Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Blanch Discovers Short Ball as New Weapon in Armoury Bounced; Blanch Set to Keep It Short

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Blanch Discovers Short Ball as New Weapon in Armoury Bounced; Blanch Set to Keep It Short

Article excerpt

Byline: sport editor sport@dailyexaminer.com.au

ALL three round four Sheffield Shield cricket matches were abandoned yesterday as Australia's domestic cricketers rallied behind former North Coast batsman Phil Hughes, who remains critically ill after being struck by a bouncer on Tuesday.

Should this incident prompt rule changes to short-pitched bowling within an increasingly safety-conscious sporting landscape?

One commonly asked question from non-cricket fans was posed by Grafton Redmen president Craig Howe on Facebook yesterday - "Head high tackles are banned in contact sports so why not ban head high bowling in cricket?"

Westlawn fast bowler Nathan Blanch is the current 2014/15 CRCA Premier League leading wicket taker with 26. He received his captain's praise this week for a particularly well-directed bouncer that claimed the wicket of Tucabia-Copmanhurst's Matt Pigg on Sunday.

Westlawn's Pat Vidler said the Tucabia batsman was "looking good" before "Nathan got him with a good bouncer".

Pigg holed out to Simon Wilson for 13 and Westlawn went on to win by 59 runs.

"Nathan's been trying the short ball a bit more often and bowling it well," Vidler said.

Quick without being express, Blanch stumbled upon the short ball as a new weapon in his armoury almost by mistake earlier this season.

"In the first or second game I bowled one accidentally and it got up," Blanch said.

"So I started trying to bowl it and it's got a few wickets for me.

"I tried a few last week and got Piggy with a good one.

"Sunday was probably the quickest I've bowled this year. It might be catching them by surprise."

Blanch said he has never hit a batsman in the head and wasn't about to change his tactics.

Indeed, he claims the only player ever forced to retire hurt as a result of his bowling was earlier this season when GDSC Easts batsman Lewis Chevalley was painfully struck in a lower region of the body.

"You don't go out to hurt someone," Blanch said. …

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