A GAP year student-teacher from New Zealand had his first cricket season in sleepy Shropshire interrupted by an umpiring incident that led to police involvement and the abandonment of a match, making news around the world.
The Shropshire Star reported that a dismissal appeal against Rhys McCarthy was controversially turned down in a third-team Shropshire League Division Three game between Oswestry and Whitchurch on May 22, and play was abandoned in the day’s 17th over due to alleged fighting. The Daily Mirror published a version of the story, and this unusual incident — at least rare enough in England’s quieter shires — was widely circulated by news agencies.
McCarthy, an outstanding all-round sportsman from St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, was working in England as an assistant at Oswestry School, the venue of the match. He had motored to 84 not out, and the score had reached 128 for no wicket when he was reprieved in a bump-ball incident when apparently caught off seam bowler Chris Brothwood. An infuriated Whitchurch side subsequently refused to continue.
Neither captain would comment, but it seems clear that there was fighting that had to be broken up by West Mercia Police police officers. And McCarthy was denied the chance of a second league century in three innings. A lively start for the North Islander in England…
Dave Ralphs, of the FBC Manby Bowdler Shropshire Cricket League, said that the league’s disciplinary committee had been alerted. “I have asked for full statements from both teams and when those are received, the committee will consider the matter,” he said. “All I can say is that the game was abandoned following an incident.”