John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Never mind score - let's just play

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Daniel Stamp of Titirangi airs his 'hairy cleavage' at the cricket at Eden Park. Photo / Neville Marriner
Daniel Stamp of Titirangi airs his 'hairy cleavage' at the cricket at Eden Park. Photo / Neville Marriner

Long-suffering Black Caps fans showed their loyalties at Eden Park last night, even though a colourful crowd was often more entertaining than the cricket.

As New Zealand headed for a series defeat, Trent Rhode from Howick shrugged: "You never know what you're going to get."

The 17-year-old and his mates Harrison Pasco, from Bucklands Beach, and Marlon Khifi, from Mellons Bay, said the sun and atmosphere made the match unmissable.

"It's a great day out in the sun," Khifi said. He admitted following the Black Caps could be an emotional rollercoaster. "It's all about having fun. We'll always back the boys."

Daniel Stamp, from Bournemouth and now resident in Titirangi, confessed he was more interested in airing his "hairy cleavage" than the result.

Four England supporters took to the South Stand wearing horse heads, and T-shirts with "100 per cent beef" scrawled across them. Chris Nairn and pals Dave Caldwell, from Manchester, Coventry-based Sam Hornbrook, and Londoner Mike Harb took the heads off for, well, special occasions.

"The general rule is, two overs on, five overs drinking," Harb said. "It's quite difficult to drink with a horse head on."

Nick Clark from West Auckland was disappointed New Zealand made only 185 runs before getting bowled out. "It's just getting a bit frustrating, the inconsistency. I guess you've just got to keep the faith. It's always exciting at a one-dayer or a Twenty20."

At the former terraces in the east stand, Joe Harding, Aled Harris and Gavin Walsh, all from Wales, donned skimpy outfits and leis. The trio copped flak from a few unimpressed nearby fans but had no problem returning the banter. "It's all about the experience," Harris said. "At the end of the day it's only cricket."

One Black Cap supporter turning heads was Waitakere Cricket Club player Rob Maxwell, who made an appearance as Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice from the Tim Burton film. Maxwell said the spirit of the old raucous terraces was gone but Eden Park was still a good venue. He was upset at the Black Caps batting effort but added: "I just love cricket. I love the Black Caps. I love coming to Eden Park. I'll still be here next year."

Yesterday's international was attended by 17,530 people. A three-match test series against England will start in Dunedin on Wednesday March 6 before moving to Wellington. The Black Caps return to Eden Park on March 22 for the final test.

- Herald on Sunday

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