Howzat: The spectator takes a screamer in the thick of the crowd. Photo: Screen grabMichael Klinger and Shaun Marsh in record standWhy you can’t keep a catch at a BBL game
Etihad Stadium often plays host to spectacular high marking during winter, but on Wednesday night there was a comparable speccy taken at a Big Bash League match – by a member of the crowd.
Perth paceman Jason Behrendorff’s remarkable one-handed return catch, to remove Melbourne Renegades’ Cameron White, was relegated to the second-best take by the efforts of the man sitting on the second tier of the stadium who dived across fellow patrons to snare the chance.
West Indies enforcer Chris Gayle clubbed three sixes in making 41 for the Renegades in their 10-wicket loss to the Scorchers. The biggest of them, off veteran spinner Brad Hogg, was dispatched 99 metres over wide long-on.
The ball was set to land about two metres to the right of the spectator. Rather than be dissuaded by that, that spectator rose from his seat and flung himself to his right in pursuit of the catch.
In a season hitherto dominated by poor catching in the crowd at BBL matches, the spectator got one back for the public by claiming the chance at full stretch, while using on the heads and backs of a man and woman in front of him.
While both of the latter patrons were stoic, and seemingly uninjured, by having someone jump on them without warning, the catcher was ecstatic. After throwing the ball back on to the field of play he raised his arms in triumph.
That the spectator was took the catch while horizontal was reminiscent of the spectacular mark taken by high-flyer Warwick Capper for the Sydney Swans over Hawthorn’s Chris Langford in the 1987 qualifying final of what was then known as the Victorian Football League, now the Australian Football League.
The irreverent Capper took to Twitter to give qualified congratulations to the catcher.
“We’ve gone to the judges and mine is better! Not enough ‘Hollywood’ in his! Super effort though, mate. haha,” Capper said.
Given the spectator had to return the ball, the quality of his catch may persuade Cricket Australia to revisit a proposal to let spectators who catch a six to keep the ball, similar to baseball, or at least be given a replacement ball or some official memento after the match.
The crowd of 26,787 was a BBL record for Etihad Stadium for a match excluding derbies between the Renegades and Stars.
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