The Catch

Mystics versus Pencarrow at Pencarrow House, 31st July 2017

Yes, it seems to me that this game will be remembered chiefly for one defining moment: "Oh you remember, it was that game where Sam took that catch." Or possibly the whole tour will be remembered as such: "Oh you remember, it was that tour where Sam took that catch." Maybe the fixture too: "Oh you remember, it was that ground where Sam took that catch." Those who saw this catch have yet to fully realise that they have. But there were some people in the world who didn't: Paul Enoch for example has never even met a Mystic let alone come to see the Pencarrow match 2017. And it is for people such as Paul Enoch to whom I have to describe this.

Will Wagstaffe, who sounds so much like a Harry Potter character it's embarrassing, was the Pencarrow batter and was looking comfortable on 24. Will Thornton was the bowler in his first Mystic match.

(Incidentally Will very nearly didn't make it to the game:

"Text Message from Fraser Chave to Will Thornton 12:50 31/07/2017

'Just watched you drive straight past'"

I'd agreed to meet Will outside the Slades House Country Inn at 12:30. He was late and he drove right past. I then spent the next half an hour waiting for him to come back before we gave up and travelled to the ground. I then got a phone call in which Will informed me that he was sat in his car listening to The Archers, it transpires that he'd realised he'd driven past but before he could turn around his exhaust pipe had fallen off. Eventually he arrived and eventually he bowled and this directly led to the catch.)

It was the third ball of Will's second over and it wasn't a great ball. Will "Waggle" Wagstaff whipped his magic wand and the ball flew over the boundary.

At least that's how it should have happened.

But something a bit unexpected happened instead. As the ball was heading towards being a six, Sam Cook traversed around 10 metres of boundary rope. As the ball was flying over his head, Sam Cook dived two his left, like an enthusiastic goalkeeper, high and far with both arms outstretched. At this point the ball seemed to disappear and everyone assumed it had gone for six. But Sam jumped up from the floor right hand clutching the ball that surely he couldn't have caught. It slowly dawned upon the crowd that he had in fact caught the ball and shock was felt by all.

As the Mystics congregated around Sam, Will "Waggle" Wagstaff glanced at the umpire, who happened to be me, as if to say "surely not" before slowly making his way to the pavilion, his arrival there captured forever in photographic form.

Alas my simple description can surely not be enough to portray this catch sensibly. So I called upon some Mystic friends to have a go. Hopefully a collage of the feelings of those who were there will be enough:

"Let's see what it was like... it seemed... it was if he's been in the air forever... part of the atmosphere. That's what it was like, I turned around and it seemed like he was in the air for 10 seconds... it was amazing" -- Will Thornton

"I just remember hearing their team saying they've watched cricket for 40 years and they've never seen a catch like that... (to Duncan) some of your catches have been like that" -- Annie Chave

"It was better than Chris Cook's catch on the Erratics tour... I think in the area of Cook family politics that is the most important thing... it was other-worldly, I think those were the words I used at the time... it wasn't like a catch you'd ever see a cricketer make" -- Mark Hailwood

"Well, I was scoring and a long, long way away. My mental processes went something like this: 'Ooh, Waggle's hit that well. Six.' 'What's Sam doing jumping at that. It'll clear him by yards.' 'Told you.' 'I wonder why Choccie Will is looking so happy about being hit for six.' 'And the other fielders are looking a bit like they've just seen something amazing and wonderful. I wonder what's happened. Did Chris Ferro just tell a dirty joke? Or did Tony Baden complete a triple salchow?' 'Now why's Waggle Wagstaff walking off shaking his head? Has it started raining already?' 'What do you mean Sam took the catch?'" -- Jim Thomson

"Unbelievable, Jeff" -- Neil Hadley

"It was alright" -- Ben Youngman

Admittedly I didn't ask Neil or Ben for quotes but I thought these were reasonable estimates of their reactions.

And then it rained.

Fraser Chave

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