All Whites Qualify for World Cup

November 18, 2009 at 3:04 am | Posted in Sporting Event | Leave a comment
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I don’t normally go to large gatherings of people, but I went to see New Zealand play Bahrain for a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, last Saturday night, at the Westpac Stadium, in Wellington.

November 14, 2009 by

Soccer Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

Having drawn 0-0 in the away leg, New Zealand needed to win this game. Bahrain, due to the away goal rule, could settle for a draw.

The Westpac Stadium was sold out; the crowd numbered 35,194 – the biggest crowd for a soccer match in New Zealand. There were maybe 500 Bahraini supporters – a quite clump of red in an otherwise all white stadium. The New Zealand fans had heeded the call and had all turned up in white to support their team – popularly known as the All Whites. The crowd had two volumes: loud and very loud.

Bahrain made much of the early minutes, forcing some tentative looking saves from the New Zealand goalkeeper. But then the All Whites took control of the game, and Baharain weathered attack after attack. The crowd sensed that a goal would come. Especially when Chris Killen’s no-look turning volley beat the Bharaini goalkeeper and struck the crossbar. Rory Fallon was denied by a great piece of keeping: the goalkeeper, Sayed Jaffar, going right managed to throw out his left hand and punch out the header. Finally, in the 45 minute, Rory Fallon put in a superb header.

Bahrain came out in a more attacking mode in the second half, but after a Mark Paston penalty save in the 52 minute, the game started to slip away from Bahrain. Baharain continued to make flashing raids into the All Whites’ penalty box, but the New Zealand defence kept them out. The crowd went wild when the whistle went for full-time. The All Whites did a lap around the stadium, to thank the fans, to a well deserved standing ovation.

From a New Zealand perspective it was the perfect result.

Objectively, it was a good game to watch; especially in the second half when Bahrain attacked more.

Bahrain did not get much of a look-in in the first half. The All White defended well, not giving the more nimble Bahrainis much time or room on the ball. Ryan Nelsen, the All Whites captain, did a superb job directing the defence.

Bahrain attacked more in the second half, but did not trouble Paston; all the while the crowd chant “White White” and the All Whites continued to press.

The All Whites were patient when in pocession, building up from the back, and lobbing the ball deep up field to find Fallon, Smeltz or Killen. Bahrain always looked dangerous with the ball at their feet, but did not create many chances; and certainly did not capitalise on the ones that they were able to create.

The All Whites decision to play three strikers played off. The all Whites were able to play attacking football for around 65 minutes. With only 7 minutes left in the game, Ricki Herbet, the All Whites coach, took Chris Killen off, and put Chris Woods on – striker for striker.

Chris Wood is a player who looks like he is going places: he is only 17, yet is as big as Rory Fallon, with some useful ball skills – he is strong in the air and can beat defenders with the ball.

Now New Zealand has an even bigger job – preparing for the biggest tournement in the world. They weill want to give a good account of themselves.



Peter Pan

November 2, 2009 at 2:57 am | Posted in Ballet Review | Leave a comment
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I went to a performance of Peter Pan put on by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Warning: plot revealed.

October 31, 2009 by Show_Hanger

I went to see the the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2009 production of Peter Pan, at the St James, in Wellington; they have made some changes since I last saw it in 2004.

There were lots of children in the audience, and one little girl even gave a big cheer part way through! There were even boys in the audience.

Alessia Lugoboni, was wonderful in the part of Wendy; she was by turns a light little girl; and a girl on the verge of womanhood (she mothers the Lost Boys and unknowlingly gets into a three way tustle for Peter’s affection).

Sir Jon Trimmer seems to have found a fifth or sixth wind; his portrayl of Captain Hook was brilliant – better than when he last danced it. He even did a little Michael Flattery sequence when he thinks he has won – poisoned Peter, and about to make the Lost Boys, Wendy and her Brothers, walk the plank

Rory Fairweather-Neylan danced Peter, bringing energy and boyish charm to the part.

The fly-out-the-window sequences have rally come along since 2004; it really does seem like they are flyiong out the window and climbling up towards the “Star on the right.” In terms of flying, the additional use of projection really gives a sense of flying to and from Neverland.
But, the Company should ditch the dummies on poles. This is the 21st century, and they should either be bold enough and put in aerial dance trained dancers; or just let the dancers dance – afterall Swan Lake is able to carry off the swans swimming on a lake without recourse to painted decoy ducks pulled by ropes.

I really liked the end of the Second Act, when Peter and Tinkerbell danced together. It wasn’t quite a pas de deux, but the nature of their relationship is explored and exposed.

Catherine Eddy took on the challenging role of Tinkerbell; Tink, must be light (she is a fairy after all), fun loving (that is why she is jealous of Wendy – because she sees that Peter will ave fun with the latter rather than with her), impulsive (short the girl-monster boys!), and given to displays of emotion (fist pummeling empty air and the odd swipe at the Lost Boys and Peter). The displays of anger and frustration seemed out of place in a fairy; aren’t they
suppose to be happy creatures – isn’t that why clapping revives them? Hopefully the choreograper gives Tink some other motif next time.

Lucy Balfour made the most of her Tiger Lily role.

Abigail Boyle gave a delightful protrayal of the Neverbird, who rescues Peter from the rock; her wonderful costume was very eye catching.

The costumes were great. The pirates have been spruced down, and now look like the crew from “Pirates of the Caribean” – I swear that there is a Johnny Depp look-a-like! The Lost Boys look like playful squirrils – lots of rolling around on the ground in their furry costumes!!

Paul Matthews makes the most of sequences as Mr Darling: with some funny ‘do as I say, and not what do as I do’ parenting at the beginning of Act I.

All-in-all quite enjoyable.

The music was clever; each group got a separate tune; the Darlings/Family got the best – it sounded like a variation of the Kermit-the-frog’s dream song.


Roll on 2010 and Carmen!

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