Blog| 9 March 2011 | Cricket in Welllington

When I was a kid in the north of England, there was a cricket field at the bottom of our back garden. The summer highlight was the all-day charity match between teams of local and national stars: Jack Ikin, Wally Hammond, Hutton and Washbrook. I used to help out with the collecting bucket. For the rest of the season I was scorer for the 2nd Eleven. (12p per afternoon).

So I hope I am reasonably qualified for my responsibilities this Sunday, when I am billed as "referee" at the Reserve Basin cricket ground in Wellington. It is one of many upcoming events to raise badly needed funds for stricken Christchurch residents.

The captains of the Wellington and Christchurch teams are Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming and, I hope, perfectly capable of managing without a referee! That would leave me a chance to meet up with Russell, Martin Crowe's distinguished cousin and trainer and I suppose help Sir Richard Hadlee with the collecting bucket.

Martin Freeman and Mark Hadlow will be in the rotating team of umpires: the hobbit, a dwarf and a wizard.  I shall not, though, be wearing a pointy blue hat but a new Panama made for me by the estimable Hill's Hatters of Lower Hutt.

Stephen Fleming says: "This match is shaping up to be the event of the year. Come on Wellington, let's Fill the Basin and help show our support for Canterbury." Adults $20, Child $10, Family $40 (2 adults, 2 children). Gates open 10.30am with a curtain-raiser 'Kids on the Basin' and pre-match entertainment. The main event starts at 4pm Sunday 13 March.

See you there.

Ps It's just been announced that another dwarf, the Chancellor of the University of Ulster, will be trainer for the Wellington side.

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