David Gower’s biggest match - Andrew Noakes - Motoring Writer

A historical curio, this: the first bit of paid-for journalism I ever wrote, for the news pages of The Cricketer International magazine, July 1989.

It's been part of the paper-based portfolio I show to potential clients and employers ever since, and there's a story attached to it which I often tell my students - so it's about time it appears within these pages:

David Gower put in some extra practice before the Texaco One-Day Internationals by playing in a charity cricket match at Loughborough University.

The event, organized by the Student Union's Rag campaign, was an attempt to set a record for the biggest cricket match ever held. Gower went in just after midday, a little lower in the order than his customary three or four… - roughly 300th, in fact.

The England captain faced two overs, the first by Hasmukh Meta from the Royal National Institute for the Blind College in Loughborough. With the help of a fielder behind the wicket-keeper clapping so that he could judge length and direction by ear, Meta bowled an oversized ball with remarkable accuracy and although Gower's wicket was never in any danger he found scoring difficult.

The second over, by Jon Shepard of the Student Union Cricket Club, gave Gower a chance to entertain the fascinated crowd with some impressive stroke play, and it appeared that Leicestershire's most stylish batsman had to temper his enthusiasm with a respect for passing cars on the nearby Ashby Road.

891 competitors took part in the game, the eleven fielders and two batsmen all playing two overs. Three runs were deducted from the score if a wicket fell.

The day-long game - fully documented by Ian Bancroft of the LSU CC for submission to the Guinnesss Book of Records - ended with the Reds beating the Greens by 460 runs to 352.

Over £5000 was raised for Sport Aid, adding to nearly £140,000 raised for charity by Loughborough students this year.

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