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Collegians Falconhawk(e)

Catches Mean Victory

Book by Boock Delivers Comfortable Mid-Range Heat - The Fujitsu Heat Pump Book of the Week.

Stephen Fleming: Balance of Power (2004) - The Wightman Review. 

Biography of Fleming’s international career, up until the end of the tour of England in 2004. Actually somewhere between a biography and an auto-biography, with sports journalist Boock contributing the majority of the texts with occasional input from Fleming. Fleming’s contributions are occasionally helpful, but he tends to repeat what has been written before, and his prose is cliche ridden, with linguistic gems such as “He’d been there and done that, sort of thing” (p74). Boock himself is no literary master, regaling us with “The inclusion of Plummer in the management team was another case of Turner almost getting it right, but still missing the target by a wide margin”. (p114)

We are provided with insight into Fleming’s captaincy style, which can be summarised as well-prepared, flexible and pragmatic. His players should be allowed to be themselves, to go out on the town occasionally, to sledge, if that improves their overall performance. He learns more about captaincy the more he does it, naturally, and gradually prefers a method where everyone in the team is responsible for research, preparation, tactics, input - they are all captains to a degree, just that Fleming has the final say. 

There are also technical discussions, such as whether a batsman’s first movement should be back or forward, and whether a batsman should play around his front pad. The final answer is that there is no answer, it must be dependent on the circumstances.

Fleming has high opinions of Rixon, Trist, Aberhart and Bracewell, and a mixed opinion of Turner - enjoying his tactics but not his management style. “Fleming considered the move to appoint Germon to the position (of captain) before he’d even played a test be risky to the point of recklessness”. (p115)

To the book’s great credit, it is told in chapters that have a theme, rather than the usual (mostly dreadful) chronological trudge of cricket biographies. Although within these chapters, the changes of subject are frequently jarring. A little more editing and fact-checking would have helped, but not bad overall. A LOT better than recent efforts from Vettori and Astle. A bit of a shame we don’t get to read about the 2007 shambles over Fleming losing the test captaincy.

Fujitsu Heat Pump Literary Moisture Scale Rating - Moist-to-Wet-Medium-Tepid. (Low - Cool Dry / High - Hot-Damp-Dry-Moist)

The Great Bird today celebrates a major event for New Zealand Marriage Equality. Clearly seen here enjoying proceedings in the house is Falconhawk(e) second slip specialist and only member of Falconhawk(e) to have his vehicle emblazoned with his own face , Mr K.Faafoi MP. Appearing relaxed in his preferred catching position Faafoi did his part when the ball came his way, delivering a powerful speech in favour of a positive change. Political analyst N.Clark commented from his Karori office ‘Faafoi’s speech last night has helped ensure that any Ferrari who wants to marry another Ferrari may now do so, with the support of the state, let’s have a BBQ’. 

The Great Bird today celebrates a major event for New Zealand Marriage Equality. Clearly seen here enjoying proceedings in the house is Falconhawk(e) second slip specialist and only member of Falconhawk(e) to have his vehicle emblazoned with his own face , Mr K.Faafoi MP. Appearing relaxed in his preferred catching position Faafoi did his part when the ball came his way, delivering a powerful speech in favour of a positive change. Political analyst N.Clark commented from his Karori office ‘Faafoi’s speech last night has helped ensure that any Ferrari who wants to marry another Ferrari may now do so, with the support of the state, let’s have a BBQ’. 

Coventry Back Amongst Runs - MP makes debut - Too many barracks, says expert

Falconhawk(e) 196 - Johnsonville 134/5.5 - Adrian ‘Wighthawke’ Wiensteiger reports.

The Endless Summer continued and FalconHawk(e) found eleven men this time.  Ngati Toa Domain saw the first day of Falconhawk(e) versus Johnsonville.  Batting on a good pitch, we failed to take full advantage, and fell to 110/8.  Conrad hit his first ball for Falconhawk(e) to the boundary. He hit his fourth straight up in the air. 

