Players hit the ground as a swarm of bees fly overhead during the opening day of the Plunket Shield match between Wellington and Canterbury at the Basin Reserve.
Wellington might be known for The Beehive, but it was a swarm of bees who took centre stage at the Basin Reserve on Sunday.
Comical scenes were witnessed at the city’s famed cricket venue on the opening day of the Plunket Shield match between Wellington and Canterbury. It capped off a drama-filled day, where 18 wickets fell with Canterbury dismissed for 156 and Wellington 102-8 in reply, trailing by 54 runs.
Play was briefly halted in the 22nd over after a swarm of bees got close to the action, sending the players and umpires scrambling for cover.
Bees interrupting cricket matches occasionally happens in the subcontinent, but it is believed to be unprecedented in New Zealand domestic cricket.
Wellington coach Glenn Pocknall was initially caught by surprise watching from the sideline.
“It was definitely a first [for me]. I was on the other side of the ground with [batting coach] Doug Watson and we saw everyone drop and we weren’t really sure what was going on.
“After 30 or 40 seconds between us we figured out there were some bees out there floating around. It’s nothing I’ve ever seen at the Basin, which is bizarre.”
Plunket Shield leaders Canterbury started promisingly with the bat after being sent in.
Openers Chad Bowes and Ken McClure combined for a 86-run first wicket stand and were both in the middle when the bees caused a buzz.
A horrible mix-up saw both batsmen at the same end and Bowes run out for 59 when there should have been a comfortable two.
Bowes’ departure triggered a Canterbury collapse with the defending champions losing their next nine wickets for 70 runs to be dismissed for 156.
“I don’t know if the bees had an influence on the 10 wickets or the momentum changing, but it would be a funny storyline if they did,” Pocknall said.
After struggling to make inroads with the ball in the first session, Wellington delivered a disciplined bowling performance with Michael Snedden (3-28) and Ben Sears (3-40) leading the way.
Wellington undid that pleasing work with Canterbury pace bowlers Matt Henry, Henry Shipley, and Ed Nuttall causing problems.
The Firebirds were 102-8 at stumps on day one with opener Jakob Bhula (29) the lone batter to get past 20.
Shipley was impressive with 3-7 from five overs, while Black Cap Henry was also threatening, snaring 3-47 from 14 overs.
In the other round three match in Nelson, a second first-class century from Otago’s Dale Phillips, the younger brother of Black Cap Glenn Phillips, was the highlight of day one.
Phillips anchored Otago’s first innings total of 244 with 113 from 209 balls, hitting 14 fours.
Travis Muller provided handy late order runs for the Volts, chipping in with an unbeaten 41.
Doug Bracewell was the most menacing of the Stags’ bowlers, capturing 4-53 from 19 overs, including the wicket of Phillips, who was struck in front.
Central were 21-0 at the close of play, trailing by 223 runs.
AT A GLANCE:
Plunket Shield round three:
At Basin Reserve, Wellington: Canterbury 156 (Chad Bowes 59, Ken McClure 34; Michael Snedden 3-28, Ben Sears 3-40) met Wellington 102-8 (Jakob Bhula 29; Henry Shipley 3-7, Matt Henry 3-47, Ed Nuttall 2-19).
At Saxton Oval, Nelson: Otago 244 (Dale Phillips 113, Travis Muller 41no, Max Chu 31; Doug Bracewell 4-53, Blair Tickner 2-33) met Central 21-0.