From Crisp to Butcher - the gang of four in four

Cricket Diary

Gary Butcher became the 31st player to take four wickets in successive balls last Wednesday. In all, it was the 32nd time the feat had been achieved, the 20th in England, the 17th in county matches, the second at The Oval.

Gary Butcher became the 31st player to take four wickets in successive balls last Wednesday. In all, it was the 32nd time the feat had been achieved, the 20th in England, the 17th in county matches, the second at The Oval.

What kind of man is it who can transform the fortunes of a match in a trice? Butcher, who has appeared in two Championship-winning teams, took a wicket with his first ball in the one-day league, and plays the bass guitar, joins some rum company.

Take, for starters, Robert Crisp, the only bowler in history to have twice taken four wickets in four balls. He did so for Western Province in 1931-32 and 1933-34. Crisp was one of life's swashbucklers. Born in Calcutta, he was educated in Rhodesia and had just climbed Kilimanjaro when he was selected for South Africa's 1935 tour of England. Crisp was a tank commander in the Second World War, won the DSO, founded a minority black newspaper in South Africa, tried mink farming in England, became a journalist, lived in a Greek hut, walked round Crete and died at 82 with a copy of the Sporting Life in his lap having just lost a £20 bet.

Then there was Albert Trott, whose story is ultimately sad. He took his four wickets as well as a separate hat-trick in the same innings of his benefit match at Lord's in 1907.

Trott came to England on his own account when he failed to be chosen for Australia's 1896 touring side and qualified for Middlesex. He swiftly showed his outstanding all-round abilities and was at his best in 1899 and 1900, in the first of which years he became the only man to hit a ball over the Lord's pavilion. Trott shot himself in 1914 at the age of 41 when he was terminally ill and in constant pain.

The first player to take four in four was one Joseph Wells in 1862, for Kent against Sussex at Brighton. Four years later, his son was born. He was H G Wells.

The second player was George Ulyett for Lord Harris' XI against New South Wales in Sydney in 1878-79. At the time, Ulyett probably thought much more of this than his appearance in the First Test all of two years earlier, as it had not been yet designated as such. Another man of many parts, Ulyett also kept goal for Sheffield Wednesday.

Arthur Mold features in the list, but doubt must be cast on the achievement. His action was the subject of muttering throughout his career. He was not called for throwing until 1900, but left the game for good in 1901 when he was no-balled 16 times in 10 overs.

Then there was Hal Hooker. In 1928-29 for New South Wales against Victoria he finished off the innings with a hat-trick, then took a wicket with the first ball of the follow-on, still the only man to take four in four in the Sheffield Shield.

But a month earlier in the corresponding fixture, Hooker staked a more singular and enduring claim to a place in the annals. He joined Alan Kippax at the wicket when NSW were 113 for 9 on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, before a sparse crowd, he reached 18 by lunch, 22 by tea and on Boxing Day was dismissed for 63.

Holbrook and Kippax, who made 260no, had put on 307. It remains the highest 10th-wicket partnership of all.

So, if three wickets in three balls is a hat-trick, what is the collective term for four in four? Thirty-two times in 138 years may not touch the realms of frequency, but there have now been five instances in the past 12 years.

The term hat-trick has two possible derivations. One is that a hat used to be awarded to a player who turned in a good bowling performance (not necessarily three wickets with successive balls). The other is that a hat would be passed round for a good effort and the contents (one hopes more substantial than a couple of toffees and a rolled-up peanut packet) given to the player.

Eventually, the phrase was coined and passed into common usage. It is time for four to have its own word. A "ten gallon" is a possibility. As is a "topper", both to keep the hat connection and indicate something better than a mere hat-trick. Other suggestions welcome, but the Diary has the answer. It should be named after the only man who made a habit of performing the feat. Four in four is a "crisp".

Headingley remains magical but shabby. They are spending £10m on a winter revamp which apparently involves realigning the Western Terrace, but not digging up the pitch.

BOOK MARK

There is a mild disappointment about Sir Vivian - The Definitive Autobiography (Michael Joseph, £16.99). It tells his great story honestly enough, but his ghost writer and friend, Bob Harris, does not quite capture the awesome swagger of Viv Richards. There are, though, some reminders of what we are missing and why he was one of the five cricketers of the last century.

In dismantling the character of the former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott (he uses the word "coward"), Rich-ards also refers to Glenn McGrath. Paying tribute to McGrath's ability Richards says he had better watch his antics or "one day he may meet up with the wrong individual... somebody who is bigger than him. I would have loved to have played him." Viv is in no doubt who would have won the contest.

Man in the middle

Usman Afzaal made his debut for Nottinghamshire in 1995 when he was just 18. Much promise has come and gone since those days. But Afzaal's vast potential comes ever closer to being fulfilled. He had scored three centuries at the start of this season and on Thursday he doubled that total with his third Championship hundred of the summer. This left-handed stroke-player's calmer approach was demonstrated by his refusal to be flustered when he spent no less than an hour in the nineties. He was born in Rawalpindi, went to school in Nottingham and supports Manchester United.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor