Almanac Cricket: A catch to remember, 23 years on

Throughout the history of cricket, there have been so many breathtaking catches that it is hard to remember many particular ones.

 

But there’s one that always sticks first and foremost in my mind, as I still rate it as the best catch I’ve ever seen in the wonderful game of cricket.

 

It’s 23 years to the day since the catch took place. I was at the Gabba to witness it, just shy of my 15th birthday as I approached the end of Year 10.

 

The Queensland Bulls and NSW Blues squared off in a Mercantile Mutual Cup match, with both teams featuring many internationals. The Bulls were dismissed for 230 in the 48th over before the Blues scraped home by one wicket with four balls to spare, thanks largely to an unbeaten 65 from Michael Bevan who hit the winning runs. But the highlight was THAT catch, in the 48th over of the run chase.

 

Phil Emery lofted a Scott Prestwidge delivery towards long on where Adam Dale ran nearly 10 metres and hurled himself through the air before plucking the ball one-handed. I was sitting in the upper tier of the grandstand at the Vulture Street End, while the catch took place at the Stanley Street End in front of the old Clem Jones Stand.

 

 

 

 

Some moments remain forever etched in one’s memory. Bevan’s last-ball four to pull off an impossible victory for Australia against the West Indies on New Year’s Day in 1996 was one such moment. Another for me was Adam Dale’s catch.

 

See below a few other classic catches that remain etched in my memory, and are perhaps in the top 5 or 10 best catches I’ve ever seen, without any thought that I could rate any of them above Dale’s dazzler on October 12, 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another catch which others may think of was Mark Taylor’s juggling effort which involved kicking the ball.

 

 

But I personally think it makes no sense whatsoever to call this a classic catch. After all, it was an absolute sitter which should have been taken cleanly. It would have been a shocker had Taylor dropped the chance. Perhaps it could be said that it was a good recovery from Taylor. But a classic catch? Never.

 

Anyway, I’d be open to hear any thoughts from anyone as to what they rate as the best cricket catch(es) they’ve seen. For me, Adam Dale tops the list.

 

 

 

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About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 35 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.

Comments

  1. Liam, I remember being there with you to see Dale’s catch. It was a screamer! My personal favourite is Dyson’s for distance covered, judgement and the soccer goalie’s leap, eventually so we’ll judged that it was a two-handed catch.

    McGrath at deep square leg at Adelaide Oval is another that comes to mind.

  2. Not bad at all Liam, well worth recognising on the 23rd anniversary!

    Here’s a more recent effort worth checking out: https://twitter.com/NewsCorpCricket/status/1314010207467438080

    If you remember the Dizzy and Tugga incident then it takes on yet another perspective – luckily for all parties he had enough room to complete the catch!

  3. I was there too – remember it well! Thought Adam Dale was a really solid cricketer, always liked him. Go the Bulls!

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Liam, well remember watching this on TV. Brilliant catch. Adam Dale a really good cricketer. Took big wickets.

    Loved the Mercantile Mutual Cup, peak state cricket for my age group. Scott Prestwidge, what a fine state cricketer, especially in the white ball format.

  5. Liam- this was a ripper. How about Glenn McGrath diving on the mid-wicket fence at Adelaide Oval to claim Michael Vaughan off SK Warne? It didn’t even seem like a chance until he somehow caught it.

  6. Liam Hauser says

    Good to hear from you Ian, Jarrod, Jan, Luke and Mickey.

    McGrath’s catch at deep square leg in the Adelaide Ashes Test in late 2002 was certainly a blinder, but I don’t rate it above Mark Taylor’s spectacular one-handed slips catch to account for Keith Arthurton in a one-dayer in late 1992. Taylor’s catch made a definitive impact on me as a 10-year-old, whereas I was 20 when McGrath took his brilliant catch. Not sure if the age gap made any difference to me. Then again, it’s impossible to compare a slips catch to an outfield catch. Paul Vautin’s one-handed dive in the outfield was also a pearler, in the Allan Border Tribute match at the Gabba in late 1993.

    Jarrod, it was interesting to see the running and diving caught-and-bowled, as shown on Twitter. And yes, I remember the Steve Waugh-Jason Gillespie collision. I also remember a similar collision involving Wade Seccombe and Dirk Tazelaar in a Sheffield Shield match at the Gabba in early 1995. Seccombe sustained a broken collarbone while Tazelaar injured his knee. Somehow, among the wreckage, Tazelaar held the catch!

    Jan, I was also a fan of Adam Dale even without thinking of my favourite catch. He was a superb bowler: consistent, economical and a wicket-taker. Another strong recollection of Dale was his 1-11 off 10 miserly overs against Western Australia in the 1995-96 Mercantile Mutual Cup final at the Gabba. Justin Langer was tied down in particular.

  7. Liam Hauser says

    Luke,
    I also really enjoyed watching the state one-day games in the 1990s in particular. Interestingly, Scott Prestwidge was temporarily the leading wicket-taker in the competition’s history. The player who eventually replaced Prestwidge in the Queensland team in January 2001 – James Hopes – later became the competition’s leading wicket-taker. Prestwidge was Queensland’s leading wicket-taker in the Mercantile Mutual Cup for four successive seasons from 1995-96, yet it’s bizarre that he made only three first-class appearances: against India and NSW in 1991-92, and against England A in 1996-97. I could never understand why he was picked for only one Sheffield Shield match. Even after taking a five-wicket haul in a one-dayer in Perth in January 1999, he was omitted from the squad for a Shield game starting the next day! I vividly remember Prestwidge’s career highlight: the 1997-98 MMC final (just over 4 months after Dale’s phenomenal catch). NSW had gone through the MMC season undefeated, and hosted the final at the SCG. Prestwidge and Andy Bichel each took 3-25 as NSW was bowled out for 166. At 5-40 and later 7-104, Queensland was in huge trouble despite a small target. Enter Prestwidge, a former Bankstown boy who moved to Queensland aged 22 in 1990. He rode his luck at times as Anthony Stuart bowled superbly. Bichel made 30 in a match-turning 55-run stand for the eighth wicket, but the hero was Prestwidge. After Bichel’s dismissal, Prestwidge squirted a streaky boundary to third man and then drove another four to long-off to finish triumphant, on 42 not out.

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