Hawke's Bay Today

Bangladesh super fan

Art Deco festival and Black Caps match make for entertaini­ng but crowded city

- Georgia May

Aformer Bangladesh representa­tive cricket player who chose to settle in Hawke’s Bay after his internatio­nal career is preparing for a memorable day in Napier. Former opener Al-Sahariar Rokon spent time with his old team members yesterday, including Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the current skipper for the team. “He was in the team when I was playing, but was very young back then, so it’s great to catch up with him.” Rokon said he was thrilled the team would be playing in Napier. He has been living in Hawke’s Bay for the past two years and occasional­ly coaches school teams across the region. Hotels across Napier remain booked out with both cricket fans and fashion-filled Art Deco lovers, most of whom return to the colourful city every year to take part in the festival. The Black Caps take on the Tigers in the first ODI of the series at McLean Park today from 2pm until 9pm. The city is all quiet before the storm as thousands will flood the streets for both events. Manager of the Scenic Motel Te Pania, Kerry-Anne Gibbs, said it was fully booked for the next few weeks. “It’s just an amazing time of year and we’re always busy and having the cricket just adds to the interest so that people who aren’t interested in Art Deco can watch the cricket and enjoy it as well. “We’re just delighted with it. We get to enjoy the normal guests who normally get to stay with us for Art Deco as well as a sprinkling of interestin­g cricketers, too.” Gibbs said the variety of guests just added more interest to the summer buzz and gave them a chance to mingle with one another. “I just think it’s such a positive thing. The whole summer period is amazing for all hotels in Napier. For the next 21⁄2 weeks, we’re on stop-sell which is great. That means we don’t have any inventory to sell, so all the distributi­on channels we deal with we are closed out on.” Spokeswoma­n for The Dome, Kathy Maidens, said she hoped the both cricket teams and the fans would dress up to match the Art Deco theme. “I always say to people, ‘Dress up, because if you don’t, people will notice you,” she laughed. “It’s just a great vibe, we’re always booked out in advance. We’re just hoping the weather remains fantastic for both. “For some people it’s just a real bonus that the cricket is on and it’s great because organisers have managed to kill two birds with one stone. Napier’s just the place to be. “It’s going to be the cricketers that look like they’ve gone back in time. We could have a vintage cricket match. That would be great.”

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 ?? Photo / Paul Taylor ?? Al Sahariar Rokon, a former Bangladesh cricketer, is thrilled to see his home team play in Napier.
Photo / Paul Taylor Al Sahariar Rokon, a former Bangladesh cricketer, is thrilled to see his home team play in Napier.
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