05 February, 2014

What are you doing out here by Norman Harris [Anne, Helensville]

I thought it an appropriate date to review this little treasure I came across recently. 

With the first New Zealand v India cricket test about to start, it is worthwhile to remember the heroes of our sporting past, not to mention tales of prowess and doggedness. There aren’t many stories that resonate more than the Johannesburg test, Christmas 1953.

Yes, New Zealand lost the test by 132 runs, collapsing in both innings.

Yes, Bert Sutcliffe’s innings is one for the record books – powerful hitting while covered in bandages, thanks to the South African bowling attack – attack, quite literally!

But, it is the low-scoring cameo of fast-bowler Bob Blair that raises this test innings to legendary status. He faced 7 balls for his 6 runs. Yes, his 6 may have been massive. But the fact he was on the park at all is something to marvel at.

Bob’s morning had started early at 4am, with the arrival of a telegram telling him his fiancée Nerissa was one of the fatalities of the Tangiwai Rail Disaster.

This is the tale of the disaster and the test. It is simply written, but powerful for that. The facts are enough. 

This book may be tiny – less than 60 pages of text – but I challenge you to read it without teary eyes.

Read and remember why sport – cricket in particular – is so much a part of the New Zealand psyche. 

~ Anne.

Author: Norman Harris, with a foreword by Bob Blair 
Publisher: Last Side 
Publication year: 2010 
ISBN: 9780473163310 

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