth was going on. He perked up soon enough and got to see Grant Elliott hit the emphatic six that scored our winning runs to catapult us into NZ's history books with a place in the World Cup final - huzzah!

Two boys witness history being made as the Black Caps 
blasted their way to the final (which made it a very late night!)

Despite the fact the final didn't go our way, the Black Caps performance throughout the tournament has inspired young and old across the country and rekindled a lot of love for the game which has been awesome. We've decided to capitalise on the boys' current interest and get them along to a cricket holiday programme that's running during the school holidays and hopefully they might still be keen enough to then join a cricket team next summer too....

It's great to be able to add another interest to their sporting repertoire too...!

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