Fisher lands Top Gun Crown
Mark Fisher triumphed in a sudden death bowl out against Matty Scarr in the final of Top Gun, the search to find Yorkshire’s fastest club bowler
The final 4 competitors, Mark Fisher (Sheriff Hutton Bridge – North), Elliot Richardson (Woodlands CC – West), Matty Scarr (Hull Zingari CC – East) and Mike Jepps (Kexborough CC – South) had come through regional qualifying and finals to get to this stage giving them the opportunity to perform in front of a full house on the pitch during the interval of the England v India ODI.
As the England innings drew towards the 50 over mark, the finalists were taken through their paces by one of the Yorkshire CCC strength and conditioning coaches ensuring they were warmed up and ready to go.
Welcomed onto the pitch by BBC Radio 5Live presenter and PA for the interval, Mark Chapman the bowlers strode onto the hallowed turf of Headingley to the Top Gun theme tune and cheers from the White Rose Stand, just 30 yards away from the wicket where the action was set to take place.
As each contestant was interviewed, it became apparent how nervous each bowler was and, as they marked their run-ups out the crowds gave them a rousing cheer and the inaugural Top Gun final was under way.
As the fastest qualifier, Mark Fisher had the honour and fired his first delivery down at 76mph, a solid start, a good marker for the rest to aim at and the speed Richardson had won his regional final with, however Elliot could only reply with 74mph. Scarr’s quickest ball of the competition was 75mph, nevertheless with the adrenaline pumping, he clocked an opening delivery of 77mph, a personal best speed and the competition lead after Jepps could only manage 73mph.
Above: Matty Scarr steams in and led after the first round of deliveries
Below: Elliot Richardson of Woodlands CC representing West Yorkshire
With the target set, Fisher rose to the challenge to tie with Scarr at 77mph. Richardson started to find his rhythm with 76mph, just 1mph away from a share of the lead. Matty could only bowl 73mph with his second delivery and Jepps clocked his own personal best throughout the competition with 74mph.
With 1 delivery remaining per bowler Fisher and Scarr held the lead but with the confidence of Richardson and Jepps rising it was all to play for .
Fisher (72mph), Richardson (75mph) and Scarr (75mph) could not manage and improvement and the stage was set for Jepps, as the slowest qualifier to pull off a shock victory. A valiant effort saw the Kexborough player clock yet another personal best, however at 76mph he couldn’t quite take the lead.
As the tension rose and with a tie at the top, it was a straight shoot-out between North and East Yorkshire, with the fastest delivery winning. Fisher was first up and, as the noise levels around the stadium amplified, ran into towards the wicket to bowl, clocking 76mph, a speed that Scarr had only once exceeded in the competition. It was not to be for Scarr as he clocked 75mph with a courageous effort and a fitting end to a closely fought competition.
Above (left to right): Liam Plunkett, Mark Fisher, Matty Scarr, Mike Jepps & Elliot Richardson
After the bowlers had acknowledged each other for their fantastic efforts, Mark Fisher was presented the Top Gun shield by Yorkshire and England fast bowler Liam Plunkett and crowned the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation fastest club bowler 2014.
Congratulations to all 4 finalists, the standard was exceptional under the pressure of performing so close to the White Rose Stand during the interval of an international match. The final provided a fitting end to what has been a great competition that has engaged over 100 bowlers of all ages across Yorkshire; next year we hope it will be even bigger and better!
Nick Robinson – Yorkshire Cricket Foundation