Club Cricket Conference

Sunday, 25th August 2019

Churchill-Coleman makes most of mismatch with 39 sixes

By Charles Randall

12 July 2018

The treble hundred by Ollie Churchill-Coleman for Irthlingborough Town CC third team in the lower reaches of the Northamptonshire League contained 39 sixes,  an impressive  effort not without controversy.

His 303 not out against Horton House fourth team in Division 11 was the first treble in the league and eclipsed the previous highest score of 266 by Craig Chambers, of Oundle Town, 12 years ago.  But there was a feeling  Churchill-Coleman had gone too far against a callow bowling attack, including a 13 year-old.

The short Foxfield boundary was peppered, producing some grisly bowling analyses and confusing the scorers. The book seemed to suggest 299 until an unrecorded four was discovered after Irthlingborough had declared at 432-7 from 34 overs, well short of the full allocation.  Horton House were dismissed for 71 in reply.

There was a school of thought that  the burly Churchill-Coleman, a batsman otherwise of little note, should have been content with 200 or so before pulling out against such weak bowling. Would the younger impressionable opponents be scarred for life by the humilating experience?

On the other hand Irthlingborough could only play the side taking the field against them. Three early wickets were lost before  Churchill-Coleman started taking the bowling apart, and opportunities for a giant score happen very rarely, if at all, for most players.

A haul of 39 sixes might be unprecendented anywhere, though the Pakistan A batsman Shahzad Malik hit 37 sixes for the Hertfordshire home club Langleybury against Middlesex Tamils in the Bertie Joel Cup in 2005. Malik scored 403 in a 45-over total of 563-2.

Colin Munro claimed the first class record in 2015 when he hit 23 sixes on his way to  281 for Auckland against Central Districts at Napier.

On the subject of unusual matches, the BBC gave much prominence to a remarkable collapse by High Wycombe in their two-run defeat by Peterborough Town in the National Club Championship. They lost seven wickets in two overs for one run trying to make the three runs required for victory and the last 16.

Second-team seamer Kieran Jones took four wickets in four balls at the start of the penultimate  over - three caught behind - and teenager Danyaal Malik claimed the final three wickets in the last over, bowling the last man with one ball remaining. High Wycombe's captain Nathan Hawkes was allowed a single before being stranded on 59 not out.

Peterborough's captain David Clarke told BBC Sport: "We were just playing the game out. A lot of their side had packed their kit up and were ready for the two-hour drive home. I don't think anyone could have expected what happened in the end. The guys coming in at nine, 10 and 11 were rushing around to get their pads on. I don't think they were ready mentally when they came in."

Hawkes said: "Needing three runs off 12 balls with seven wickets in hand, you ought to be able to get that. It was bizarre. There was some uneven bounce and a bit of turn, but from my point of view, it was a little bit embarrassing."