Black Caps fanatic Paddy Singe has truly bowled a maiden over.
A friend forwarded a link to an auction on the Facebook auction page BuddyBid for a romantic weekend package to the final. The 53-year-old Aucklander and his wife, Anne, will be among the 100,000-strong crowd at the MCG for today's Cricket World Cup final.
The trip was Paddy's last-minute present to Anne, a former cricket player, for the couple's 34th wedding anniversary, which fell yesterday.
"The game is in my blood and going to the final is a dream come true," Anne told the Herald on Sunday.
"If there is one trip at the top of my bucket list, it would be this one."
The Singes left for Melbourne yesterday, to join several thousand other Black Cap fans in a packed MCG today.
One fan is making a 34,000km round trip from London in less than four days. Gerard Walsh, chairman of the London New Zealand Cricket Club, left London on Friday morning and landed in Melbourne last night.
He will watch the game before returning to his desk in the UK on Tuesday morning. "I am insanely excited about this game," Walsh said.
"It's 100 years since our two nations became Anzac brothers on the battlefields of Gallipoli and it is so poignant and fitting that the Anzacs meet in the final only a month from the anniversary. I think our great-great-grandparents from 100 years ago would have loved it."
Others heading to the game include members of the 1992 Cricket World Cup squad, former All Black coach Sir Graham Henry, his Rugby World Cup-winning first-five Stephen Donald, Prime Minister John Key, Minister of Sport Jonathan Coleman and Labour leader Andrew Little.
The Singes had planned a romantic break in Fiji, but that was canned when the Black Caps made the final.
Paddy said Anne decided towards the end of Tuesday's nail-biting semifinal against South Africa that if the Black Caps won they would get to the final, no matter what. "On Wednesday morning I looked into it but getting flights and match tickets looked impossible," he said.
Then a friend forwarded a link to an auction for a romantic weekend package to the final, worth $10,000 and Paddy won with a $7000 bid.
As well as two first-class return seats to Melbourne, premium tickets to the final and five-star accommodation, the deal included a diamond ring. "It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary and getting the ring took care of my present," Anne said.