Yes; there’s a first class cricket game being played down there.
That’s Karori Park and that’s Wellington batting against Central Districts. You saw the photos from the build-up yesterday, and here it is on the first morning. Needless to say, Papps is the batsman on the right.
There was something grass roots about this. The sightscreens; large canvas over shipping containers, struggled in the wind a bit. Some players thought it was potentially distracting playing at a ground where there are joggers, cyclists and dog walkers circling the ground. But they got used to it.
And then there was the scoreboard; powered by a pretty noisy generator. So who knew there was a company specialising in electronic scoreboard hire?
It was a good crowd; certainly more than you get at the Basin for a Plunket shield match and, yes, the sausage sizzle sold out. Iain O’Brien was there, and his main contribution was making cultural stereotype comments about the suburb. Something about chardonnay. He was sceptical at first, but was close to being won over once the sun came out.
As for the cricket itself, the match started with some drama. Josh Brodie, a double centurial a fortnight ago was trapped in front first ball. Local boy Murdoch and Papps made starts but didn’t continue and, for once, Franklin didn’t turn the innings around.
The hosts 86/4 and in all sorts of trouble. But Woodcock joined Elliott at the crease and suddenly things looked easier. They turned it around, and after Woodcock (81) got out on the hook Luke Ronchi made his way out on debut.
This Ronchi is quite special and Wellington and possibly New Zealand have got themselves a good one here, although there seems to be some confusion about when he’s eligible for higher honours.
Both Elliott and Ronchi scored centuries and Wellington finished the day at 437/6 which was quite a fightback.