R&R over the hill

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

In need of some R&R, Sideline Sid and Mrs Sid headed over the Kaimai Range to catch day two and three of the Black Caps verses Bangladesh cricket test at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Seddon Park is named after Richard John Seddon who was New Zealand Prime Minister from 1893 to 1906.

International cricket has been played at the ground for over one hundred years, with the touring Australian team playing a South Auckland eleven at Seddon Park during February 1914.

The Waikato City ground also has a prominent position in Bay of Plenty Cricket history.

Bay of Plenty played its first representative match against South Auckland in March 1932, after affiliating to the New Zealand Cricket Association the previous year.

The Bay players were thrust into the cauldron of top level representative cricket, in a Hawke Cup Direct Challenge.

Not surprisingly they were outclassed by a innings and 103 runs.

A couple of days of test cricket requires a entirely different preparation and approach, from an ODI at the Bay Oval.

The car needs to be packed with the necessary camp stool, sun umbrella, chilly bin of food, sun hats, sun screen, binoculars and a radio to listen to the Radio Sport match commentary.

After setting up camp in a familiar position at Seddon Park, it was time to make introductions with nearby neigbours and settle back to watch the action.

Genuine cricket fans can be identified by one ear-piece trailing away to a hidden radio.

Listening to the radio commentary, while watching the live cricket action, adds a extra dimension to a test match. Unlike the television commentary, the radio commentators need to paint a picture of the action for the listeners.

The only problem with watching and listening at the same time, is that the commentators are often stating the obvious to the dual spectator/listener.

The backbone of the Radio Sport commentary team are Brian Waddell and Jeremy Coney, who seem to have been around forever. Waddell usually plays the straight bat while Coney is a delight with his witticism's and turn of phrases.

In this modern era, the commentary team make full use of social media, inviting their listeners to communicate with them through text, email and facebook.

At one stage the listeners were invited to say where they were and what they were doing, while listening to the commentary.

Somehow one of the conversations ended up with a fairly long chat on the attributes or otherwise of wasps.

Unlike the two other forms of the game, test matches produce long periods were batsmen defy the bowlers with defensive shots that produce few runs - hence the commentators having to fill in the gaps with all-matter of cricket topics and trivia.

The Hamilton test was made in heaven for cricket tragic's like Sideline Sid.

In a game where over 1600 runs were blasted, over four days, a myriad of all-time records were shattered.

The major mark was Black Caps highest score of 715 (for the loss of six wickets) since New Zealand played their test match in 1930 against England at Lancaster Park in Christchurch.

Our two homegrown Bay of Plenty Black Caps also had a big hand in the proceedings. Captain Kane Williamson brought up his 20th test match century with a unbeaten double century, with Trent Boult taking a five-for in the Bangladesh second dig.

The test series now moves on to the Basin Reserve in Wellington and Hagley Oval in the Garden City, with no less expectations than a Black Cap whitewash.


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