David Coventry, having retired several times this season already, has struggled to find his pre-retirement form.  Little came off the middle of the bat in the early stages of his innings, but he used his new found trim and fitness to take five quick singles, doubling his career tally.  One such single, so shocked Jon Duffy that he was run out.  Having the elegant Raj Nahna as partner for the ninth wicket seemed to assist Coventry’s timing and soon balls were approaching the middle of the bat before approaching the extremities of the field.  And he was only dropped three times, in making 61. 

Falconhawk(e) welcomes Member of Parliament Kris Faafoi to the fold, and I understand I receive $10.00 if I spelt him right.  Naturally he batted at No 11 and ran out (former) friend Raj Nahna.

Johnsonville No. 3 batsman Don T. Walk edged Duffy to Short but didn’t walk, arguing that “I am not the umpire”.  He proceeded to make the worst half century I have seen recently, balls flying in the air but not to hand.  He opined that there are “too many barracks put up by English Kants”.  Duffy indicated that his “schadenfreude is maxed out” posing the question ’Is it sledging if the opposition doesn’t understand?’ 

It has been my considered opinion for several years that slips are a waste of fielders.  It is nearly impossible to catch anything there, especially when the wicket keeper dives across in front of you.  I estimate that we take one catch a season in the slips.  Mark Slee-Man took a fine one there earlier this season, parrying the ball into the air then diving to reclaim it.  But that was in a 20-20 match so clearly doesn’t count.  Such was my thinking when Short called me into first slip against Duffy.  Eventually the ball flew up to my right.  My instinct is quicker than my scepticism and I dived high, to my right, and perhaps slightly behind me.  The ball stuck in the palm and to my surprise didn’t fall out.  Nick Clark couldn’t believe it, stunned that I’d caught anything after I’d dropped catches off him in successive matches.

Conrad took a catch at slip too.  He didn’t show-boat, though.

Mark ‘Finish Him' Sleeman is congratulated by O.Mann mid-pitch having reached the elusive triple figure accolade. The Great Bird views proceedings from on-high.   

Mark ‘Finish Him' Sleeman is congratulated by O.Mann mid-pitch having reached the elusive triple figure accolade. The Great Bird views proceedings from on-high.   

Great Bird International Scores Chance-less Hundred, Defence Force Impressed.

Falconhawk(e) vs Sikhs Sports Club, Kura Park Titahi Bay, Feb 16 2013.

FH 244/10        SSC 241/10

Day One of Two. - Adrian Wiensteiger reports. 

Kura Park was a pleasant little ground on a sunny day, we had a dog (Rata) but the boundaries were short. After the loss of early wickets, Slee-man decided that the pitch was tricky enough that attack was the only option.  Mark had been playing cricket most of the week for the Air Force so his eye was in.  He launched a blistering attack, smashing the spinners straight and hooking the medium pacers square.

Owen held on grimly and gratefully at the other end, his run of good scores continuing.  I am delighted to report that Mark made it to a century, his first in any cricket.  And it was genuinely chance-less.

That is not to say that it was without considerable good fortune.  At around 80, Mark decided that everything had to go and for four or five consecutive deliveries the ball travelled in the air perilously close to fielders.  Long on, I felt, could have attacked the ball more and caught him, but no chance went to hand.  The ball was tucked neatly to the backward square leg boundary and Mark jumped down the wicket in excitement at his hundred.  News of his feat spread quickly and he was rushed into the NZ Defence Force squad for their big match against Wanganui next day.

The Sikhs innings followed a similar pattern with early wickets but the middle order found the bowling and the pitch to their liking and reaped reward.  Auden Shirt got wickets with consecutive pies to bring us back into the match and further quick late wickets allowed us a slender lead.

To celebrate Falconhawk(e) default for day two.

Where are they now? Easy E. Keddell.

Petone, New Zealand.

