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A Controversial Win| Benson and Hedges Cup 1979

On 24 may 1979, a very strange event happened in the Benson & Hedges Cup zonal match between Somerset and Worcestershire. Here is the full story.

Last updated: 24.05.2019
Benson and Hedges Cup Somerset and Worcestershire 1979 | Sports Social Blog

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On 24th may 1979, a very strange event happened in the Benson & Hedges Cup zonal match between Somerset and Worcestershire. These were the early days of one day cricket and rules were not yet full-proofed. Hence different captains with out-of-box thinking could find the loopholes time to time and take advantages which were by the rule but not always look good from the sportsmanship angle.

Like on this day, Somerset captain Brian Rose declared after one over of batting to ensure the bowling strike rate of his team remained higher than other teams in the competition. Glamorgan and Worcestershire were in question and with wins for both they would be equal in points with Somerset. As per the rule the tie would be broken by comparing the bowling strike rate of these three teams and Rose ensured by declaring early that despite a Worcestershire victory they would not be able to pass his team with the bowling strike rate.


The match was scheduled on 23rd May, when it was washed out and players came back next day. Interestingly if Rose would have been lost the toss and sent to field this would not happen but as luck would have it, he won the toss and went on to bat for just one over from Vanburn Holder which conceded one run. He declared and after a 10 minutes break Worcestershire completed the victory in 10 balls and Glenn Turner scored the required two runs. It gave birth to a huge issue. It was a great loss for many spectators as many did not even reach the ground by the time the match was over after just 18 minutes of play. Even some of the journalists faced the same fate and there were full blown outrage in the newspaper.

Although Rose was not apologetic of his behaviour, TCCB disciplinary committee decided to expel Somerset from the championship of that year. It was unfortunate for them as they would have qualified for the next round despite a loss as the Glamorgan match was washed out.

Similar loop holes of rule came in more serious games like the one between England and West Indies where England captain Mike Brearley sent all his fielders to boundary including the keeper as the Windies required three of last ball. Even the bigger event happened in Melbourne two years back when to defend six runs off the last ball of the match. Australian captain Greg Chappell asked his brother Trevor to bowl underarm and roll the ball along the ground.

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