The ducks were out for the cricket in Dunedin yesterday. The
10.30am start of the first test between New Zealand and
England was initially delayed because of bad light.
Then, at 10.52am, down came a long delivery of rain. By the
time it was over, so was the first day's play at the
It also marked the end of Dunedin's golden summer - the last
substantial rainfall in the city was 23mm on February 4.
Expatriate Englishman Steve Walker, of Port Chalmers, was one
of many to grizzle in the drizzle.
''I can't believe the irony. I was watering the garden last
night,'' he said.
''We've just had two months of sunshine and, on the first day
of the test, we get this.''
Most fans were reluctantly trudging away from the oval by
English fans Kevin and Annie Minton, of East Anglia, were on
their first visit to New Zealand after retiring last year.
''This is a shame, but there's still four days left,'' Mrs
Minton said, while her husband talked up England's prospects.
''I'm very confident. Absolutely. Against you lot? This is
proper cricket,'' he scoffed.
The weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the Barmy
Army. The oval was ringed with their traditional banners of
lower-league football clubs, but the persistent rain soon had
the flags looking as though someone hadn't got the washing
Several members retreated to their ''official'' base - at the
Terrace Bar in the Octagon - where they sat drinking lager,
watching reruns of old cricket matches and wondering how they
travelled so far only to end up back at home.
New Zealand cricket fans Zak and Helen Peacock travelled from
Taumarunui for the match.
''My husband said cricket is a drought-breaker. He was
right,'' Mrs Peacock said with a sigh.
There were still about 100 fans at the oval when umpires Asad
Rauf and Paul Reiffel abandoned play for the day at 4.15pm.
Day ticket-holders are entitled to full refunds if fewer than
10 overs are played in a day and no result occurs.
The test is scheduled to resume at 10am today. MetService
predicts a clear, sunny day.