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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Feeling the Lash
By Sean Martin
BBC Sport & London New Zealand Cricket Club

It is not often you get the chance to measure yourself against international cricket stars.

Richie Richardson
Former West Indies skipper Richie Richardson is a Lashings regular
So when the chance came to face a star-studded Lashings side, it was an offer too good to refuse.

It was with some trepidation that I took the field at the Sutton Valance ground in Kent to face the likes of Mark Waugh, Chris Harris, Richie Richardson, Jimmy Adams, Sherwin Campbell and Grant Flower.

But at least they didn't have Brian Lara.

The idea had been that we would supplement our side, made up of a group of expatriate New Zealanders who have played cricket at varying levels, with some of the Kiwi first-class players plying their trade at clubs in the United Kingdom.

As things turned out, the only addition we could muster was former New Zealand opening batsman Matthew Bell and it looked like we would be lambs to the slaughter.

With a benign pitch and a glass-like outfield, Lashings were soon romping along at seven runs an over.

When the captain threw me the ball and told me to bowl my medium pace deliveries into the wind I knew I would be in for a tough day.

We had failed to dislodge either Grant Flower or Sherwin Campbell and I soon discovered the gulf in class between international cricket and club cricket.

The margin for error was tiny

A ball just short of a length on off stump would usually produce a defensive shot from club cricketers, but Flower and Campbell drove me on the up through the covers.

It was soon evident that it would be an exercise in damage limitation and my attempts to mix up the speed of deliveries while trying to bowl a tight line did little to keep the run-rate in check.

Flower and Stuart Carlisle - Campbell was dismissed for 74 - would come down the wicket and even if I saw them coming they would still be able to get the ball up and over the infield and out to the boundary.

Flower moved effortlessly to 99 and a century was his for the taking, but he flicked a delivery to deep square leg and the Zimbabwe international was out and I had a Test scalp.

It was not the greatest ball in the world, but that will not stop me regaling my mates with the story of the day I dismissed Grant Flower.

But if I thought the punishment was over I was mistaken.

Harris bowling for Lashings
Chris Harris showed no mercy to his fellow Kiwis

Next to the crease was Mark Waugh with the small matter of 8,029 Test runs to his name.

I bowled three deliveries to him, hit him on the gloves once, but was relieved to end my spell before he cut loose - my eight overs had cost 66 runs.

But I was not finished with Waugh, who blazed a head-height drive 60m at me which burst through my fingers, canoned into my chest and then bounced up gently for me to take the catch at the second attempt.

He only managed 23, but 55 by Chris Harris, 41 from Carlisle and 34 from Richardson ensured they reached 341-6 from their allocation.

We battled gamely to reach 302 all out but Waugh took his revenge by taking the catch to dismiss me off Rose.

See you next year, Mark.




SEE ALSO
Facing England's tormentor
28 Feb 03  |  World Cup
Into the Lions' den
30 Jul 01  |  Cricket


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