Gomersal captains hammers new league record

Wiggy’s Wham! Bam! is going to make him the man for many years to come.
Life is sweet for Gomersal skipper Richard ‘Wiggy’ Whitehurst thanks to a blockbuster of an innings that rocked Bradford League First Division leaders Pudsey St Lawrence and set a fastest fifty record – off only 11 balls – that is likely to stay top of the charts.
“After the first six balls it was a deliberate decision on my part to go for the record,” said Whitehurst. “Earlier in the season I had come close at Bankfoot, before getting out on 42 off 11 balls, and with a win from the Pudsey game out of reach I just decided to go for it.”
Watching that innings against Bankfoot was the home club’s long serving player and official Richard Peel, who set the previous record, of 50 in 16 balls, in 1997 and though current Pudsey St Lawrence skipper James Smith equalled that in 2003 Whitehurst has now set a record that might well never be beaten.
“When you think that you can’t hit 50 in less than nine balls, whatever combination you use, 11 balls is a record that could stay for a long while,” said the 34yearold Gomersal skipper.
“I have had a few personal targets in my career and that fastest 50 has always jumped out at me when I’ve looked through the Bradford League handbook over the years.
“When I went in on Saturday my first thought was to get some runs on the board and get some batting points. I hit my first ball, from Steve Watts, for four and though someone got in the way of a drive off the next the last two balls went for a four and six.
“Shazzy (Khan) got a single off the fourth ball of Chris Marsden’s over to give me back the strike and having hit the last two balls for six, to give me 26 off six, I was then stuck at the non striker’s end for two overs and we lost two more wickets.
“I was disappointed to see that any chance of winning the game had gone but when I finally got back on strike, to face Watts, I was ready to go.”
The result was 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, the latter a top edge over the wicket keeper, according to Whitehurst, his only bad shot, and a new record was in the bag. The existing 13year mark had been cut by almost a third and one of the previous holders, Smith, was stood watching and helpless to do anything about his own record equalling effort being consigned to the ‘cricket records’ waste bin.
Bankfoot’s Peel, was full of praise for Whitehurst’s effort.
“Richard was a good all rounder before back problems restricted his bowling but, as a batsman, he has always been a powerful, explosive, force,” Peel told The Press.
“I was very aware of how close he came to breaking my record in that earlier game and, to be honest, if anyone was going to break it Richard has always been a prime candidate. I have always accepted that records are there to be broken but, I have to admit, I think this one will stand a lot longer than mine!”
Whitehurst will turn his attention back to team affairs tomorrow when he takes Gomersal to Jenny Lane to face relegation rivals Baildon. The reigning First Division champions are facing the possible ignomy of winning the title and then getting relegated in successive seasons and will be desperate to pick up points.
On the other hand, Whitehurst knows that this is an opportunity to finally banish that spectre of relegation themselves – or at least pile the pressure on third bottom Yeadon who are without a game.
At the start of the season Cleckheaton’s derby clash with East Bierley, at Moorend, tomorrow might have been seen as being a critical factor in the title race but, as it happens, there is surely little more than local pride at stake?
Bierley were seen as genuine title challengers at the start of the season only to experience too many surprise ‘blips’ and they now face a 34 point deficit to overhaul. Cleckheaton, never really fancied, have remained on the fringe throughout the season and though a late run could see them make a surprise challenge the lack of that sort of consistency is why they remain on the outside looking in.

Share this post