AN act of unselfish sportsmanship by North Devon cricketer Dan Bowser and his England colleague and captain has earned both of them a prestigious award.
Bowser and Chris Edwards of the England Learning Disability cricket team are joint winners of the 2018 Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award.
The duo have been recognised for their and sporting actions during England LD’s tour of the Netherlands earlier this summer.
England LD had been defeated by Netherlands Under-17s and Yorkshire Under-17s before facing Denmark Under-17s in the final of three 50-over matches in three days.
After being bowled out for 145, Denmark had reached 138 for nine when England seamer Alex Jervis thought he had found the edge. After a huge appeal, the umpire raised his finger and it appeared England had won the match.
Two England players were absent from the celebrations as Bowser, from his position at slip, had informed skipper Edwards the batsman had hit the ground rather than the ball. Edwards decided to withdraw the appeal and play subsequently restarted.
Bowser said he did not have to think about asking his captain to withdraw the appeal.
“It was a good ball from Alex and I was just about to start clapping it for ‘well bowled’ when our keeper started appealing,” said Bowser.
“There was daylight between the ball and the edge and I knew it wasn’t out so started waving my arms about to attract the umpire’s attention.
“I am not the sort of person who can win a game of cricket knowing it has not been won fairly. I knew the batsman was not out and had to say something."
Denmark added four more runs and it looked like England had missed out on victory, however Jervis found the edge again – unmistakably this time – and England won the match by three runs.
“It was the same bowler, the same batsman and the same way of getting out – and all a bit surreal,” said Bowser. “That time the batsman definitely edged it.”
Mark Costin, England LD Assistant Coach, said: “I would go so far to say that it is the best thing I have ever seen on a cricket field and I certainly have never seen such a courageous sporting gesture.
“Dan and Chris deserve the very highest recognition for what they did in that moment, under pressure with an international victory on the line, and for them to receive the CMJ Award is fantastic news.”
The award was created in 2013 by MCC and the BBC in memory of former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who was passionate about promoting the spirit of the game.
The previous winners of the award since its inception are: Wayne Madsen of Derbyshire; Sussex’s Luke Wright; Brendon McCullum for his sporting conduct as captain of New Zealand; Tom Fell of Worcestershire; and England’s Anya Shrubsole, who claimed the award last year for her sporting actions in the ICC Women’s World Cup Semi-Final against South Africa.
Bowser, who topped North Devon 1stXI’s Premier Division batting averages (54.81) and aggregates (603) last season, has been playing for England LD sides since 2013.
Winter training started last weekend with an assessment camp in Worcester. Training camps will be held throughout the close season as the squad builds for a Tri-Nations tournament in Brisbane, Australia in October 2019.