‘We saw everyone drop’: bee swarm stops play in New Zealand cricket match

It’s usually rain that stops play in New Zealand, but on Sunday it was the unfamiliar sight of a swarm of bees that brought a halt to the cricket being played at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

Players and umpires dropped like flies as they took cover from the descending bees on the relative safety of the oval’s turf on the opening day of the Plunket Shield match between Wellington and Canterbury.

The invasion caused a brief intermission in the 22nd over but play resumed shortly afterwards and the day ended with Wellington on 102-8 in reply to Canterbury’s 156, trailing by 54 runs.

It is not the first time a swarm of bees has interrupted a cricket match.

International cricket has also been stung in the past – in 2017 South African beekeepers came to the rescue during a one-day international against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg, while another match between the same two sides was interrupted at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

But it is believed to be the first time a top-level domestic match has been affected by the insects in New Zealand.

“It was definitely a first [for me],” Wellington coach Glenn Pocknall said. “I was on the other side of the ground with [batting coach] Doug Watson and we saw everyone drop and we weren’t really sure what was going on.

“After 30 or 40 seconds between us we figured out there were some bees out there floating around. It’s nothing I’ve ever seen at the Basin, which is bizarre.”