Nash and Sobers

It’s one of the most famous overs ever captured by the TV cameras – six deliveries of left-arm spin by Glamorgan’s Malcolm Nash against Garry Sobers on August 31st, 1968.

The West Indian’s explosive salvo came as Nottinghamshire were looking to declare on the opening day of their Championship match at St. Helen’s, and under the eye of a BBC camera crew who were using the match as part of their training. With the visitors moving towards their declaration, Nash returned to the attack. He could have been forgiven for switching back to his normal style as the first two balls disappeared high over the heads of the mid-wicket fielders and into the crowd sitting in the enclosures, before the third delivery – pushed a little wider on the off-side – was driven over long-off and into the Pavilion enclosure.

Malcolm Nash (centre) flanked by Garry Sobers and BBC Wales news anchor Brian Hoey. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Nash then dropped the fourth ball a little bit shorter, but Sobers rocked onto the backfoot, and pulled it for another six. The fifth ball was on a good length around off stump, with Sobers playing a lofted straight drive, but this time, he failed to fully connect as Roger Davis on the long-off boundary caught the ball before tumbling backwards over the ropes. The MCC had brought in a new regulation regarding such situations at the start of the 1968 season, stating that a fielder had to remain within the playing area for a catch to be made, so after a quick chat, the umpires signalled another six.

Had it been the previous summer, Sobers would have been out but he remained in the middle and struck the last ball like a rocket high over mid-wicket for his sixth six and a place in the cricket record books. By luck, his efforts had been captured by the BBC cameras but only after the producer, in consultation with commentator Wilf Wooller, had opted to continue filming after the scheduled transmission had ended.

Rather than giving his staff a rest, the producer told the crew to continue recording events with a relay technician in the Vale of Glamorgan also being persuaded not to go on his scheduled break. The result was five minutes or so of black and white footage, plus the emotive commentary from Wooller who, on seeing Sobers’ final six, came out with the immortal line “and the ball has gone all the way down to Swansea!”

The TV gantry at Swansea where the historic BBC footage was captured as Garry Sobers became the first man to hit six sixes in an over in a major match. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

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