An Axe to Grind

Witness the Falcon-Chordsmanship of one D.Coventry as he punches your soul in the face with a grunge sprinkled bag of noise rocks. Filmed last millennium in glorious sweat-o-vision on Sony Handycam this swirly snapshot of Stax Bar Wellington, circa 1994, offers an insight into the dark forces that align like the four horseman every time ‘Cov' clubs a medium-pacer eight metres deep into the gorse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUx4LztXfqI  

1 year ago
Unidentified United States Marines at lunch, Anderson Park, Thorndon, Wellington, 26 January, 1943. Photograph taken by John Pascoe.

When war broke out in 1939 Thorndon, along with the rest of New Zealand, prepared for invasion. Parliament grounds and the sides of the gully under the Hobson Street Bridge (now the motorway) were excavated for air raid shelters.
In the event, the invasion that Wellington experienced was an American one. As the war spread into the Pacific, the decision was made to send United States Marines to New Zealand to strengthen its defences.
The USS Wakefield arrived in Wellington harbour on 14 June 1942. The Cecil Hotel on the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay was commandeered as a club for United States Marines. This 1943 photograph shows US Marines having lunch in their barracks at Anderson Park, which was been converted to a camp and hospital for the Americans’ use. During these years Wingate Street (now vanished under the courtyards to the side of the National Library) was noted for its ‘houses of ill repute’.

Unidentified United States Marines at lunch, Anderson Park, Thorndon, Wellington, 26 January, 1943. Photograph taken by John Pascoe.


When war broke out in 1939 Thorndon, along with the rest of New Zealand, prepared for invasion. Parliament grounds and the sides of the gully under the Hobson Street Bridge (now the motorway) were excavated for air raid shelters.

In the event, the invasion that Wellington experienced was an American one. As the war spread into the Pacific, the decision was made to send United States Marines to New Zealand to strengthen its defences.

The USS Wakefield arrived in Wellington harbour on 14 June 1942. The Cecil Hotel on the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay was commandeered as a club for United States Marines. This 1943 photograph shows US Marines having lunch in their barracks at Anderson Park, which was been converted to a camp and hospital for the Americans’ use. During these years Wingate Street (now vanished under the courtyards to the side of the National Library) was noted for its ‘houses of ill repute’.

Wightman on Wellings.

Dexter v Benaud: M.C.C. Tour Australia 1962-3

By E.M.Wellings - 1963

Wellings writes in detail of the tour by the English cricket side (always in those years called Marylebone Cricket Club - or MCC) of Australia.  Reading this in 2012, one is compelled to compare the game then to the game now.  The most glaring difference is the absence of limited overs cricket (not least 20/20 cricket).  Other differences include:

The large number of first class matches on the tour outside the tests - MCC played six first class matches before the first test and ten in total outside the tests.  These days it is not uncommon for a touring side to play no first class matches outside the tests.  Beyond the first class matches, MCC played twelve “minor” matches - one or two day matches (but not limited overs) against Victorian Country XI and Western New South Wales and the like. 

The over rates are much quicker - Wellings berates MCC for averaging 101 balls an hour over the first four tests - in the last test they manage 120 balls an hour in the first innings and 144 in the second.  In the late 20th century and early 21st, the official target is 90 balls an hour, and this is irregularly achieved.

Wellings complains frequently that the play is not exciting enough, that the batting is too drab, the field placements too defensive.  This sort of complaint would be heard often enough in the following two decades, before finally the aggressive batting necessary in limited overs cricket broke into test cricket in the 1990s.  

When I was a boy in the 1980s I was given an encyclopedia of the history of cricket, and included in this tome were profiles of the greatest of all time players - about 80 in all.  Of these, seven featured in the 1962/63 series - Barrington, Cowdrey, Dexter and Trueman for England, and Benaud, Davidson and McKenzie for Australia.  A glorious series, one would think, should have taken place.  Yet Wellings spares none of the above for criticism, except for Barrington, who batted throughout the series in an attractive manner to make 582 runs at 72.75.  McKenzie, still young during this series, is well liked by Wellings as a fast bowler of the future - he took 20 wickets at 30.95 - although Davidson’s series figures were better.

