Rabbits on the barbie
Posted in England U19s
With most of the players unaware of Papua New Guinea's position on the globe, knowledge of their talents on a cricket field would also be hard to find.
However, it was important for us to approach our warm-up game against the lesser-known Australasian cricket nation as we would any other.
A resounding eight-wicket win against the men from Port Moresby came about mostly through a hundred partnership between Messrs Buttler and Root, the latter finishing the game off in style with a huge six down the ground.
A notable moment of the match included the PNG Batsman ‘Mou’ trying hard to swing to cow corner (pun very much intended).
Spirits high, we moved on to our last warm-up match of the trip against the hosts, New Zealand.
Unfortunately, on a wicket which offered something up front for the seamers, we lost early wickets and stumbled to just over the 150 run mark.
This looked to be a competitive total when Buck and Payne both struck early with the new ball but some fine batting from New Zealand and some wayward bowling on our part allowed them to cruise over the line and record a five-wicket win.
It was a very disappointing result from our perspective but in a strange way not the worst thing to happen as it helped us recognise some areas which require extra care and attention in practice.
The next evening our very own Durham all-rounder, Ben Stokes, hailing from this part of the world, kindly invited the team to a BBQ Stokes-style at his aunt and uncle’s roomy Christchurch home.
With the weather set fair and the grill sizzling an enjoyable night was had by all - filled with speeches while bouncing on trampolines, the highlight of which included our team analyst, Steve ‘Matt Lucas’ Seligmann, doing his Roger Rabbit dance and in the process scaring the Stokes family and relations both young and old.