Alan Revill


In the annals of the County cricket greats, the name of Alan Revill will always hold a special place. And it’s not only down to the fact that the right hander amassed a whopping 15,000 first-class runs in what were often testing conditions long before cricket became a sport that heavily sided with batsmen, but also because of his proclivity to hit fifties and hundreds.

You know a batsman is great when he scores lots of runs, but you know someone is truly special when his important runs manifest  in regular hundreds and fifties.

With 16 centuries and 80 fifties, Alan Revill was no slacker with the bat. A Derbyshire legend who starred for the outfit for well over a decade, Alan Revill also happened to contest for the great Leicestershire outfit in his latter half of the career.

But on June 3, 1953, he would encounter a rather strange day in his cricketing career, a journey that was punctuated by no fewer than 387 First-Class games.

Let that number sink in.

Though it must be said in no uncertain terms tackling Surrey in those halcyon days of the 1950s was a challenge for batsmen that was about as stern as climbing the Mount Titlis barefooted.

If there was one County side you didn’t want to square up against with a bat in hand, then it was Surrey. Why? The majestic outfit were the winners of seven back-to-back championships from the onset of 1952.

So in 1953, they were only getting started to attack opponents with a vehemence previously unseen in the annals of County cricket.

And at the Kennington Oval, the quartet of Bedser, Surridge, Lock and Laker would come down heavily on a Derbyshire powered by talented wallowers like Charlie Elliot and Arnold Hamer.

But if in case, one was wondering why was it that the Surrey bowling attack was such an arduous challenge to face, then perhaps staring at the quartet’s first-class wicket stacks would offer an answer.

By the time they ended their first-class careers, the likes of Lock, Laker, Sunridge and Bedser finished with over 7,000 first-class wickets.

Their mountain of wickets would supersede the length of the Eiffel Tower, you could say.

Winning the toss and deciding to bat, a decision which would eventually come to haunt the losers of the 3-day game, Derbyshire walked in never suspecting the ridiculousness that would haunt their batsmen.

While Lock and Laker were massive turners of the ball, facing the new ball with the mighty Alec Bedser was never going to be an easy challenge anyways.

That said, the veteran Elliot was dismissed for just eight by Surridge with Arnold Hamer at the other end when in walked #3 Guy Willatt.

The score read- 15 for 1 with the team having to rebuild early on.

Alan Revill
EspnCricinfo archives

But there was trouble as Lock was introduced into the attack. Together with Alec Bedser from an end and Lock from the other, the runs were hard to come by.

After a hard-fought 35-run stand, imagine the pressure it may have come in, Lock removed Hamer, with Sunridge taking a sharp catch.

That meant that the next man in was none other than Derbyshire legend Alan Revill.

He was early into the crease against the famous right-arm medium pacer Alec Victor Bedser.

This is where something starkly believable and rather amusing occurred.

After having only taken his single and just opened his account, little did Alan Revill know what was to come.

A delivery perfectly pitched short of good length induced the right-hander to rock back to the blackfoot to offer a defensive shot.

But he’d be struck by a painful blow, which resulted in major contact with his right glove. Anguished by the pain, he shook his right hand and took his hand off the bat’s handle.

But to his utter surprise he found the bowling side appealing to the umpire chiding for a dismissal.

What had happened?

Little did Alan Revill realise that upon shrugging his right hand, having met with cramping pain, his glove had gone on to crash onto the stumps.

This only meant he was certainly out hit-wicket.

What eventually followed was a brilliant spell of bowling with raw medium pace and off spin working in tandem to skittle out Derbyshire for a lowly 107. Was that ever going to be enough.

The damage had been done as the triumvirate of Laker, Lock and Bedser had affected 1, 3 and 5 wickets, respectively.

There was a reason they were touted as the huge heroes of County cricket. In that first inning alone, they accounted for 9 wickets among them.

Eventually, Surrey would win the match leaving Alan Revill reviled at what had happened to him.


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