A batsman was knocked unconscious by a beamer in a sickening start to the new cricket season for Ilkeston Rutland.
David Robinson was hit on the head by a ball that “slipped from the grasp” of bowler Mark Norton during Rutland 2nd’s match at home to Burton (Staffordshire) in Division Six South of the Derbyshire County League.
Although Robinson came round within 60 seconds or so, he was taken to hospital for checks after the game was halted for 45 minutes while an ambulance was called and paramedics arrived.
“It was simply an unfortunate conflagration of errors,” said Rutland spokesman Ross Slater. “Beamers are illegal deliveries, but the ball slipped from the grasp of the bowler, so it was accidental.
“Robbo normally wears a helmet, but the soft, slow pitch persuaded him it wouldn’t be necessary. An attacking batsman by nature, he needed no second invitation to have a go at the delivery, especially as it was a no-ball, but his failure to connect means that he may no longer be able to continue playing the game he loves.
“He is the most popular member of the dressing-room, so it’s a terribly sad consequence for both him and the club.”
After the injury, Rutland lost all appetite to carry on with the match, especially as the tragedy of Australian batsman Philip Hughes, who died last year, is still fresh in the minds of all cricketers.
“Tensions ran high because Burton, having earlier amassed a total of 280-5, were understandably eager to resume,” added Slater. “However, we were only thinking of Robbo and what had just happened.”
As the umpires left the ground, the match was effectively abandoned, with Rutland’s reply reading 24-2. It will be up to the league at a later date whether they decided to award victory to Burton.
The visitors’ huge score had featured knocks of 90 by Brad Elson, 76no by skipper Jamie North and 68 by Anthony Adams. Norton and fellow opening bowler Lewis Elson had then removed Rutland openers Gary Hickinbotham and John Newcombe before the accident.
Meanwhile Rutland’s first-team opened their First Division campaign with a heavy six-wicket defeat at the hands of Marehay.
Put in to bat on a typically green early-season wicket, they reached 29 without loss or alarm in the hands of openers David Smit and Ross Slater until collapsing to 100 all out. Slater (ten), promoted from the second eleven after Kevin Leatherday’s departure from the club, was first to fall, bowled off the inside edge attempting to drive left-armer Dean Mills. Three balls later, one kept a bit low to skittle the incoming Damien Jones for a duck and in the following over, Rob Green was caught.
Smit remained a distinct threat, but when he hit an inviting full toss straight to Marehay captain James Kyte at mid-on, he was gone for 34.
Rutland’s new skipper, Luke Marriott, played his second ball on to his stumps and Matt Parry was also bowled to complete figures of 5-29 from ten overs for the influential Mills. The visitors were soon 67-8 and only some clean hitting from George Moulds (43, four sixes and three fours) lifted them to three figures.
Marehay needed just 23.5 overs to cruise to their target. But there was still time for Rutland to showcase their early-season rustiness with two chances going down as Matt Bailey (46, one six and five fours) and Stephen Lee (30, five fours) shared 50 for the first wicket. Although Green (2-34 in 12 overs) and George Moulds (2-12 in 3.5) made inroads, the outcome was never in doubt.
The only Rutland team to enjoy the start of the season was the third eleven and, in particular, their spinner Bryan Smit who took a career-best 7-26 to bowl out Denby for 123 and secure a 33-run victory in Division 10 North. Earlier Shafqat Amin had blasted 61 in Rutland’s 156 all out.