Ewen Chatfield

Puree Cup

Need to end a game quickly? Bring out the tomatoes

Sidharth Monga

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Ewen Chatfield portrait, February 1988
Chatfield: veggie surprise © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ewen Chatfield
Teams: New Zealand

This happened during a Hawke Cup game once. (The Hawke Cup is played amongst the minor associations, which is the next tier down from the majors.) Hutt Valley were playing Hawke's Bay in Napier, and after it, four of us had to drive overnight to Gisborne, which is about a three-hour drive, to play a first-class game for Wellington.

Hawke's Bay had won on first innings by 3 o'clock on the second day. We wanted the game to be called off so we could get to Gisborne early. But the local association wouldn't agree. So we made a bit of a mockery of the whole thing.

We went off for tea and came back with a whole lot of vegetables. The first one of our guys to go up to bowl after the break took his teeth out and gave it to the umpire - and you haven't seen an uglier guy with his teeth out. The umpire wouldn't take them. So the bowler took them and put them down as markers, and the guys just cracked up.

Halfway through the over, we slipped this tomato to the bowler, and he jumped in and bowled the tomato. The guy on the other end, he couldn't believe it. He hit the tomato and it splattered all over the place. Then he asked the umpire, "How many more vegetables in the over?"

The end of that over was the end of that. The umpire got real shitty because he thought we had made a mockery of the game. As soon as we were off the field, off we went before he could do anything.

As told to Sidharth Monga

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