St Kilda Cricket Club’s bowlers had a better excuse than just early season rust for conceding 27 wides and struggling to find their lengths on Saturday – the pitch they were playing on was eight feet too long.
The stunning revelation was made only after Footscray Edgewater’s first XI had knocked off the Saints’ 197 in the 48th over in their third round Victorian Premier Cricket clash at Harry Trott Oval.
Umpires Brad Davies and Chris James confirmed the mistake after the match, finding the crease markings had been measured out incorrectly.
“It’s actually quite comical,’’ St Kilda coach Glenn Lalor told the Leader.
“Things make sense now. I thought we bowled too short and I think we bowled 27 wides. Whether the wides had anything to do with the length of the pitch, I don’t know.
“It was bizarre. It wasn’t until after the game that someone said, ‘Was the pitch too long … it looks a bit long’. Then the umpires had a look and thought, ‘Well, maybe’. Then they measured it with a tape measure. Yeah, eight feet too long.’’
Perhaps surprisingly, the game wasn’t a run-fest despite both sides’ bowlers facing a serious handicap, with former Australia Test batsman and St Kilda captain Rob Quiney dismissed for 13.
The four batsmen who were run out on the day may however feel a little hard done by.
The curation company that prepared the pitch on behalf of Cricket Victoria have issued an apology to both clubs for the “the embarrassing situation”.
A similar incident occurred in 2012, when a match between Richmond and Prahran had to be restarted with freshly painted creases after Prahran allrounder Dan Salpietro noticed the Toorak Park pitch they were playing on appeared a little long, a hunch that was confirmed when umpires measured the pitch shortly after.
In Melbourne’s west, Werribee Centrals opener Dean Taylor turned up to Galvin Park for a Williamstown and District B Grade match against Melton Centrals having never scored a century for the club he’d played at for 20 years.
Taylor left the ground with an incredible 381 runs to his name, the highest score in Australian club cricket from this season to date.
“When he got out, we said to him ‘is that the first time you’ve made a triple-century?’” Werribee Centrals president Feim Hyssoli told cricket.com.au. “He said ‘that’s the first time I’ve made a hundred ever!’”
“I was surprised myself,” Taylor admitted. “I’ve hit a few 70s and 60s before. I think I got a 90 a few years ago.
“I never actually thought I’d make a 100 let alone the score that I made. I was actually quite shocked.
“Once they’d clapped me for my 250, I was pretty spent. I started cramping that much, I was just about cooked.”
As Taylor approached 300, his teammates reminded him of the club’s highest individual score of 351, set last season by Michael Sammut.
The 38-year-old soldiered on, passing Sammut’s record and eventually fell to a good catch just 19 short of a quadruple-ton. He shared in two partnerships over 200 runs, both with juniors from the club’s under-17 side.
Werribee had had to continue scoring the innings on a separate piece of paper after running out of room in their scorebook, as they racked up 3-528 from their 70 overs.
Taylor estimates he hit “about 65-70 boundaries” in his mammoth knock.
On NSW’s Central Coast, Arif Hussain had a day out for Warnervale Cricket Club’s second XI, taking 9-12, including a hat-trick, to help skittle Brisbane Water for 29 in their first innings.
Husssain was denied the chance to pick up all ten opposition wickets by a run-out, with Brisbane Water No.4 Kevin Searle caught short of his ground to conclude his side’s innings.
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