Mathew Sinclair is scratching his head wondering why Hawke's Bay Cricket played its premier men's club competition games when the Twenty20 Black Clash match was staged in Napier.
"What I couldn't work out was they had Twenty20 cricket that night when it would have been nice to have all the boys come over see the game as well but they had their games on Friday night, which is bloody ridiculous," said Sinclair after the 20/20 Black Clash televised match between Team Cricket and Team Rugby from 4pm at McLean Park while the premier men competed at Nelson Park across the road last Friday.
The 44-year-old, who still helps out The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist, said they were playing against Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC but they weren't in the running for anything so it could have been postponed or played the night before.
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"But, again, trying to get a ground and all that sort of thing could have been a red tape so it could have been nice for the guys to have had a chance to come see the [Black Clash] match but, hey look, it's out of my control and it's admin stuff."
Hawke's Bay Cricket chief executive Craig Findlay said it was what it was and he had no comment to make.
Asked if postponing the round was an option, Findlay replied: "Nah, none of the teams wanted to. There were only two teams that even mentioned it.
"We don't change the competition for something like that or even for the [Riverbend] Cricket Camp," he said of the annual camp for youngsters in the region.
However, Sinclair, a former New Zealand international batsman, had thoroughly enjoyed himself despite clutching his hammy — something that had ended Sri Lanka bowling great Muttiah Muralitharan's fielding time on the park for Team Rugby.
"It was awesome and good to catch up with the boys I hadn't for a while as well as a chance to get on the big stage again in front of a local crowd so it was fantastic," he said, after scoring an unbeaten 60 runs that eked out a nail-biting, two-run victory for Team Cricket after Australian comedian Andy Lee caught a runaway Mahela Jayawardene for 50 on the rope to knock the sails out of their wind in the 19th over to level 1-all between the sides after Team Rugby won the inaugural one in Christchurch last year.
The Hawke's Bay sponsors had made it possible for the icons of both codes to mingle a day before and after the match on Friday.
"It was just good to get back into game mode, I guess you can say — just travelling or touring mode."
Sinclair had enjoyed catching up with Magpie All Black halfback Brad Weber — celebrating his birthday — who was in his PE sessions at Napier Boys' High School as a former student.
"He's also plays for Napier Old Boys' Marist [rugby] as well," he said. "We don't seem to have a chance to mingle with the rugby guys because some of them play in winter."
It was nice to mingle with the Barrett brothers of Jordie and Beauden as well as former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and former Lindisfarne College product Israel Dagg.
"It was a very close finish and entertaining so that's what it's all about," he said. "Even my innings was like, Goodness me, I was pushing it around but, god, who wants to see me bat'," he said with a laugh, pleased to have stuck it out to put some runs on the board with ex-Black Cap Chris Harris who was 27 not out after Jordie Barrett took 2-22.
The real estate agent didn't have a clue what was going on in the first six balls from Muralitharan but had started to pick the next six, much to his relief.
"It takes a bit of time but still an awesome experience to have one of the best bowlers in the world to come to McLean Park to play.
"Hey, Jayawardene — the class of the man so say no more," he said, relating to how tight his muscles were feeling. "We all looked very, very sore at the end and I have a bruise the size of a football on my leg at the moment."
That was the intensity, he said, brought to a game from a muster of players who had carved a niche in their respective codes trying to be competitive.
He gave the Bay weather a huge tick after forecast of rain didn't eventuate — "it was the total opposite".
The wicket was "very two paced" which demanded bowlers to pitch up the ball.
"I had said before the game that if you bowl short at McLean Park it'll go a long way so they bowled pretty well and full," he said, adding both sides had adjusted to the conditions.
Sinclair said retire international spinner Daniel Vettori's beard had become a focal point, especially on social media.
"My god, that was only four months worth," he said with a laugh. "Being Dan I thought what's going on here. You know, you could hide stuff in there but he's an easy-go-lucky kind of lad."
He felt it was vital for the Napier City Council to become "a bit more proactive" in ensuring international cricket matches of yesteryear are stage here again.
"The other thing is the lights need to be sorted out, apparently, because the lux, or whatever it is, isn't up to standard so we've got to get this ground back up to match fitness."
He said the ground was superb and its outfield surface like a giant putting green.
"We have to try to help secure the ground for future development because, otherwise, if we don't get the games here the interest from kids will be lost."
A chuckling Sinclair would like to think he had done enough for Team Cricket to be extended another invitation to the next Black Clash.
For the record, NOBM lost by four wickets to CHB despite Sam Johnson scoring an unbeaten 66 at first drop for the former. Scott Schaw scored 55 runs and veteran James Mackie was 33no for CHB in round five of the Murray McKearney Memorial Cup on Friday.
Innovate Electrical Napier Old Boys' Marist beat Reynard Health Supplied Havelock North by seven wickets with five balls to spare. Kurtis Weeks scored 46 runs and former Black Cap Jesse Ryder 44 for the victors.
You Travel Taradale beat Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall by the same margin with No 3 Brayden Hill's unbeaten 51 runs helping the Maroons eclipse the target.