SHEFFIELD University Staff set an unwanted Midweek Alliance record last Wednesday at Warmister Road, after they were dismissed by bottom club Norton Woodseats - for just nine runs.
Batting first on a spiteful track, visitors Woodseats found themselves quickly in trouble and struggled to score runs freely, posting a seemingly under-par total of 66-7 after their 12 allotted overs.
James Eyre, with 21, and 12 from David Armitage boosted Woodseats’ total, and University’s Mohammad Maqsood finished with 3-14 from his 3 overs.
“The first innings passed unremarkably,” Andrew Cross, from Norton Woodseats, told The Telegraph.
“We have played University staff many times over the years, and expected a close match. And our first innings score of 66 was considered below par, being perhaps 20 short of a good score.”
In their reply, however, University Staff lost three wickets without a run being scored, and their first runs came from a wide. They then found themselves 1-6, before number 6 batsman Zafar Malik scored their first - and only - runs off the bat.
With the score on 8-9, Shariz Zarook walked out to join Mohammed Maqsood - seemingly with the aim of at least reaching double figures. Armitage then bowled a no-ball, and bowled Maqsood with his next delivery.
Armitage claimed 3-7 and captain Chris Colegate finished with incredible figures of 2 overs, 2 maidens, six wickets for no runs.
“When the University innings started,a couple of early wickets fell - nothing remarkable for a mid-week match when the bat is usually being wielded with force,” Cross added.
“But after a few more wickets had gone down we started to look at each other and think that this was something unusual. And before we knew what was happening, it was all over in a hail of stumps being uprooted and successful LBW appeals.”
The umpires of the game checked the league’s handbook, and confirmed that the score of nine all out was a new record low. “We also believe it was a record number of ducks scored,” Cross said.
“On that cricket field there was a combined 200 years experience of playing cricket, at many levels, and no-one could recall a match like it, or close to it.
“We then retired to the pub to swop stories and have a few beers - this will be one of those matches that will be re-told for many years. Without doubt, when Chris tells the story to his grandchildren, he will have become a cross between Dennis Lillee and Ian Botham.
“But the truth is, it was just a reward for good, honest straight bowling. And in this game, when it’s your day, it’s your day.”
Mayank Sharma, who was Armitage’s first victim, was involved in a match between Firvale and Property Services in 2006 - again at Warmister Road - when a bowler, Arjun Vasanthan, took 5 wickets in 5 balls in the same over.
“But what happened in this game easily tops that,” he admitted.
“It was almost unreal and, even with 5-6 wickets down, we thought that it was only a matter of time before someone would get in and get us to a respectable total. But it never happened!
“A lot of credit must go to David Armitage and Chris Colegate for bowling so well. A game of cricket like this is something that one would never forget.”