New Zealand Tour 2008
We've won the series 2-1!
Kia Ora all
First of all you may notice a couple of new contacts have appeared -- this will all become clear later.
The final test in Napier was a memorable affair. We thought we had seen all there was to see in Napier but discovered parts of NZ not yet seen by Captain Kirk and this, added to our victory of course, made the second visit extremely enjoyable.
A hint to anyone thinking of travelling to Napier - book accommodation three years in advance, and avoid the 5 star hotel we stayed in, The County. Bit of a rip-off I thought in every sense of the word for what we paid.
For the majority of the game we were on our familiar grass bank and George and myself were joined at various times by the following dramatis personae:
Five - Oh, a bearded businessman from Cornwall with an unhealthy appetite for beer. Some of you may know his son, Caddy.
Bill, his AUSTRALIAN brother in law
Hamish, a NZ fan and travel agent from Havelock who had brought his young son and friend to see the Barmy Army
Martin & Simon, cricket fans from Bury and Leicester who we had met at Wellington and their four mates / brothers - sorry lads didn’t get all the names except the youngest one called Club holds a high profile position in UK industry like your reporter.
And last but not least Simon the Palace fan who some of you will know from SL.
The tone of events was set quickly when George, after seeing the Lancastrian Anderson hit for three consecutive fours, issued forth with a torrent of foul mouthed abuse (including the f word) which left Hamish no option but to consider covering his young lads ears.
He was too late, and George was duly yellow-carded--they will never let you in the Corporate sorry Barmy army swearing like that George!
(The forty-quid admission is causing a rebellion now with some of the long standing fans and I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this).
There is even a rumour circulating that they are to pay Billy a salary to appear with his trumpet, which surely defeats the object and removes the charm that has hitherto existed?
We all disgraced ourselves at that last test.
Five-O managed a feat I’ve not seen for some time. From an established prone, comfortable position on the bank he dozed off for a millisecond and let the full glass of beer he was holding simply slip from his hand.
This was gobbled up by the parched ground in another millisecond, giving him no time at all to consider recovery action.
My personal nadir came on the day or I should say early morning of the United v Liverpool match when, after a 10 hour drinking session with first George (watching the Barmy army perform their songs live on stage in the local Working men’s club) and then after George retired for the night Martin, Simon, Club and the boys, we adjourned to the Irish pub which to our astonishment was showing the game starting at 2.35am.
I have been captured doing unspeakable things with an overweight Kiwi woman although Martin was too diplomatic to explain what lay behind the many photos he had so kindly taken.
I can’t remember a minute of this, but funnily enough I do remember we won 3-0!!
And so to the songs!!
For each of the days of the test matches we have been subjected to an anthemic " New Zealand" song extolling the virtues of this fair land.
Hard to explain the musical category – it’s cr*p - except its the sort of think Chris de Burgh might have recorded when he still had a career.
On the final day the Barmy Army were mimicking this rubbish and it really did have to be seen to be believed.
I promised I would relay Dougies new Jessie Ryder song - which I’m sure Hamish was dying for his son to hear - cant remember the full verse but its the same stuff as usual about toilets and getting drunk : the chorus goes like this to the tune of Delilah:
"Why why why Jessie Ryder
Why why why Jessie Ryder
The selectors say "no more"
Forgive me Vettori I wont be a co*k any more"!!
Good eh and I can only regret he wont be touring England later this year. So to my traditional markings of the England players this time in Sir GB style:
Vaughan : 4. Not impressed wi't captaincy or t'batting.
Cook : 5. Never built an innings and needs to improwve his average.
Strauss: 4. Muwsically quite decent but forget the crickit. Poor series and one final fling wont sayve his fading career.
Bell: 6. A pretty player, this. Pretty useless at times, too. But aggregate runs on the up so one to persevere with.
Pietersen: 5. Tried hard and was dogged but will not forget him encouraging that bloody Barmy Army to sing on't last day.
Collingwood: 7. A player out of a proper mould - a grafter. His grandad must have been a Yorkshireman.
Ambrose: 7. Not bad but an Aussie - if he canna play for Yorkshire he shouldna be playing for England - or ave they changedt'rules?
Broad: 8. Needs a bloody haircut. National service would have sorted him out - but tried hard!
Sidebottom: 9. Another one that needs a short back and sides. Comes from Yorkshire though bowled like a star - what can I say?
Harmison:0. Waste of space.
Hoggard: 6. Unlucky to have played in 'Amilton disaster when unfit. Will be back.
Panesar: 5. Disappointing until final day of last test and even then got clouted all over t' park.
Anderson: 3. Ah can only say Ah'm glad Burnley's on t'wrong side oht Pennines.
So that’s almost it for another tour and I hope you have enjoyed these updates - one final word.
Hamish said to me at the test " When you leave Napier make sure you don’t stay between Hamilton and Auckland. Its bloody horrible"
The day after the test I hired a Ford Focus and went touring round Mordor (Tongariro National Park).
On the gravel roads and slopes the Focus laboured as if it was carrying the burden of the very ring of power itself under the bonnet.
As usual I left arranging a motel too late and arrived in the dark in a coal mining town between Auckland and Hamilton. It’s called Huntly.
A sign promised a motel 4km off track so in the dark I forced the unwilling Focus off the road up the gravel hill road to a well lit but spookily unoccupied motel called the Hilltop retreat.
This place looked like the Swiss family Robinson house and despite several cars being parked up in the total darkness of the car park as I say the place was eerily deserted.
Suddenly gripped by an irrational fear I returned to the Focus to take it down the hill and back to the safety of the main road but the bloody thing wouldn’t start!
After about five minutes and in a cold sweat I careered back down the hill to safety. I don’t know what was going on up there but I'd say devil worship at the least.
When you watch horror films you always say " I would never put myself in a dumb position like that" as the victims are dissected – don’t we!!
Hamish, not one to recommend to your clientele.
Eventually I found a safer option on the main road - bounded by a train line also at the back and the bible was placed by the NZ noise abatement society rather than the Gideons - but no ritual slaughter going on , just lack of sleep.
Hamish, another one not to recommend to your customers. The North End.
So another tour comes to a successful end and I hope to see all of you soon.
If you aren’t coming to the Old Trafford test - why the hell not??
For those of you who were present on the tour, the video and music below, should bring back a number of memories, enjoy!