Lancashire toured Ilford in the 1970 County Championship to face the home team Essex at the Valentine’s Park. Lancashire was unbeaten till then having won three of the seven matches they played while another four ended in a draw. Essex also began the season with two wins in their first five matches before suffering back to back defeats including the recent most game at the Valentine’s Park.
Essex elected to bat first on winning the toss and lost both their openers to Ken Shuttleworth for six runs. Keith Fletcher rescued the hosts with a 103-run knock before he got out at the score of 211/7. Soon, Essex were eight wickets down for 232 which brought Ray East to the crease. East was a slow left-arm spinner but well known for his funny antics. One such incident was recorded in this very match.
Bowl me a nice half volley!
Ray East walked to bat and was set to face Ken Shuttleworth who had already picked up three wickets. The Essex spinner asked Shuttleworth to bowl him a half-volley as he would anyways end up missing it. “Bowl me a nice half volley, Shutt, and I’ll miss it,” whispered Ray East as he walked past Ken Shuttleworth.
Shuttleworth did bowl a half-volley which aimed at the middle and leg. East did swing the bat expecting to miss it anyways but to everyone’s surprise, he ended up getting a proper connection that sailed over the boundary for a six. Soon, Ray East knew what would be coming at him, a bouncer targeting him, after the reaction Shuttleworth gave on getting hit.
Hence, the left-arm spinner threw his bat away and flipped himself on to the ground by covering the head with his hands. The No.10 batsman did all these antics while Shuttleworth was in his delivery stride. East did in hope of making the Lancashire pacer trickle in laughter and abort the run-up. However, Shuttleworth completed the delivery and made the ball fly well over Ray East.
Lancashire hold on to a draw!
Ken Shuttleworth finished with a 4-wicket haul as Essex were bundled out for 270 but East remained unbeaten on 10. Lancashire, in reply, were bowled out for 202 as John Lever and Ray East picked up four and three wickets respectively. Shuttleworth was the pick of Lancashire bowlers in the second essay as well. He claimed three wickets while Essex declared their innings at 203/7.
Lancashire was set a target of 272 in about two sessions. The duo of Lever and East caused the damage with the ball once again sharing seven wickets between them. Ray East, especially, was tight with the lines he bowled as he ended up with bowling figures of 12-10-5-3. As a result, the visitors were reduced to 102/9 but managed to escape from a defeat with just a wicket in hand.
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