August 7, 1965 – When Roy Gilchrist got a match abandoned with his bouncers
The Central Lancashire League in 1965 stood host for this interesting incident.
Roy Gilchrist was known for his pace and the bouncers which would often make the batsmen uncomfortable but wasn’t as tall as his fellow West Indian pacers. Gilchrist’s Test career lasted 13 matches in two years and a first-class career of 42 matches which was spread over mere six and a half years. One of the major reasons for his short career was his aggression with the ball. Roy Gilchrist was fond of making the ball whistle past the batsmen at a rearing pace.
He used to ignore instructions from captains in this process and often ended up knocking down the opposition batters. The speedster made his debut in England during the summer of 1959 about seven months after his first-class debut. But his last appearance in the longer format came well before he turned 25. The then West Indies skipper Gerry Alexander, with the agreement of fellow players, excluded Roy Gilchrist during their tour of sub-continent where they were supposed to face India and Pakistan.
During India’s leg matches, Gilchrist kept going hard way with the ball despite the orders from Alexander. He went on to hit a couple of Indian batters on their head during the tour which prompted the West Indies skipper to take an action. Gilchrist preferred to play Lancashire League cricket as he featured in only one FC match in 3-year span after his ousting. During the 1962-63 season, Gilchrist turned up for Hyderabad for whom he played one Ranji Trophy match and featured in five other first-class matches in India.
Making the unexpected happen!
Roy Gilchrist spent six English summers playing the Lancashire League and Worsley Cup. He made his debut during the Central Lancashire League in 1965 where he represented Crompton team. In his very first match, Gilchrist claimed a 5-wicket haul after scoring 24 runs as Crompton sneaked in a 3-run victory against Royton at the Paddock in Royton. The Crompton team were earlier bowled out for just 121 runs while lasting for 34 overs.
It was followed by a home match for Crompton at the Glebe Street in Oldham against the Radcliffe team. Gilchrist found himself in a similar situation as Crompton could only post 106 runs this time with none of their batters even getting to the 30-run mark. A 6-wicket haul in his 10.1 overs from M Hilton played a key role in limiting Radcliffe to what seemed to be an easy target. The West Indian opened the bowling with P Sutcliffe in pursuit of defending the small total.
Bouncers and more bouncers!
The opening pair of Derek Bickley and Bill McDonald got four runs in first two overs before Gilchrist bowled a wide range of beamers. The overseas star of Crompton troubled the Radcliff captain-keeper Bickley in the very first over of the chase. He resumed the same in the 3rd over with back to back beamers. Roy Gilchrist then decided to send a beamer 18 yards away from the batsman i.e. bowling a bouncer coming six yards into the playing surface.
Bickley avoided damage by backing himself towards the square-leg fielder on seeing Gilchrist not releasing the ball inside the popping crease. However, the Derek Bickley was furious at the bowling tactics of Gilchrist and decided to walk off along with his partner. The match was called off as the Radcliffe team refused to take the field after the incident. However, Crompton earned full points according to the League rules which considers Radcliffe to have conceded the match.
The two players involved in the abandonment of the match – Roy Gilchrist and Derek Bickley got suspended for the remainder of the tournament. The teams of the two players were supposed to play three matches after the controversial game held on August 7th. During the 1960 season, Gilchrist turned out to be the reason behind Oldham’s walk-off from their home match against the Middleton team.