Test Match Extra-Special
We’re now able to return to Lord’s, where a resumption of play in the test match between England and Australia is imminent. Your commentators are Andrew Kipp, Tim Winter, David Smith and John Knackton. So, over to Kippers, Winters, Smithers and . . . John Knackton.
Welcome to our BBC long wave audience. We expect a re-start in ten minutes, and perhaps it is appropriate that we have that period available to us, as we were just discussing a letter we have received from a listener in Sri Lanka. I think the best thing I can do is pass on this short, fascinating communication in full. It reads:
I am a British expatriate, long resident here in Colombo and an avid follower of Test Match Special. Your recent comments concerning unusual events in cricket reminded me that I have in my files a note handed to me by my local garage owner and mechanic, Mr Roshan Bhattericharga, who received it many years ago from a mariner in Trincomalee. This document describes a number of oddities, beginning with strange dismissals. I am aware that there are various ways in which a batsman may be returned to the pavilion. However, the above-mentioned paper relates a few weird ones, not included in the standard list. First, there is the case of one Percy Whelkin of Hove, who in 1891 threw a large net over the slips and was adjudged out ‘enmeshing the field’. Second, a certain Norman Gung of Market Drayton – the non-striker at the time – was sent packing in circumstances I would prefer not to relate, the verdict being ‘handled the umpire’.
Another case involved Yorkshireman Tom Longpiece, who scored eight runs by wedging a ball under his chin, from where it finally spilled out ahead of him to hit the stumps, producing a self-run-out. There are other odd cases, but I will note only that of Thomas Spoon of Middlesex, who in 1902 used his bat to smite the wicket-keeper in the groin, then on the head, and was deemed to have ‘hit fielder twice’.
The fragment in my possession also refers to remarkable bowlers. One of these was Somerset paceman Alfred Twinge, whose method was to approach the bowling crease at a right-angle to the batsman, releasing the ball sideways across his chest at the last instant. Apparently, this action failed to deceive the opposition, as ‘Sidearm’ Twinge took no wickets during a one-match career in which he bowled twelve overs, conceding two-hundred and eight runs. It seems that another practitioner of the bizarre was William ‘Donkey’ Broat of Derbyshire, whose technique was to lob the ball skywards (he bowled only when the Sun was high behind him) hoping to land it on the bails. According to the note, his ‘success’ was limited to incapacitating four batsmen, all of them receiving head injuries from balls while rearing backwards in attempts to execute hooks over long leg.
I would like to know whether any of these cases can be authenticated.
Many thanks to our correspondent for giving us much to discuss. We shall look into this contribution as time permits, but now to more imminent matters. Play is about to continue.
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