Record crowd turns out to watch grass dry in ‘fantastic showing’ at Napier

Grass-drying is a popular event where two cricket teams come together to sit inside while men in hats debate whether the grass they’re walking on is safe to walk on.

Grass-drying is a popular event where two cricket teams come together to sit inside while men in hats debate whether the grass they’re walking on is safe to walk on.

Event staff at Napier’s McLean Park are thrilled this evening after a record crowd turned out to watch a field of grass dry over a period of 5 and a half hours, before being told to leave.

Organisers of the event estimate it’s the largest New Zealand crowd ever to attend a grass-drying, and say that it shows the popularity of the pastime is strong.

“I’ve never seen this kind of a crowd for an event like this,” said groundsman Daryl Tremain. “All turned up with this incredible sense of anticipation, they’re buying beers and food and just settling in to watch grass dry, and see the great action of men walking out every 45 minutes or so to check if it’s still wet.”

It wasn’t just a relaxing day for those who took time off work to witness the spectacle; the crowd really got energised at times, cheering loudly as groundstaff used the tractor sponge to try and extract moisture from the outfield.

“I think that was definitely the biggest cheer,” said Tremain, “when the tractor came out. It was just incredible to see so many people so into their drying.”

The crowd was made up of people from far and wide – not just Hawke’s Bay locals – and even the national cricket teams of Australia and New Zealand showed up to watch the grass-drying.

“That was pretty special, seeing them there,” said one Red Badge security guard. “A real honour, actually, and they were the ones who seemed most invested in the show.”

Fans had a great day at the Park, and were eager to talk to media about their experiences.

“This is fucking bullshit,” said Ross Penney. “You think this is a joke? I paid $45 and I come down and nothing’s even fucking happening, it hasn’t rained for five hours, and you’re telling me the field’s still wet, are you shitting me? Player safety? You’re going to be throwing fucking rocks at one another at 140km/h and you’re worried about running on some wet grass? Holy fuck.”

After a tense back-and-forth throughout the day, the grass did not dry.