12 SEPTEMBER 1963, Page 9

Knock - out The closing stages of Sussex v. Worcestershire at Lord's

on Saturday, played out in Stygian gloom and steadily descending rain, had mem- bers in the pavilion leaping up and down in their seats and shouting themselves hoarse. The two successive balls by Snow, the young Sussex fast bowler, which wrecked the wickets of Gifford and Flavell when Worcester were thirty-six runs short with three wickets and ten overs left, fol- lowed by the superb last-ditch defiance of Booth, the Worcester wicketkeeper and number seven, brought things up to an almost unbearable pitch of excitement. In a normal championship game the players would have packed it in for the day long before, but here an appeal against the light and deferment of the remainder of the game until Monday were unthinkable: for everyone, players, umpires, spectators, the issue had been irrevocably joined and must be settled by night- fall, or if necessary after it. The game was mean- ingful and gripping from the first ball bowled. This was no question of staging a jamboree and playing down to the public. It is simply that in the framework of one-day cricket everything looks different. The game is willy-nilly a con- test. It tends to stimulate free scoring (and the liberating effect it has had on certain batsmen who suddenly discover they can play strokes is one of its justifications) but when it doesn't it gives a totally new twist to characteristics which are the bane of three-day matches. Apart from the West Indians, nothing so encouraging has hap- pened.to English cricket for years.