Wellington cricket has rightly been a laughing stock over the last decade. On Saturday they won the Ford Trophy; their first trophy of any kind for 10 years. And when you think that there are three trophies up for grabs between six provinces that’s some drought.
But their experienced bowling attack, with a combined age of roughly 394, showed that old heads can be quite useful; especially at The Death.
But it was a pig of a pitch at The Mount, and 233 was proving to be a tricky challenge.
Enter some strange support from the home crowd. Behind the chase, James Franklin brings out the trademark lofted drive over extra cover and it goes onto the bank.
Some cretin, dressed in official signed ND merchandise (and a helmet), thought this was a really good chance to gain legendary idiocy status, and dunked the ball in a plastic vessel of Tui. What a lad.
Obviously, that’s contrary to about 10 laws of cricket, and the reason for that is it makes it so much harder for the bowling side. That bowling side happened to be his side.
A collection of slippy and sticky waist high full-tosses were to follow and Wellington, so famous for chokes in finals, lifted the trophy.
Then in the evening the Hurricanes met the Bulls. The score was 25-20.
The winning side dominated the set pieces, especially the scrums, and owed their victory to six penalties. Their one try came from a set-piece kick.
The losing side was starved of ball yet ran in two brilliant individual tries.
And the Hurricanes won it.
Turned a corner? Probably not, but on the still-too-rare occasions when the Hurricanes do chance their arm they are starting to revive memories of the Umaga / Lomu / Cullen era.
The was a strange ending to the game too. The hosts were awarded a penalty after the hooter. It was 20 metres out and straight in front. The SKY commentary team, led by Parker Report co-author Ian Smith were screaming for the Hurricanes to kick it out rather than add the extra three… because the match was already won. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the points were taken.
In a competition as topsy-turvy as this you never know when Points Differential might come in handy.