He has little time for the captains - Benaud and Dexter, who he criticises of giving an endless stream of TV interviews saying what splendid cricket they will play, only to play lugubriously for draws.

How would Wellings like today’s cricket?  He would loathe the increasingly slow over rates, and deplore the celebrity status of cricketers, particularly say in India.  But I hope he should enjoy the increasingly assertive batsmen, even in test cricket, and the resurgence of spin bowling.

Players Past - US Edition

Sand Haidon

SandHawke was, in many ways, the very epitome of FalconHawk(e)’s spirit. Sand was a North American man with absolutely no background in cricket. None. Zero. Apparently a background in sport, or “track”, but lacking heavily in exposure to cricket. But what Sand lacked in knowledge, experience, and ability he made up for in enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge. He spent every moment he could at games drinking in tips from other Falcon-Members. He watched, he learnt. It was this passion that led Sand to take a wicket, score a run, and hold a catch. A magic feeling. Not just for SandHawke but for all members of FalconHawk(e). 

Pointy-Headed Hour

A Poem

There will be a perfect planet
Only when the Game shall enter
Every county, teaching millions
How to ask for Leg or Centre.
Closely heed a level-headed
Sportsman far too grave to banter:
When the cricket bags are opened
Doves of Peace fly forth instanter!

Norman Gale - Aaaark.

Ice-Cream Headache

Leisurely with the ball, enigmatic with the bat, Alex’s laid back style of cricket was a welcome addition to the 2011/12 Falconhawk(e) squad. A school friend and team-mate of Andrew Godhawke, Alex expressed an interest to return to the cricket field after an extended absence. Being of a similar intellectual and philosophical bent to the socialist-cricketing mindset of the team he integrated with ease and proceeded to provide valuable contributions in all forms of the game.

When occupying the crease Alex has the potential to score many runs, though he does not always allow himself the fullest opportunity to do so. A curious tendency to attempt a guide to third man from somewhere-around-leg results sometimes in runs and sometimes with his wickets realigned. His in-swingers, delivered at a pace that can only – and were, from long on, by his marginally faster school mate – be described as “glacial” led to a promising nickname during his début season… The Glaciator. Indeed, it was so promising that it stuck like a tongue to a frosted surface. Julio I-Glacias did too, much to Julio’s distaste. Other ice related epithets were to follow.

Despite, or perhaps with the aid of that lack-of-pace combined with the swing and accuracy of those icy, slowly-retreating deliveries proved to be highly effective following on from the big rigs. Like frostbite, Alex’s bowling is an inevitably slow and painful end to the innings for batsman after batsman as they throw their heads in the air seeking to dispatch the wintery, practically retreating deliveries back to whence they came. Alex finished the 2011/12 season by demolishing Karori on their own turf with an astonishing 6 – 20 and backed it up during the first game of the 2012/13 season with 5 – 16. In a team becoming increasingly full of Ferraris the question was invariably posed “Who needs Ferraris when you have Alex “mobility scooter” Braae trundling his Glacial offerings to the wicket market where he proceeds to profit wildly?” Regardless, when this permafrost merchant steps up to bowl the quiet murmur of the Stark words begins… Winter is coming.

Ladyhawk(e) - Name this hatchling and future pace bowler standing here with his dolly?

Ladyhawk(e) - Name this hatchling and future pace bowler standing here with his dolly?

An instructional image commissioned by The Great Bird to be displayed in the homes of young Falcon-fathers, intended to provide hatchlings with the core fundamentals of The Gentleman’s Game.

An instructional image commissioned by The Great Bird to be displayed in the homes of young Falcon-fathers, intended to provide hatchlings with the core fundamentals of The Gentleman’s Game.