Bula from Fiji Jan 7, 2008 12:49:59 GMT -5
Post by Flash on Jan 7, 2008 12:49:59 GMT -5
Bring on the Aussies
Monday, January 07, 2008
Thank you Josevata Rokocoko for taking my Tongan bride for a dance at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa Ballroom last Friday evening; it made her year!
We were one of the lucky couples invited to Josevata and Beverly's magnificent celebrity wedding on Denarau Island, but out of respect for their contractual arrangements with New Zealand Women's Weekly for exclusive media coverage, I will only say; Congratulations to you both and may your union be richly blessed for many years to come!
I read in the latest issue of one of our monthly mags about their suspicions of the Australian Government spreading Aussie propaganda via Radio Australia's growing broadcasting network throughout the pacific.
I say, "Bring it on" as Radio Australia's sports coverage in and of the pacific is second to none and in fact their news and interviews put many local broadcasters to shame. I also thoroughly enjoy listening to their live coverage of the Test cricket in Australia. Seriously, I've been hooked for years and in the early 70's, (before TV in Fiji) I used to connect a steel wire clothes hangar, hooked up to the galvanised steel roof guttering (for improved reception) to the family Grundig stereo: this was the genuine German-made Grundig and not the fakes doing the rounds today.
Australian opener, Ian Redpath, was my favourite and I would spend all day listening to a live ball-by-ball description of an entire five-day Test Match!
Don't ask me how I got away with it over five days, but depending which city in Australia a test was being played at, I would be glued to the old Grundig late into the night for matches at the WACA in Perth, Western Australia, or at Sir Donald Bradman's home wicket in Adelaide, South Australia.
I found the radio coverage a richly rewarding experience in that one had to imagine so much around the descriptive words of the commentators.
Yorkshireman and opening bat for England, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, was another favourite that I had never seen or heard of before being introduced to him courtesy of the Radio Australia cricket commentators. A few years later, I had the great privilege of seeing Boycott bat for England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia and he was every bit as good as I had imagined thanks to Radio Australia.
Right now, courtesy of Radio Australia again on FM92.6 I'm listening to the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground between Australia and India and my new favourite is Indian batsman, Mr. V. V. S. Laxman who I look forward to actually seeing one day!
My introduction to the great game of cricket was at the newly opened Veiuto Primary School through Mr. Donnelly who instructed us to pick up the bat on the ground in front of us "like an axe".
I remember playing a match against Marist Brothers High School on a steamy Saturday morning at Albert Park and then afterwards in the unrelenting midday sun, trudging up Ratu Cakobau Road with two of my fellow players Mark Petersen and Ratu Epenisa Cakobau to Mark's home where Aunty Amete saved our lives with gallons of homemade orange juice. Bless her soul. I can still remember how refreshing that juice was and of course I will never forget her name!
One of the greatest games of cricket that I know of was one that I actually played in when I was Captain of the Saint Paul's College First XI against our old foes, Saint Peter's College.
These were one day games with each team batting a maximum of 50 overs spread over two afternoons on Friday and Saturday. This particular game in early 1980 was a home game for us on one of the smallest fields in the Auckland Secondary Schools competition.
Our Principal, Brother Terence, extended Friday lunch by half an hour so that we could benefit from the support of the entire school at the beginning of the first session of the first day. I lost the toss against the Captain of Saint Peter's, Mark Summitch, who was a schoolboy star already playing Auckland first grade club cricket and he decided to put us in to bat.
It was a stiflingly hot sun-filled afternoon as our boisterous fans cheered us onto the field. Truth be known, the boys were really cheering for the extra half hour off school!
Like my heroes on Radio Australia, Redpath and Boycott, I opened our batting, but didn't last long, given out caught behind by their wicket keeper for only 7 runs off a ball which nicked nothing but the flair of my left trouser pocket as I attempted to flick it off my hip to the very short third leg boundary.
Believe it or not, the umpire who gave me out was our coach and maths teacher, Mr. Maloney, who at the same time was listening to a live radio coverage of a Test match at Eden Park featuring New Zealand via an earphone in his right ear hooked up to a transistor radio in his shirt pocket! I laugh now, but it wasn't funny at the time!
Mr. Maloney was distracted by the broadcast and was truly startled when the Saint Peter's boys went up as one (naturally) in a strong appeal of "Howzat" in support of their opening bowler in front of our home crowd.
After a brief hesitation during which Maloney tried to figure out what had happened right in front of him and for what he was now being called upon for judgement, he looked at me sheepishly as he gave me out!
Ouch, it was painful right in front of my Island bros and on my home turf!
I reluctantly trudged off looking for a cool thirst-quenching orange drink.
My departure triggered a mini collapse and by the time lunch was over we had lost 5 wickets for only 60-odd runs and looking at a thrashing to boot.
As I have mentioned in an earlier column, Saint Paul's in the 70's was choc-full with Samoans and Tongans who played nothing but rugby union in school and during our spare time we played rugby league and for study, we played touch rugby!
Apart from these Island heavyweights, Saint Paul's always had a cadre of Tokelauans who excelled in cricket, which was their national sport back home in their island nation, two days sailing north of Samoa.
Such was their cricket talent, there were always 3 or 4 Tokelauans in our Saint Paul's First XI Cricket Team and when they were out in the middle batting together they would rattle off to each other excitedly in their native tongue, obviously having a ball as they flayed the opposition bowlers all over the place.
Well, this was one of those days!
I had 5 Tokelauans in my team of 1980, my best friend, Mika Perez and his two younger brothers Ioane and Sione, plus Sefo Vulu and Temoata Puka and because of their great all-round talent they batted from 7th to 11th in our line-up.
Well this day the Tokelauans were on fire!
In less than two hours in one of the most amazing batting displays I have ever witnessed, albeit on a small ground, the boys from Tokelau took us from the precarious score of 5 wickets down for only 60 runs at the end of school lunch at 1.30pm to be all out for 305 runs just before school finished at 3.30pm!
The Tokelauans had scored an amazing 245 runs between them for their 5 wickets, which were the last five wickets of our team! This has to be some kind of record.
Saint Peter's started batting at 4pm on Friday afternoon and reached 95 without loss by stumps at 6pm that afternoon.
We knew that Saturday was going to be a long day in the field as Saint Peter's College was a strong batting team, but at least Friday belonged to our brothers from Tokelau.
Mark Summitch only made 52; thank goodness that we got him out relatively cheaply that day, but Saint Peter's batted right through to the last and we finally dismissed them at 5.55pm on Saturday afternoon for 298 runs, just 8 runs short of victory and 5 minutes short of a draw!
An amazing 603 runs were scored in a one day 50-over game! Not bad for a match between schoolboys!