Banned bowler apologises for denying club cricketer a maiden century
A club cricketer banned for nine games after his act of bad sportsmanship denied an opponent his maiden century has apologised for his "ill-judged and impulsive decision".
Purnell Cricket Club bowler Decland Redwood threw the ball over the boundary in his delivery stride, conceding four overthrows and a no-ball - but leaving Jay Darrell high and dry on 98.
Batsman Darrell, who was playing for Minehead Second XI, was two runs short of his first hundred in last Saturday's Somerset Cricket League fixture, with his team needing five runs to win.
The Somerset Cricket League said Redwood's actions were "against the spirit of the game" and had brought cricket into disrepute.
In a statement, Redwood formally apologised to Darrell, Minehead Cricket Club, Purnell Cricket Club and the rest of his teammates.
"I take sole responsibility for the incident and emphasise that no other person was aware of my intentions in the build up to the delivery," he said.
"I acknowledge that I made an ill-judged and impulsive decision on approaching the wicket to bowl a no-ball, which resulted in a boundary and gave an unnatural ending to what was otherwise a competitive game of cricket.
"I had never played against Jay Darrell before last weekend and I was not aware at the time that he was so close to what would have been a maiden century.
"Not only did he bat brilliantly, but Jay was also very gracious in accepting my initial apology in the dressing room after the match and I thank him for that.
"In hindsight, I wish that a dead ball had been declared at the time of the incident to allow the game to continue to a more natural conclusion, however this would not have changed the nature of my actions, which I accept were not in keeping with the spirit of cricket.
"I deeply regret the incident and the embarrassment that has been brought upon the two clubs involved and also the Somerset Cricket League.
"I do not feel that this momentary lapse in judgement is a true reflection of my character, and it is certainly not representative of the culture of what is a very family-orientated village cricket club in Purnell CC."
Redwood said he was "disappointed with the severity of the ban imposed" by the league but he would not be appealing.
His actions had been condemned by the likes of TV presenter Piers Morgan and former England cricketers David Lloyd and Rob Key.
The story soon travelled well beyond the confines of the pavilion, though, with broadcaster and cricket fan Morgan taking up the issue.
Retweeting an account of the moment, he commented: "SERIOUSLY? How utterly pathetic. Shame on you @purnellcc."
Lloyd, a former England coach turned broadcaster, did likewise, succinctly describing the act as "ordinary".
It was also discussed on Sky Sports' coverage of the Vitality Blast, where former England batsman Rob Key said: "How average is that? That is appalling."