Declaration denies 81-year-old hat-trick chance

Lewis Couchman is at the non-strikers end as Lionel King prepares to bowl.
Lewis Couchman is at the non-strikers end as Lionel King prepares to bowl.

An entertaining and good-natured friendly at the Memorial Ground saw Leek Wootton’s Sunday XI make it three wins from three for the club for the weekend as they beat Snitterfield by 56 runs under azure skies.

Batting first, Leek Wootton rattled up 234 for five, with hefty contributions from Zain Ansari (89), Jag Singh (105) and a scintillating cameo from youngster Lewis Couchman on debut.

Many decades ago, Snitterfield veteran Lionel King had his hopes shattered on 92 not out as a declaration scuppered his hopes of a first, and what would have been only, century.

On Sunday, Wootton skipper Connor Bailey again caused heartbreak as he unwittingly declared the home side’s innings as King prepared to bowl a hat-trick ball; the matter only coming to light once the players had adjourned for tea.

The innings was also notable for 81-year-old King bowling to nine-year-old Couchman, perhaps a record for disparity in the respective ages of on-field adversaries.

Snitterfield skipper Richard Yendall was the pick of the visiting bowlers with one for 22 from his six overs.

In reply, Snitterfield were propelled by excellent contributions from Richard Yendall (56), Andy Payne (32) and Andy Fitchford (50), but ultimately the visitors fell short as wickets were shared at regular intervals among the home bowlers.

A promising spell of flight and guile redolent of his father Graeme from young Lewis Couchman augured well for the summers ahead, as Snitterfield were bowled out for 178.