Musings from Beyond the Boundary – 13 August

Musings from beyond the boundary – cricketing thoughts through the eyes of Trevor Auger, an Auckland Cricket Society and Supporters Club Member.

James Wilson won’t be the first name that comes to mind when you think of New Zealand cricket writers, but his book ‘Court and Bowled: Tales of Cricket and the Law’ is an absorbing and entertaining read.

Wilson studied law at the University of Auckland and practised in Auckland and then London where he now works as a legal writer, editor and manager.  His book is a fascinating meander through the intersection of the law and the game, starting deep in history with cases like the 1611 instance of two youths in West Sussex being fined for playing cricket instead of going to church and carrying on through the D’Oliveira Affair, Kerry Packer’s days in Court and the match-fixing saga and Chris Cairns’ first courtroom encounters with Lalit Modi.

The book was published in 2014, so it misses the sad death of Phillip Hughes. It would have been interesting to have read Wilson’s thoughts on the subsequent Inquest, as he hypothesises in the book around the situation of liability in a case where a cricketer might be seriously injured or even killed after being struck by the ball.

Not just the headline cases make the cut however, and coverage is also given to cases in England where residents tiring of balls ending in their back yards have sought injunctions against neighbouring cricket clubs.  For the legal aficionados there is ample space given to Lord Denning’s famous Court of Appeal judgement in one such case where the Lintz Cricket Club, in Durham, won the right to continue using their ground to play the game, in spite of the objections of their neighbours Mr and Mrs Miller.

Appropriately the dust jacket features a photograph of the club’s ground, complete with the 15 foot high netting fence shielding the next door housing estate from all bar the lustiest of blows.

Speaking of which, Colin Munro has been landing a few in the Caribbean. Playing for the Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders he warmed up with  41 off 25 balls against the Jamaica Tallawahs  before taking his team to victory over Martin Guptill’s Guyana Amazon Warriors scoring an unbeaten 70 off 47 balls, with 5 sixes and 5 fours. Munro is currently the highest run-scorer in the competition, and averages 89 after four innings

Guptill, who had missed the Warriors’ previous match with a hamstring strain, had started the match with an aggressive 14-ball innings of 24, which included 2 sixes and 2 fours, but on this occasion he was outshone by his Auckland team-mate.

Elsewhere in the CPL Kane Williamson made a comparatively sedate 46 off 44 balls for the Barbados Tridents against the St Lucia Stars before being caught by Marlon Samuels off the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan, the Aucklander’s only wicket of the innings.

Amongst all the big-hitting, news came that Chris Gayle had scored the slowest T20 half century of his career. Steering the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to victory over the Guyana Amazon Warriors, in the game Martin Guptill missed, Gayle scored an unbeaten 66 from 55 balls, still rather quicker than pedestrian!

Another Aucklander has joined the CPL with Glenn Phillips a late call-up to the Jamaica Tallawahs, where his Aces coach Mark O’Donnell is the Assistant to Head Coach Paul Nixon, the former England wicket-keeper batsman. Phillips’ arrival in the Caribbean takes the tally of Aces players in the CPL up to four, three of whom hail from the Howick-Pakuranga Club.

Meanwhile in England the NatWest T20 Blast continues, and the New Zealand star of the week has been Adam Milne. Turning out for Kent against Somerset he took a remarkable 5/11 off 3.5 overs, with 15 dot balls amongst his 23 deliveries. At the other end Jimmy Neesham picked up 2/43, so seven wickets for Kent’s Kiwi connection, as Somerset succumbed by six wickets.

Equally noteworthy were Luke Ronchi’s two fifties in two days, as Leicestershire enjoyed successive victories against Northamptonshire and then Yorkshire. Ronchi’s 59 at the top of the order against Northamptonshire came off 36 balls, but he pressed the accelerator even more firmly against Yorkshire, his 57 occupying just 27 balls.

And with Corey Anderson back home from Somerset seeking further treatment for the stress fractures in his back, it’s encouraging to see Tom Latham recovering well from his foot injury. He made a 40-ball 62 last week for Durham against Worcestershire, where Mitchell Santner continues to deliver consistent results. This time his contribution was 28 runs and a spell of 1/34.

Also in England the women’s Kia Super League T20 competition has got under way, and again there is a healthy representation of New Zealanders across the various teams.  White Ferns’ captain Suzie Bates wasted no time making an impression as her Southern Vipers won their opening encounter against the Western Storm, taking 2/8 off 3 overs as the Storm collapsed to 70 all out, and then scoring a 31-ball unbeaten 47 as the Vipers won with more than 10 overs to spare.

The bowler that suffered most from Bates’ onslaught was Hearts player Holly Huddleston who went for 38 off just two overs, which also included five no balls. Huddleston came back strongly later in the week though, taking 1/21 as her team beat the Loughborough Lightning XI by five wickets.

Further north, Amy Satterthwaite top-scored with 28 as the Lancashire Thunder went down to the Yorkshire Diamonds by 28 runs.

Finally this week, congratulations to Iain Laxon who has been appointed CEO of Auckland Cricket.  Iain has served a lengthy apprenticeship, filling a variety of positions over his time at Eden Park, and his elevation is well-deserved: Auckland Cricket is in good hands as the new season looms just over the horizon…