Last year, the septuple of funnymen that make up the Alternative Commentary Collective were almost stopped in their tracks by a drinks trolley fiasco that saw their media accreditation pulled. But this didn't stop the group from adding a bit of colour to the dire commentary that usually accompanies cricket matches. To the delight of fans who aligned with supported causes like #JeSuisACC and #SavetheACC, the collective continued to share their banter, risque remarks and heavy drinking from outside the stadium and later also went cross-discipline and started reporting on rugby.
However, after the end of the Rugby World Cup, the ACC disbanded and the various members have since occupied themselves with an assortment of solo careers. Fortunately, NZME's general manager of experiential Mike Lane has been working hard to convince the band to get back together.
The begging has paid off, and Jeremy Wells, Lane, Leigh Hart, Lee Baker, Matt Heath, Jason Hoyte and Paul Ford will all return to provide ball-by-ball action of the Black Caps' 11 one-day matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia.
“We’ve had to do a lot of wheeling and dealing to reconstruct the Collective after the absolute scenes of last summer – obviously everyone has had a lot of opportunities to move on to bigger things," Lane was quoted saying in an NZME statement. “We’re asking the guys to put their parking warden, prostitution and pharmacy careers on hold and get back into gallivanting around the country watching cricket in beige suits from an old and rather smelly caravan. That’s not an easy call for them to make – and it’s not about financial incentives, but providing assurances around hygiene standards and intra-caravan behaviour.”
Commenting on the the creation of the ACC, Wells says the aim has always been to deliver something entertaining and non-formulaic.
“It’s still a stupid idea but it’s humbling to see the support as we go into season three," Wells says. "The ACC hits a sweet spot for all those fans craving nickname banter, insights into the male mind and risqué info about the animal kingdom alongside their cricket commentary. It’s a gap in the market that Bryan Waddle’s team has been trying to fill – and failing.”
So far, the ACC has been successful in attracting courageous sponsors who have allowed the crew to run a range of experiments with their products, and this looks set to continue with Mammoth already coming on board as sponsor.
The ACC Schedule for 2015/16:
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
Saturday 26 December 2015 (Boxing Day), Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Monday 28 December 2015, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Thursday 31 December 2015, Saxton Oval, Nelson
Saturday 2 January 2016, Saxton Oval, Nelson
Tuesday 5 January 2016, Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui
New Zealand vs Pakistan
Monday 25 January 2016, Basin Reserve, Wellington
Thursday 28 January 2016, McLean Park, Napier (D/N)
Sunday 31 January 2016, Eden Park, Auckland
New Zealand vs Australia
Wednesday 3 February 2016, Eden Park, Auckland (D/N)
Saturday 6 February 2016 (Waitangi Day), Westpac Stadium, Wellington (D/N)
Monday 8 February 2016, Seddon Park, Hamilton (D/N)