Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

High-rise barracks ready for Barmy Army

Mark Charlton (centre, rear, raising a glass of wine) turned his apartment into the ultimate corporate box. Photo / Andrew Alderson
Mark Charlton (centre, rear, raising a glass of wine) turned his apartment into the ultimate corporate box. Photo / Andrew Alderson

Mark Charlton's apartment overlooking the Basin Reserve provided the ultimate free corporate box as the New Zealand cricketers soldiered on against England in the second test yesterday afternoon.

The Wellington insurance broker began renting his seventh-storey abode on the roundabout about a year ago, with a specific view to host a "do" for his mates when England came to town.

Charlton did not disappoint. His chums partied in full view of the ground without prising open their wallets.

The venue presented a scene reminiscent of New York's Studio 54 in its splendour - only with full afternoon sunlight rather than disco balls. Bluff oysters (flown in by Charlton's oyster farmer mate Simon Walker) and a batch of Pimm's kept guests nourished throughout.

"The only reason I moved in here was because I knew this game was coming," Charlton said. "I thought, 'I need to be involved.' A year of waiting has been worth it. On the first day we paid our dues and actually sat on the embankment with the Barmy Army.

On the second day I dabbled with a bit of work and today, well - as you can see it's general chaos."

Down in the park, Wendy Baird of Masterton kept tension at bay with her knitting needles. She's making a gun-metal grey jersey for her daughter-in-law-to-be. The midwife and husband David have been at the test since the first day.

When she wasn't knitting she was polishing off a portion of last night's leftovers from Lone Star.

New Zealand had scored 77-1 in their second innings at the close of play last night, still 134 behind the English first innings total.

Baird is hopeful but sceptical of New Zealand's chances: "It's been a bit disappointing at times but hopefully they can hold out and post a decent [second innings] score."

- Herald on Sunday

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