Fans evicted for paper darts

By Steve Deane

Black Cap among critics of Eden Park's 'insane' security that also expelled people for loud cheering and Mexican waves.

One fan was ejected for trying to start a Mexican wave, while several were thrown out for making darts out of paper '4/6' signs.  Photo / Neville Marriner
One fan was ejected for trying to start a Mexican wave, while several were thrown out for making darts out of paper '4/6' signs. Photo / Neville Marriner

Cricket fans were evicted from Eden Park for throwing paper darts, trying to start Mexican waves and even cheering too enthusiastically in a "bonehead" security crackdown that raised the ire of a top Black Cap.

Police said 87 people were thrown out of the ground during the New Zealand-England one-day international on Saturday - but none were arrested or charged.

Injured Black Caps bowler Mitchell McClenaghan took to Twitter to vent his frustrations with the security.

"People getting kicked out for starting Mexican waves tonight ... I'm sorry but that is ridiculous!" he wrote. Followed by: "How are we to get support if it's not enjoyable to come and spend a day out :("

One fan - dressed as a rabbit - was ejected for trying to start a Mexican wave, while several were thrown out for making darts out of paper "4/6" signs that were handed to spectators as they entered the ground.

Herald cricket columnist and long-time fan Jeremy Wells described the oppressive nature of the security operation as "insane".

"Security is there to enforce the ground rules for people's safety, but I didn't see anybody's safety jeopardised at all," he said. "All I saw was boneheads kicking people out for doing nothing."

Chris Allen: Evicting fans for harmless antics is short-sighted

Eden Park chief executive David Kennedy defended the security operation - a combination of a private firm and police - saying the vast majority of the crowd appeared to be happy with it.

"We try to strike a balance that is appropriate for the game," Mr Kennedy said. "If people are evicted it is because they are doing something that is likely to be causing a nuisance to people around them. It is [about] actually trying to ensure that the vast number of people who are there to behave normally and have a good time can do that.

"There were a whole bunch of people at the park - close to 18,000 of them - who weren't causing any disturbance, were having a good time, weren't asked to leave, and probably appreciated us moving someone from near them who was creating a nuisance."

With patrons spending up to 10 hours at the ground, excessive alcohol consumption could become an issue, Mr Kennedy said.

"There is the potential for people to be a bit silly. We tend to frown upon people being silly and warn them and ask them to leave if they persist."

However, Wells said he noticed only three or four people who had clearly had a few drinks, and even they weren't excessively drunk.

"People were getting evicted for cheering. Another guy had a security guard come up to him because he was having a bit of a snooze. He wasn't drunk, he was just actually sleeping. And the security guard tried to evict him. So what? You are not allowed to sleep at the ground now?

"It has just got completely insane. I don't know if I want to go back to Eden Park after that, to be honest. I just think, 'What's the point'? The atmosphere is completely gone. It's like they are trying to kill cricket."

Wells was also concerned about the way visiting England fans would view New Zealand. "People have paid a lot of money to come over from England and support the English team and they are getting evicted for cheering? It's insane."

New Zealand Cricket declined to answer questions on the matter, but in a statement said it "fully supports the way Eden Park managed the crowd at [Saturday's] match".

Read more: McCullum's form the only relief

- NZ Herald

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