There was great delight for hundreds of local cricket followers when Joe Root turned up at a special match organised in memory of Norton Oakes’ all rounder Dominic Sayles.
But there was even more delight in store when the Yorkshire and England batsman, who had turned up simply to watch as a tribute to Dominic who he played age group cricket with, decided he’d have a bat.
Enjoying a break after the end of the season and ahead of the Ashes tour, Joe opened the batting and treated everyone to a quickfire 70 off 32 balls.
“It was great of Joe to be there and he’d never intended playing but then, to everyone’s surprise but great delight, he said he’d go and have a bat,” said Martin Sayles, secretary at Norton Oakes and dad of Dominic who tragically died in May.
“He also gave us an England shirt of his that he’d signed and it’s been decided that it will be framed and put up in the clubhouse.”
The game, in Dominic’s memory, was between a South Yorkshire League All Stars XI and a Joe Lumb XI comprising players who had played with Dominic in age group cricket. Dominic - who played for Norton Oakes first XI - played in age group representative teams with Joe and also his brother Billy and went to the Yorkshire nets.
“It was a great day with tremendous support from a lot of people, who I’d like to thank for that support and, as you can imagine, an emotional day too,” said Martin who actually got the winning runs to enable the Joe Lumb side to win by one wicket.
Over £2,000 was raised on the day and it will go to the Neo-natal clinic at Jessops Hospital and the Critical Care Unit at the Northern General Hospital.
* Tickets are still available for the Evening with Geoff Boycott on Tursday, October 10, organised by Wombwell Cricket Lovers Society at Ardsley House Hotel. Open to everyone, the ticket contact is Ron Firth on 01302 707210.