July 26, 2010

Offbeat

Meteorite hits fan at county match

Sahil Dutta

County cricket followers are well known for being a hardy bunch – huddled under blankets and desperately grasping their Thermos flasks - they are used to braving most conditions to watch their local favourites in action.

But two Sussex fans, Jan Marszel and Richard Haynes, had much more than dodgy weather to deal with when a meteorite sailed towards the boundary and hit one man in the chest.

Rudely interrupting Luke Wright and Monty Panesar’s eighth-wicket stand against Middlesex, the rock, five inches in length and thought to be anything up to 4.5 billion years old, crashed into the ground just in front of their two seats square of the wicket and bounced up to hit Mr Marszel in the chest.

“It landed five yards inside the boundary and split into two pieces,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “It came across at quite a speed - if it had hit me full on it could have been very interesting."

Mr Haynes said: “We were quietly supping our pints, both looked up at the same time and saw a black object coming towards us - we didn’t know what it was.

“If it had come from the other direction we might have suspected someone had thrown it, but we saw it come in straight over the ground from quite a way out - it was definitely a meteorite.”

Dr Matthew Genge, a meteorite expert at Imperial College, London, told the Telegraph: “If this turns out to be a meteorite it’s very exciting and would be the first fall in the UK since 1992. Potentially it contains secrets as to the formation of our solar system."

Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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