Tourists baffled by knitting crisis

Graeme Smith inadvertently fanned the flames of conflict between himself and opposite number Stephen Fleming when he described Fleming’s pre-Test gamesmanship as “muck” but the South African skipper still has no idea of the crisis brewing in the local province of Waikato that may overwhelm the entire Test series.

The first most people heard of the problem was in a short news item in the tabloid Sunday newspaper the ‘Sunday News’ but the local community is beginning to turn its attention away from the cricket and towards a situation that may bring national shame to all New Zealanders.

The original, single paragraph story in the Sunday News read: “Waikato finger-knitter, Gemma Puols, needs more wool to beat the world record of 2205 metres.”

The art of finger-knitting has long been a part of New Zealand’s social heritage and, despite not knowing what it is or how it is done, the tourists are aware that something very significant is happening.

New Zealanders are understandably proud that a ten-year-old girl should be mounting such a brave attempt on the world record, particularly as it involves knitting something over two kilometres in length, but the fact that she has run out of wool is a source of national shame.

Famous the world over for the number of high quality sheep in the country, New Zealanders are staggered that Gemma should run out of wool when it should be more plentiful here than in any other country in the world.

If Gemma’s record attempt should stumble now it would represent a national embarrassment akin to a South African team entering the world braai championships and running out of brandy and coke before the potjie was cooked.

The pitch at Westpac Park may be dry and grassless and the home side might play two spinners, but nothing – not even Smith’s spat with Fleming – is more important than Miss Pouls’ wool shortage at the moment.

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