June 29, 1911 – When the bail traveled as long as 67 yards 6 inches

Once, the bail even travelled all the way to the boundary.

Cricket stumps
(Photo by Jason O’Brien – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)
Sampath Bandarupalli

Sr. Statistician

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Bowlers can generate enough pace to knock down all the three stumps at one go or even crack and break the stump in pieces. However, it is rarely seen that the bails placed on top of the stumps ends up travelling a certain distance. This could happen when the wind blows in a favourable direction and takes the bails with it. Interestingly, there are some cases when the bail travelled over 50 meters and in fact, went as far as the boundary line behind the wicketkeeper!

During the 1911 County Championship, Lancashire took on Worcestershire at their home venue Old Trafford in Manchester. The Lancashire skipper Albert Hornby won the toss and elected to bat first. A 96-run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Joseph Makepeace (46) and John Tyldesley (49) put the hosts in a comfortable position. Their no.4 batsman William Huddleston scored 55 as the Lancs crossed 200 for the loss of five wickets.

At this point, the Worcester pacer Robert Barrow cleaned up Huddleston to bag a crucial wicket for his team. When Barrow knocked down the stumps, one of the bails ended up travelling 67 yards 6 inches! As per the Association of Cricket Historians and Statisticians’ records, this is the longest a bail has travelled in a first-class game in England.

The Nottinghamshire born player represented Worcestershire in all the 277 matches in his first-class career including 253 County Championship games taking 894 wickets. Barrow’s career was cut short due to the First World War as he couldn’t play a game between 1915 and 1918. He resumed in the 1919 season at the age of 47 before bidding adieu to the game.

Some other instances of bail travelling long distance:

Though Barrow’s feat of 67 yards 6 inches remains untouchable in England first-class cricket till date, another England player Harold Larwood also made the bail fly same distance in Australia in the 1928/29 season. Playing for the MCC team in a tour game against Tasmania at the Launceston, the right-arm pacer rattled Geoffrey Martin’s stumps who was batting on 92. Earlier in 1925, a Tasmanian player named Arthur Burrows made the bail travel 83 yards, one foot and nine inches.

However, Burrows couldn’t enter the record books as the game wasn’t a first-class fixture. In a most recent instance that occurred in 2006, Barry Stanway of Deeping Second Team, aged 16 years, cleaned up Billingborough’s batsman Mark Pilgrim. One of the bail over the stumps that Stanway knocked off travelled all the way through to the pavilion roof. This unique incident might not go down in history as the South Lincs Division One match is not classified as a first-class match.

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