Flagpole removal hardly cricket

By Mike Dinsdale

1 comment

Whangarei expat Pom Tony Edwards is a proud Englishman and he's carried his country's flag to support its teams around the world.

But on Saturday he was the victim of what he calls "officious" security guards at the England v Black Caps one-day cricket international at Eden Park when he was ordered to remove the flag's pole or he wouldn't be let in.

Mr Edwards said he was told the broomstick he stapled the flag on to more than 15 years ago was an offensive weapon.

Perplexed by the command - after all, he had taken the same flag, complete with broomstick pole, to games in India, Sri Lanka, England and even to Eden Park the last time England came - he complied so that he and son Ben could attend the game.

Mr Edwards was one of many who have complained about security at Saturday's game with security staff ejecting 87 people from Eden Park during the match - including some for trying to start a Mexican wave - but none were arrested.

"I tried to reason with them, even telling them I'd had it in Eden Park before, but it was no use.

I'm 64 and my days as a hooligan are well and truly behind me.

"This flag has been around the world and I've never had any problems like this anywhere," he said.

He did consider telling the security guard where they could stick the offensive weapon, but decided better of it.

Mr Gordon has been to dozens of sporting stadia around the globe and said the Eden Park security was the worst he had encountered.

"The security was totally over the top. The security guard said her boss said anything over two metres was not allowed in, but I'm only 1.72 metres and the broom handle was smaller than me," Mr Edwards said.

He will be attending the test match against England at Eden Park next month - without a flagpole - but he's predicting there could be problems with England's travelling Barmy Army of supporters.

NZ Cricket marketing manager Owen Harrison said the fact the flag was attached to a pole was the problem.

"We have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to items that could cause injury to spectators and/or players hence the no cans or glass restrictions for example," Mr Harrison said.

- Northern Advocate

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