August 29, 1977. Two days ahead of the eighth anniversary of the day Garry Sobers hit him for six sixes in an over, Malcolm Nash of Glamorgan got pummelled yet again. Arunabha Sengupta remembers the day when Lancashire’s Frank Hayes struck him for 34 runs in another unfortunate over.
Here were two men, their careers brutally stamped and sealed by West Indians.
Make no mistake. Malcolm Nash was an extremely successful bowler by county standards, the very best for Glamorgan in his day. He ended his career with 993 wickets at 25.87 the scalps mostly earned with his left-arm medium fast bowling. He also scored over 7,000 runs with two hundreds. Yet, he is remembered for the eternal stigma of having been hit for six sixes in an over by the great Garry Sobers.
And on the other hand, Frank Hayes was a stylish, elegant Lancashire batsman who played nine Tests for England. He scored a hundred on debut too — prompting British author Jilly Cooper to exclaim, “I wouldn’t mind making Hayes while the sun shines.” Unfortunately, the threatening clouds were not that far away, and all the nine matches were played against a supremely strong West Indian side. After getting 122 runs in his first Test, he scored exactly the same number of runs in his remaining eight, at 8.13 with six blobs. When Viv Richards caught him off Andy Roberts for a dazed duck at Headingley, his Test career was over.
When these two men met at Swansea in late August 1977, both were seasoned campaigners Hayes was enjoying his best ever season, as he piled up 1152 runs at 50.08. He seemed to have forgotten the nightmarish sequence of 0, 18, 7 and 0 against the West Indies the previous summer. It was also an excellent year with the ball for Nash, who captured 81 wickets at 24.32. The humiliation of 1968 looked like a forgotten blot way back in the past.
There was an even exchange of blows early on at St Helen’s. The hosts were bowled out for 217 thanks to some accurate off-breaks from Jack Simmons. In response, Barry Wood flourished and Lancashire progressed to 130 for one at the end of the first day. However, when the sides played each other in the John Player’s League on Sunday, it was Gwyn Richards of Glamorgan who bowled his side to a 51 run win with five wickets. Neither Nash nor Hayes had a particularly memorable outing.
On Monday, the county match resumed and Hayes walked in with the score on 155 for two. Crossing 1,000 runs for the county championship when on 12, Hayes batted fluently and along with Wood he took the score past the Glamorgan total. Nash came on for a new spell with Lancashire looking for quick runs. And Hayes launched into the bowling.
Standing capless, the wind sending ripples across his blonde hair, the audacious green Mohican dangling from his ear, Hayes rocked on to the backfoot and swung hard. And he kept swinging, after a momentary pause to drive the second ball along the ground. It was two days from the eighth anniversary of the Sobers assault and now Hayes hit Nash for 6,4,6,6,6,6. Thirty-four in an over.
Nash, who had kept his line and length impeccable throughout the innings, now went into the lonely outfield with 71 runs conceded from 15 overs, almost half of them hurtling through in one. And Hayes, having completed his hundred, tried to swing Alan Wilkins into the stands and was bowled.
Glamorgan 217 (Jack Simmons 6 for 74) and 105 for 3 drew with Lancashire 362 for 3 decl. (Barry Wood 155*, Frank Hayes 119).
(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twiter.com/senantix)