We had some very honest conversations following the February Earthquakes.
Our Canterbury Cricket season had been going pretty poorly. We were sitting last in the Plunket Shield, and then when the quakes struck it seemed like the easy option was to just throw the towel in and call the season early. Just accept that things were tough and give people the space to sort themselves out without the added burden of cricket.
With all the talk swirling around, a meeting was called. Surprisingly we voted unanimously to keep going and it turned out to be the best decision we could have made.
Somehow, we turned it around, winning the next 5 in a row and taking out the Plunket Shield.
It was crazy really. Lancaster Park was gone so we ended up playing all our home games out at Rangiora, which continued for a few seasons after.
I was fortunate enough to not have any real damage out home or know anyone that was physically harmed in the quake, but some of our team were close to people who had died. People were dealing with all sorts of things; they didn’t have running water in their houses, they couldn’t flush the toilet, they couldn’t have a shower. But they were turning up to cricket each day and somehow, we managed to get on a bit of a roll and when I look back now it was pretty amazing what we did.
I think cricket probably became a bit of an escape for some of the guys, they could actually have a shower at cricket and flush the toilet and all those little things that you take for granted.
There was one incident that still really sticks in my memory, it was during a break and we were reviewing a session and Shannan Stewart made the comment why are we getting so upset about something that’s happened on the cricket field in the last hour and a half? When he was having to go home to his partner and two kids and they can’t have a shower, and they have to take a bucket around the back of the house to go to the toilet – that sort of thing. He got his point across in kind of a funny way, even though it was a serious conversation, and it was little things that made you take a step back and think, shit, it could have been a lot worse.
100 instead of a seat in the stands
If I got really nervous before I went out to bat, that was a good thing.
If I wasn’t nervous I generally didn’t have too much success that day. I soon got used to the fact that nerves were a good thing and I needed them to perform well. I just needed to control them, so they didn’t end up getting in the way.
Which was slightly ironic, because the day I scored my first one day ton for New Zealand, I don’t think I even had time to get nervous.
John Bracewell had come up to me the morning of the Game and said, we are going to give Jamie How a game this time, so you’re not going to play.
I’d had a bit of success against Sri Lanka in that series, so I was pretty gutted. My Dad and a few friends had come up to Napier for the game, and we also have family up there, which added to the disappointment.
Then about 5 minutes before the toss Stephen Fleming came up to me and said, ‘’has Bracey (coach John Bracewell) spoken to you?” I was like ‘’yeah yeah, he said I’m not playing.’’
He then responded, ‘’nah, nah, there’s been a change of plans, so you are playing!’’
From memory, we were chasing about 260, so I didn’t get too caught up in trying to get a hundred, but I got there, run out on 112; it was pretty special. My old man was there and my family too. It was the end of the series, so in those days you probably celebrated the end of a series a bit more than they do now.
Going to the gym became compulsory
It’s pretty eyewatering now seeing how much training and off the field commitment there is in cricket today. It certainly wasn’t like that when I started.
Soon after I’d made the Canterbury team it became compulsory to go to the gym. Some of the guys were already going but when it first became compulsory, we were all given gym memberships as part of our contracts. And some of the guys would literally turn up, swipe their key card, have a yarn to someone for 5 minutes and then walk out again, just to say that they’ve been!
A lot of those guys didn’t continue to play too long after that because it was like, this wasn’t really what I signed up for.
Since then, seeing guys like Tom Latham come through, starting in 2009 and be our 12th man in Queenstown when he was still at school, then Matt Henry and Henry Nicholls etc come through and work hard for Canterbury and New Zealand. That says a lot about them and people who’ve worked hard behind the scenes for Canterbury alongside those guys.
That gives me great hope that Canterbury Cricket will continue to prosper well into the future too.