Ryder attack: Those fateful few minutes

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2013
ryder
RECOVERING: Cricketer Jesse Ryder.

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Where were Jesse Ryder's team-mates when he was being kicked within a few inches of his life last week in Christchurch?

Cricket administrators do not want to be quoted while the police investigation is under way but The Dominion Post can reveal player movements from last Wednesday night when the Wellington Firebirds were having a quiet end-of-season celebration.

Ryder himself is now up and about but cannot recollect the attack that left him in an induced coma.

The 28-year-old was attacked outside Christchurch bar Aikmans early on Thursday morning while he was out with team-mates.

All-rounder Harry Boam and coach Jamie Siddons did not accompany the team to the bar.

Boam was feeling unwell and stayed back at the team hotel, Ibis Christchurch. Siddons chose not to go out, presumably following the practice of coaches keeping their distance from socialising with players.

A group of senior players, known to include captain James Franklin, off-spinner Jeetan Patel and top-order batsman Michael Papps, left Aikmans in a taxi about 11pm to return to the hotel.

Shortly after midnight the remaining players left Aikmans and headed across the road to a McDonald's restaurant.

Ryder and wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi were at the back of the group. As they left, Ryder turned back and Ronchi kept walking, believing Ryder was saying goodbye to someone.

The first attack on Ryder took place about 90 seconds after he and Ronchi parted company.

The second attack across the road in the McDonald's car park happened about 40 metres from the team van, where fast bowler Mark Gillespie, the side's designated sober driver for the evening, was waiting for his team-mates to return with their orders.

Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton has compiled a comprehensive report for his board on the incident but said he would not be sharing it with the media.

However, he gave the impression the team, and specifically Ryder, behaved without fault on the night concerned.

Clinton defended Cricket Wellington's position of allowing Ryder to drink in the team environment, given his well-documented troubles with alcohol.

"I think Cricket Wellington has done everything reasonable in the circumstances," Clinton said.

"We've spoken regularly with Jesse and his manager [Aaron Klee].

"We took a lot of advice from health professionals and the message was to offer as much support as possible.

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"Speaking more broadly, if you impose conditions like that [no drinking in the team environment], it is proven not to work."

Meanwhile, Cricket Wellington have postponed tonight's annual awards dinner out of respect to Ryder and his shaken team-mates. The list of winners will still be announced today or tomorrow but the ceremony has been delayed until the start of next season.

Ryder's condition has since improved and he was moved yesterday from Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit to another ward.

Klee said the big-hitting batsman continued to improve at a remarkable pace.

"He's absolutely talking, sitting there having conversations and he's up on his feet. It's nice to see the big guy back on his feet again."

There were no plans to transfer him to Wellington Hospital and his discharge would depend on several factors, including any lingering effects of his concussion.

Two men, aged 20 and 37, who are related, have been charged with assault in connection with the attack on the cricketer.

They have been freed on bail to appear in Christchurch District Court on Thursday.

- Fairfax Media

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