September 2, 1929 – Pasty Hendren fooled Alf Gover and got him to play it in his hands

Gover after being played with did manage to avenge it to a certain extent.

Patsy Hendren followed by teammate Bill Edrich. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

The 1929 County Championship came to a conclusion with Middlesex and Surrey facing off in the London Derby in the final round games of the tournament at Lord’s. Both the sides were out of title contention before the start of the match. Surrey, who elected to bat first, ended up with 294 runs on the board thanks to four individual fifties.

Ernest Wilson top-scored for Surrey with an unbeaten 69 while Thomas Shepherd (56), Andy Sandham (52) and Herbert Peach (50) also scored half-centuries. The home team was reduced to 62/3 by end of the first day’s play with Pasty Hendren and Robert Robins at the crease. Hendren was playing his first season after turning 40 but still had a lot in him to do justice to the 35000+ first-class runs he had scored by then.


A historic prank

Middlesex’s legendary batsman Hendren met the Surrey pacer Alfred Gover in the dressing room prior to the game on the first day. Hendren asked the youngster what his trade was to which Gover replied that he is a fast bowler. The veteran realized Gover didn’t know much about his batting ability and tricked him by saying that he fails to handle express fast bowling as he was already in his 40s.

There was no one around them when Handren started to trick Gover into believing that he was an ordinary player. The batsman went on to add that he doesn’t like short-pitched bowling at all. Hendren also pleaded Gover to be careful while bowling at him as the game was being played at his home venue. Gover actually believed everything Hendren told him and decided to challenge him with short deliveries first up.

Surrey fast bowler Alfred Richard Gover. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The game resumed on the 2nd day after the rest day – Gover and Hendren were up against each other after Henry Enthoven took a single on the 2nd ball of a Gover’s over. Without a second thought, he bowled a bouncer putting in quite some effort and it was angled down the leg-stump. Hendren sent the ball into the stands to surprise Gover, who still thought that the shot was a fluke.

He delivered one at the same length on the middle stump this time and the Middlesex batsman cut it past the third man by moving across. The next ball was a dot ball and Gover was certain he will be able to dismiss Hendren but the ball landed in the Mount Stand. Soon after the over, Sir Jack Hobbs approached the bowler and asked him the reason for this bouncer ploy. An innocent Gover replied that Hendren told him about his reluctance while facing short-pitch deliveries.

Reducing the damage:

Hobbs responded that Patsy even after turning 40 was among the best in the business against fast bowling. Gover realized how he was lured into plying in his hands and to some extent avenged it by dismissing Hendren but the Middlesex No.4 by then had a century to his name. Alf Gover finished with figures of 4/118 in his 39 overs as Middlesex were bowled out for 310.

Surrey came out to score quick runs in their 2nd innings after conceding a 16-run first-innings lead. Robert Gregory (114*) and Hobbs (111) struck centuries before Surrey declared their innings at 299/5 in 85.2 overs. Chasing a target of 284, Middlesex made 125/4 in 45 overs and the game ended in a draw. Gover claimed all the four wickets to fall in the home team’s innings including that of Hendren.

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