Irish fans celebrate their team’s early success against the West Indies at Saxton Oval on Monday. Insert: Local boys Jude Richmond, left, Luke Zillwood, centre, and Damon Zillwood wait for their chance to grab some autographs. Photos: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

World Cup arrives

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The Cricket World Cup has arrived in Nelson and locals are embracing it wholeheartedly.

The first ever ICC Cricket World Cup game to be played in Nelson went off without a hitch yesterday at Saxton Oval.

A capacity crowd got right in the spirit with plenty of Irish and West Indies support seen on the embankment.

Nelson Cricket Association chairman, Dave Leonard, says it was a perfect day for the big game. “It’s pretty amazing. The ground looks unbelievable and I’m sure it looked great on TV, which is good for Nelson.”

Dave says he was playing first class cricket for Central Districts when the 1992 world Cup was held in New Zealand and Australia and the thought that it would come to Nelson one day was “quite unbelievable”.

“It goes to show all the hard work from so many people. People at the councils, with Nelson Cricket and other organisations, and I hope there’s a lot of people feeling pretty proud today of the input they’ve had in getting these games here.”

The world cup action started on Trafalgar St on Saturday. The main street’s paved area was packed with cricket fans as they celebrated the beginning of the world cup street-festival style.

The fanzone featured a giant screen at the bottom of the church steps where people could sit and watch the Blackcaps take on Sri Lanka in a game beamed live from Christchurch.

Nelson cricket fan Andy Kenton says he had been leaning up against various lamp posts watching the game for most of the afternoon.

“I got here right around when New Zealand started to collapse a little, they dropped a couple of wickets as soon as I grabbed my first beer.”

On Sunday, Trafalgar Park hosted a Guinness world record attempt for the most people standing on one leg.

The record, held by Tesco in the UK, is 2276 people, but unfortunately only 253 people turned up to the Nelson event.

World Cup volunteer Rose Rowe has a theory as to why the numbers were not as high as expected.

“I think the poor turnout is due to the fact there were so many other events on this weekend,” she says.

Standing on one leg, or “doing the Nelson”, is a tradition during cricket to mitigate a score of 111 until the score moves on. “111” is thought to refer to lord Nelson’s three lost appendages. His arm, his eye and his unknown mythical third.

Saxton Oval will play host to two more world cup games over the next few weeks. The first of which is Zimbabwe verses the United Arab Emirates this Thursday, February 19.

The final Nelson game will be played between Bangladesh and Scotland on March 5. For tickets to each of the games call 0508 292 2015 or visit www.cricketworld cup.com/tickets