August 31, 1946 – When a fielder took a catch while pulling his sweater on
Alfred Gover was fielding at short-leg and was trying to put his sweater on.
Published - Aug 31, 2018 3:29 pm | Updated - Aug 31, 2018 4:01 pm
Surrey and Hampshire faced off in the Kingston Cricket Festival match just after completing their set of games in the 1946 County Championship. The season was a tough one for both the teams as Hampshire finished at No.10 among the 17 counties while Surrey were joint 11th. Surrey won the solitary game between the two sides in the championship that season. Hampshire were bundled out for just 48 runs in the opening session of that game played in Guildford which ended with a 9-wicket win of Surrey.
The festival game at the end of the season between these two sides was played at the Leyland Motors Ground in Kingston-upon-Thames. Hampshire, who batted first in this game, were troubled by the Surrey bowler Stan Squires. He was on course of taking a perfect ten when Hampshire were reduced to 197/6 after a 94-run opening stand as Squires took all the six wickets that fell.
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Jim Laker, playing his second first-class match, bowled in tandem with Alfred Gover who completed his over and took the position at short-leg. Gover was putting his sweater on while Laker ran in to bowl the first ball of the new over. A short delivery from the off-spinner was pulled by the batsman Rodney Exton that went towards Gover. The short-leg fielder was in the process of pulling down his sweater and had his view blocked when the ball was hit towards him.
Despite having no picture of what was happening around him, Gover got his legs together just when the ball was passing through. His timing was so perfect that the ball stayed between the thighs and he didn’t let it go down. Thus, Exton had to walk back with only seven runs to his name. This freakish dismissal brought an end to Squires’ hopes of taking all ten in an innings. However, he ended up with his career-best figures of 8/52 in the 30.1 overs as Hampshire were bowled out for 234.
In response, Surrey were cruising at 168/1 as their opener Eric Bedser scored a brilliant 101. However, George Heath (5) and Oswald Herman (4) ran through Surrey’s middle and lower-order taking nine wickets between them. Surrey went down from 168/1 to 195/9. Squires did not turn up to bat and was declared absent hurt. With a lead of 39 runs, Hampshire made 136/3 in their 2nd innings before the end of 2nd day’s play. The match didn’t resume of the final day with the game ending in a draw.
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