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AB's and Black Caps Victories a Blast from the Past

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Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith

The weekends wins by the Blacks Caps and All Blacks were like someone pressing the record button on the nations ‘My Sky’ box in the 1980’s and only replaying it now. 

Summers in New Zealand used to revolve around cricket tests. Hadlee, Collinge and Cairns thundering in. The clanging of cans, the lame chants and drunken streakers. Wins were rare, but becoming increasingly common as our team fought hard and put more talented, complacent touring teams to the sword. 

With build-ups to ODI and 20/20 World Cups in recent seasons giving us a cramped calendar of short crash and bash at the expense of Test Matches, we have lost the art as players and supporters of playing out and supporting for five energy sapping days, where one bad session could spell disaster.

Saturdays victory over Pakistan, brought back memories of our first test victory over England in 1978. A solid first innings from New Zealand a slightly weaker effort from the tourists followed by a New Zealand batting collapse that set a very getable target for England to win. But Collinge and Hadlee pounded in with the late afternoon sunshine and cut a swathe through the English batting order. England lingered on into the next day with the chance of victory still in view, only to be finished off in quick order. 

It is undeniable that a victory at the end of five days of sporting battle is a lot more satisfying and memorable than 3 hours of Crash Bandicoot with a bat.

Thank you very much to Shane Bond and Chris Martin for reminding us all of the glory of the past and how wonderful test cricket can be. Thanks to Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori for their valuable runs. Also special thanks to Ian O’Brien who with a badly dislocated finger got it put back in again and bowled on for his country taking two further wickets. In these days of rupee following Prima Donnas with ‘paper cut’ injuries, who are paid a lot for very little it was tremendous to see a player who was prepared to play through the pain because that’s what his country needed.    

For the All Blacks it was good to see running rugby and a return to the days when possession was cherished and not kicked away. With backs running against backs. Everyone fighting for the cause and sticking to the job they are employed to do. Thank you to the forwards for providing quality ball and standing up to the fire of the French. Thank you to the backs for reminding us of the way things used to be, when free flowing brilliance was the order of the day rather than aimless kicking. Also great to see a team spirit that refuses to buckle in defence and have its line crossed. The white jerseys reminding me of the 1981 victory over Scotland at Eden Park when Allan Hewson inspired a free running record breaking victory over Scotland.

So not sure where we go from here. Was this just a flash back and normal service will be resumed shortly? I hope not.

Perhaps while we are dwelling on the past and reflecting on by-gone victories could we please also turn back the clock even if just for a weekend to the days when we could walk up to a rugby test with a beer can in one hand and our ticket in the other - both of which didn't cost much.

A time when kids could go down to the Basin Reserve when a cricket test was on and climb up the Pohutukawa trees to jump over the sparsely patrolled fence to see sporting history in the making.

Rose tinted my thinking on the past might be, but most of it (streakers excluded) was a lot more memorable than today’s too easily forgettable over supplied, overpriced and over policed sporting experience.   

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