Club game sparks spirit of cricket debate

An incident from a club game in Scotland has gone viral on social media, and sparked a debate over the dead ball law

The match in question, between Falkland CC and Carlton CC at Scroggie Park near Lomond Hills, took place last Saturday (June 8). Chasing 115 after bowling their opposition out, Carlton were 36-3 in the ninth over, with Christopher McBride and Arun Pillai at the crease.

A controversial run out

McBride was facing up to a ball from pacer Ethan Frosler, which he played at and missed, the ball going through to the keeper. After the keeper took the ball he threw it straight to second slip, starting the process of returning the ball to the bowler. McBride then started to walk out of his crease, but looked behind as he moved forward. 

The second slip fielder, Kyle Jacobs, threw the ball towards McBride's stumps. The ball hit the stumps as McBride left his ground and the fielding side appealed for a run out, with all the slips running towards the wicket in unison. After a prolonged appeal, the umpire gave McBride out, to protests from the batter. 

Dead ball or not?

While questions have been raised over whether this type of dismissal is within the spirit of the game, they have also been raised over whether the ball should've been called dead before the fielder threw it or not. 

MCC law 20.1.1 states that: "The ball becomes dead when it's finally settled in the hands of the wicketkeeper or of the bowler."

This is followed by law 20.1.2 which states: "The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler's end umpire that the fielding side and both batters at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play."

Under this law, the ball could be considered to be still 'live' because the fielding side clearly regarded it as still in play, even after it had settled in the hands of the keeper.

This is corroborated by law 20.2, which states: "Whether the ball is finally settled or not is not a matter for the umpire alone to decide."

Thus, the Falkland fielders could have regarded the ball as still not having settled, despite the keeper having taken the ball cleanly, given that it had not been returned to the bowler.

Fielding side apologises after the game

Carlton CC went on to win the match by one wicket. In response to the incident, Falkland CC posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter) apologising for the actions of the fielders. 

"The club would like to put on record a sincere apology for the unsavoury incident that occured during our recent match against Carlton," read the statement. "Our player's actions were not in keeping with the spirit of cricket, a game that prides itself on respect, fairness, and sportsmanship, which in that moment our players failed to uphold.

"We also ackowledge that we put the umpires in a very difficult position, for which we also apologise."

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