The city of Christchurch has had a rugged time over the last 6 years with several earthquakes and many aftershocks. Visitors to the city could see the evidence of that in broken buildings surrounded by scaffolding and vacant plots from which buildings had been demolished.
185 chairs in the city centre commemorating the 185 who died in the 2011 earthquake
However the weather Gods smiled upon the organisers of the January 2017 IFCR World Festival – all 5 days were blessed with blue skies, comfortable temperatures and no rain.
The usual Sunday opening function and Friday closing dinner took place at the Chateau on the Park hotel while Wednesday evening was the time when we visited Christchurch casino for dinner and an auction of donated items under auctioneer and former NZ Test cricketer Bryan Andrews.
Cricket games took place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday a rest and cultural day.
Players, partners, umpires and some non-players made up a total of 170 participants in the festival and were accommodated in 4 separate hotels. Countries represented were India (4 teams), Sri Lanka (1 team), Australia (3 teams), New Zealand, Great Britain and Bangladesh (2 teams between them).
Pre game lineup of Aussie O! O! O! and India Masters
Five games each day were played in good spirit on 4 synthetic fields and one turf field. Thursday’s games were played on out-of-town grounds while the other days’ games were all played in Hagley Park. (The final day of the Bangladesh Test match took place adjacent to our turf game).
Thursday January 26 had particular importance for the Indian and Australian teams being Republic Day and also Australia Day. To mark the occasion the two national anthems were sung by the players in those games featuring both India and Australia.
Spectacular catches were taken, many players reached the 35 run target batting and many mistakes were made but the performance of veteran David Horsley in taking 5 wickets for 11 runs in a handful of overs stood out. David started his final over having taken two wickets. The rule for bowlers is that they may conclude the over in which the 3rd wicket is taken. David managed three wickets in his final over.
David receives the match ball signed by the umpires after his wicket-taking feat.
The AGM on Wednesday afternoon saw Bob Brigden take over as world chairman and Sarathy become world secretary.
Organisation of the festival was in the hands of Rtn. Neil Blanchfield (chairman) and his team.