Well the day I took 9-22 for Inglewood Seniors was the greatest day in my life playing cricket and certainly in my top five greatest of days of all time. Considering I have an amazing family to make up the other days.
The morning for a regular cricket match started off exactly the same as it did for the last 20 plus years that I have played cricket with a light breakfast of toast. I felt the same way I did before every match and wanted to take as many wickets as I could for my team. At the back of my mind there’s always the thought of the honours board but as a bowler playing limited overs cricket it’s very difficult to take the minimum seven wickets required. I always thought my best chance to make the honours board was to fluke a 100 with the bat at some stage.
The magic match was at Francis Douglas Memorial College against their 2nd XI. I arrived and after a few laughs with my team mates it was time to get ready. Once our Captain Brent How turned up we started to discuss our plans and whether he was going to bowl or bat if he won the toss. He was leaning towards bowling and I certainly pushed him further in that direction. He did win the toss so we donned our whites and headed out there, the funny thing is we only had 10 players and were waiting for one more to turn up. This had a great twist on fielding positions which I’ll mention later.
Richard Clough opened up from the top end and bowled a great opening over but without award so the rock was handed over to me to start my spell of a life time. I certainly had no rhythm in my first few deliveries but managed to create a chance which I took by catching a well driven ball in-between three of my bowling fingers and I remember thinking this could be my day. Always good to get an early piece of luck and in my second over I got two catches hit to gully where Richard Clough was standing. They both were extremely clean catches and highly difficult. The fact we still only had 10 players meant that both Richard and I didn’t have a fine leg in place. We were both fielding at gully while the other was bowling so the very next over that Clough bowled I was in position to take an overhead catch. This was awesome as opening bowlers we had taken care of the first four wickets very quickly between ourselves. Little did I know the catch I took would have me later described in the same manner as Sir Richard Hadlee.
So I started my third over with FDMC four down and on my fourth bowl got a nick that was dropped at second slip, it was a very difficult chance down low and it just popped out. At this point I had to reset my expectations and pushed on to at least get five wickets for the day. The following over though the same batsmen that was dropped got a solid nick behind to Paul Potroz our Keeper who made no mistake and the earlier drop was forgotten. He was their top scorer on 24 and had played some nice shots including putting me to the fence a couple of times so this was the most important wicket of the innings. So there I was sitting on four wickets and I had never taken five for Inglewood in my life. I had gotten so close so many times but again limited overs cricket can restrict these chances. The ball was really starting to swing a lot with the perfect overhead conditions and I finally got that fifth wicket with my first bowled dismissal of the day during my fifth over. The ball pitched on middle stump and swung away to crash into off stump.
At this point the ball started to swing more and more so I had to keep adjusting my line. I was pitching the ball on or outside leg stump but wasn’t having much luck increasing my wicket tally. As the amount of balls I had left to take seven wickets started too declined, my team mate Cody Chilcott would shout out the number of balls I had left which made us all laugh. As time was running out I finally took the sixth wicket in my seventh over, it was a full toss that dipped late with a bit of outswing and crashed into the stumps a third of the way up. Then Cody continued to count down the balls I had left, as he reached six I realised I only had one over left.
I was waiting at gully for my last over to start and to make things worse the umpire called “Over” too earlier while Cannon Ball was bowling. I had already gone to my run up when the scorers shouted out “Two more to go” so we all decided to let Cannon Ball finish off his over.
Take two, I ran in and bowled what I felt was the best ball I have ever bowled. It pitched on leg stump in front of the pad and swung away from the right handed batsmen to hit the bail off the top of off stump. I felt this was the best ball I have ever produced and so fitting to take the seventh wicket that way. My ultimate goal was reached but now the bonus round started. The very next delivery was very similar to the previous but this time the batsmen got a heavy nick on it and it went flying towards second slip. It was hissing when Liam Brown jumped up and took a one handed screamer, one of the best catches I’ve seen at second slip.
Well the nerves probably got the better of me during my hat trick ball as it was just too short although the batsmen did wave his bat at it failing to make contact. He did however make contact with the very next delivery and popped a catch up to gully. Christian Potroz had so much time that he actually dove onto the ground too early and then still had time to raise his hand off the ground to take a very funny catch. 7.4 overs were completed and everything had happened so fast especially because the last two catches were so amazing, it didn’t feel real. Our batsmen made short work of chasing the 52 required for victory and did so with nine wickets in hand.
So I managed to be involved in all 10 wickets for the innings so we traveled out to Karo Park in Inglewood to have a few celebration drinks and watch Matt Simpson’s 100th Premier match where he was on his way to taking 6-44. This turned into quite a few more when Club Captain Jamie Brocklehurst informed me that my open bar tab had started.
This all happened early in the season and I played the rest with a buzz each week. At the end of the season I won the Trophy for most wickets (27) by a lower grade player which was my first on field trophy for the club. I had previously won the Clubman of the Year Trophy and it was because of this and the special on field performance of 9-22 that Inglewood Cricket Club nominated me for the Taranaki Cricket Association’s Fox Hall Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded each year to a loyal club person that has performed an outstanding feat on the cricket field during the season.
I won the Fox Hall Memorial Trophy and on the 3rd of September 2018, it was presented to me at the TCA Annual General Meeting. This is the most amazing award I have ever received. I only knew Fox for a few years but he would always help anyone regardless of what skill level or team the player was in. I thanked him and Sully for everything they have done for my game but also for what Sully has done for our club.
I will end this by thanking my team mates. Not just the ones that played with me on this day but anyone I have ever played with, as a bowler you don’t take wickets without your team mates and over half the wickets on this day were catches by them. You’re the reason I still continue to play because I love the comradery.