Accrington Cricket Club

Accrington 166, Ramsbottom 164-8
Matthew Brown Worsley Cup Round 1
12th May 1991

Accrington 1991
Accrington 1st XI 1991
Shane Warne came to global attention when he produced the 'ball of the century' to dismiss Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes Series, but a little known fact is that a corner of England had already experienced a taste of the magic of Warne two years previously. As a young unknown leg spinner from Victoria, Shane Keith Warne was signed by Lancashire League side Accrington as professional in 1991. At this point in his career, Warne had just 1 First-class wicket to his name from his only senior match up to that point. One particular match stands out from that season. Accrington entertained Ramsbottom in the 1st Round of the Matthew Brown Worsley Cup. Accrington won the toss and batted first. After an opening stand of 42 between skipper Andy Barker (15) and Mick Marsh (26), the home side were struggling at 72-5 when a 6th wicket stand between Paul Barratt (30) and Mick Wilson (19), in a rare appearance, put on 49 to take the home side well past the 100 mark. A late flourish by Mark Stevenson (17) and Mark Greenhalgh (23) took Accrington to 166 all out. Jonathan Fielding took 4-32 and Andy Taylor 3-50 for Ramsbottom. Ramsbottom began well with openers Ian Bell and Steve Ashworth putting on 78 before Warne trapped Ashworth leg before for 39. Richard Heaton joined Bell and took the score to 94 after 28 overs. After trying five different bowlers, Barker turned in desperation to Nick Marsh who had never before taken a wicket at senior level. Marsh obliged by having Bell caught behind by Mick Wilson off his very first ball for 43. Rain intervened and play closed at 107-2 after 32 overs. Play resumed on the following evening with Ramsbottom needing 60 runs to win off 18 overs with 8 wickets remaining. Martin Whittle dismissed Jack Simpson for 19 in the 39th over with the score on 126 and then he had Heaton caught by Barratt for 14, just one run later. Warne then had Brian Taylor stumped by Wilson without scoring as 126-2 had suddenly became 127-5 with professional Rudi Bryson and Steve Dearden at the crease. This pair had put on 19 when Warne clean bowled Bryson for 15. Next to go was Dearden, caught by Barker off Warne for 9 which left 14 still needed off 13 balls. Paul Seedle conceded four off the penultimate over which meant that 10 were needed off what would prove to be the most eventful over of the match.

Wicketkeeper Mick Wilson takes up the story: "It was a Monday night and I had been working all day after playing on Sunday, so I was very tired. They went into the last over which Shane was to bowl, needing 10 to win. There was a leg bye off the first ball which brought Jonathan Fielding on strike. He charged down the wicket and missed the ball completely. The ball spun right up out of my gloves at shoulder height, giving him the chance to get back. Exactly the same thing happened next ball. "Off the fourth ball he charged down the wicket again but this time he connected and hit it for six, which meant Ramsbottom needed three to win off two balls. Shane put the fifth ball in exactly the same place, Fielding charged down again and missed the ball but this time I stumped him. "The captain Maurice Haslam came in for the final ball with three still needed. All sorts of things went through my head. I had taken two stumpings, but I had also missed two, so I had to decide whether to stay standing up or to stand back. I decided to stay where I was. Haslam tried to clip the ball round, but he missed it and we won the game."

Captain Andy Barker remembered the match: "We were in a transitional period. We had had two very good years previously with a very strong side, but a lot of players had left and we had a very young pro' in Shane Warne, who was only 19 at the time. "It was a game played over two days. We won the toss and batted. We got a mediocre score but we managed to grab a couple of wickets before it rained. I desperation I turned to Nick Marsh, who set it up. He was not a regular bowler but I threw him the ball. I had a chat with Shane – I said we need to get a breakthrough, we won’t finish tonight so we will have to start again. Shane was bowling really well without any luck, partly because nobody could play him, but also because it was one of those days when the ball didn’t go to hand. Martin Whittle and Nick Marsh got us back into the game. Nick got Ian Bell out which was a big wicket for us then Shane came back and bowled really well. He said ‘Don’t worry about this end, I’ll look after it, just make sure we can control the other end.