'Awesome' Erasmus brings an end to the longest game
EAST Lancashire professional Ockert Erasmus admitted it was “just awesome” as his astonishing bowling display finally brought the curtain down on a record breaking Worsley Cup quarter-final with Enfield.
On the 12th playing day of the showdown, 33 days after it should have been played, Erasmus gave a game that has caught the eye of cricket’s bible Wisden a fairytale finish with a hat-trick in a triple-wicket maiden to pull his side from the brink of defeat as they got home in the Thursday twilight by just 11 runs.
With Enfield needing just 15 from three overs with four wickets left, they were red-hot favourites to book the home semi-final with Lowerhouse when the South African spinner, watched by his holidaying parents and sister, produced his over of magic.
With the first ball of the 47th over, Erasmus deceived Asif Fazal and held a sharp return catch off a leading edge before bowling both David Bracewell and Ash Gowers with bewildering spinning deliveries to change the game with his high pressure hat-trick.
David Turner then bowled Hassan Fazal in the final over to put East Lancashire through and leave Erasmus smiling.
“From where we started the game and with all that happened over the course of it and then to go and finish the match off like that, it is just awesome,” said Erasmus.
Earlier Erasmus appeared to have given East Lancs a step into the semi-finals when his fellow countryman and Enfield professional Werner Coetsee was brilliantly stumped off a leg side wide by David Pearson with the score on 130.
They needed an unlikely 75 from 18 overs at that point and only had 10 men as Keith Barker, who started the game, was unavailable.
But The Fazal brothers batted superbly to share a 60-run stand to seemingly put Enfield into the last four until Erasmus struck.
Mini Bhada’s 61 and John Turner’s 53 had been the cornerstone of the East Lancashire innings as they posted 204-6 over four very much truncated days of batting.
After the tie was rained off completely on June 9, 16 and 24, play eventually started on June 30 at Alexandra Meadows - but only 3.4 overs were possible before the rain came down.
That meant it had to continue on evenings - but there was no play possible on Monday, July 2, and while there was play the day after as East Lancs managed to reach 48-1 before the umpires ruled that underfoot conditions were unfit.
Rain prevented any play on July 4 or 5 and the game went on to this week.
But Monday’s action was washed out leaving the Lancashire League executive committee to make the decision to switch the tie to Dill Hall Lane but with the game continuing from its current position.
It was rained off again on Tuesday before resuming on Wednesday with East Lancashire posting their total and Enfield reaching 37-1 in their reply before time was called to set up Thursday’s drama.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Erasmus. “I have never known anything like it - I thought we were going for the world record at one point.”