Monthly Archives: September 2011

George Best wonder goal, San Jose Earthquakes, 1981

Beat this for close control!

The legendarily brave Brian Close

A tribute (after a drunken cricket conversation in a pub) to Brian Close, Yorkshire, England & Somerset cricketer, legendarily brave batsman and short leg fielder, the man who said that a cricket ball can’t hurt you “because it’s only on you for a second”.

He is also the man responsible for one of the more unusual first-class dismissals: In a game between Gloucestershire and Yorkshire, Martin Young was caught at slip by Phil Sharpe after it ricocheted off Brian Close’s forehead. Close was at short-leg, and as he was hit, he shouted, “Catch it!” When his team-mates enquired what would have happened had it hit him a little lower, Close said, “H’d have been caught in t’gully.”.

And here he is in one of his finest (but cricket’s most regretful) incidents:

Michael Holding batters Brian Close, Old Trafford 1976

Close opened with the 39-year-old John Edrich. Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Wayne Daniel, a trio of fast bowlers, pounded them for two and a half hours. It was one of the most brutal displays of fast bowling ever seen. Wisden said, “Close and Edrich defended their wickets and themselves against fast bowling, which was frequently too wild and hostile to be acceptable”. Close himself said, “It must have been the worst wicket I experienced in Test cricket. The faster the West Indians bowled the worse it got because the balls broke through the surface of the wicket. They exploded and flew at you.” With this innings of 20 runs off 108 balls in 162 minutes Close completed his Test career, under a vicious barrage, standing tall and taking the damage as he had against the West Indies at Lord’s 13 years earlier. After that, both Close and Edrich were dropped for the fourth Test. The interval between Close’s first and last Test matches was 27 years, the second-longest after Wilfred Rhodes.”