The first test was in Tauranga with lovely scenic views of Mount Maunganui it was a beautiful setting for a match – the first to be played at Tauranga. It was played on a wicket very different to anything I’ve ever seen, it was very flat and dry and it should have been a draw but a combination of the Blackcaps bowing in the right areas and poor shot selection once again proved to be England’s downfall.
We next headed to Rotorua for a couple of nights, the first day was taken up by a gondola cable car ride and the continued competition from Queenstown on the luge. One of the most exciting and fun things we have ever done – after a hard fought battle I eventually beat Bruce aka Coco 8-3 to win the much coveted Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Cup!!
The evening followed with a lovely meal for 8 of us.
The following day was taken up by a visit to a Maori village and horse racing at the local track right next to our hotel. The only thing to note from that was a horse which bolted – It went through a fence and ran straight down the main road with any jockey chasing behind ! How he didn’t get hurt is beyond me as it was three lanes of traffic!
The second test match in Hamilton came and went with rain coming on Day 5 so it ended in a draw, New Zealand deservedly taking the series 1-0. Seems to be a theme on tour with the test team but at least some new players were tried out who will probably see in South Africa.
At this point I would like to thank all those who travelled on the New Zealand tour, I throughly enjoyed the banter and the fun we had especially in Queenstown. It is my favourite place and would highly recommend.
Once finished I travelled to Melbourne for a weeks holiday and managed to get really great seats at an Elton John concert on 2 nights before traveling to South Africa on a 7 Day familiarisation trip. Visited all my haunts and got the washing done in the comfort of my 54th floor apartment with spectacular views over the city.
A long flight from Melbourne to Perth first and then an even longer flight to Johannesburg where I landed at 0430 and hit the ground running, I was at The Wanderers for breakfast, inspection of the stand and hotel and then headed off to Centurion – Super Sport Park the first test venue this time. I visited The Davinci in Sandton and Fire and Ice at Melrose Arch before flying off to East London the next day. Not much to report here a small town really that is lucky to get an England game.
Next day we drove to the Eastern Cape to inspect Port Elizabeth ground, Villa Tucana, Radisson Blue and the Kelway taking in as many places of interest as I could along with restaurants & pubs/breweries for all to enjoy on the Test & ODI tour! Then finally heading of on safari at Kuzuko Lodge, I had an amazing time! We have a huge number of you trying out a safari this year in many different lodges so I couldn’t visit them all. I have lots of tips to share with you which should mean an even better experience. Those of you at Kuzuko rest assured you will be well looked after by the manager and his team.
See you all in South Africa