Guneratne creates league history with six sixes in an over

Clitheroe Cricket Club V Earby at Clitheroe CC.'Clitheroe (Batting) V Earby (Bowling).'Pictured is Clitheroe's professional Janaka Gunaratne.'6th June 2015

Clitheroe Cricket Club V Earby at Clitheroe CC.'Clitheroe (Batting) V Earby (Bowling).'Pictured is Clitheroe's professional Janaka Gunaratne.'6th June 2015

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Clitheroe pro Janaka Gunaratne smashed his way into the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League record books and straight into a derby war of words.

The Sri Lankan professional, 34, became the first player in the League’s 122-year history to hit six sixes off one over.

But furious Ribblesdale Wanderers players believed Gunaratne should have been out for a duck.

He celebrated his reprieve by blasting the final six deliveries of the Clitheroe innings to all parts of the Church Meadow ground, losing four balls in the process. Ian Britcliffe was the unlucky bowler but still finished with figures of 6-80 off 15 overs.

Gunaratne ended 79 not out and then claimed 8-41 as the Lancashire Cup semi-finalists and Senior League leaders secured a controversial 54-run victory.

“Janaka was bowled, second ball off stump by Jordan Britcliffe,” insisted Ian Britcliffe “But the square leg umpire, Frank Newby, reckoned the ball came back off the wicket keeper.

“We couldn’t believe it. The game was stopped for five minutes or more and afew words said before Janaka was called back. In fairness, at the end, he hit me good and proper, over the bowling green, over the car park, everywhere.

“I had bowled off a one pace run-up because we’d been told to bowl our last four overs in five minutes. But I was off my usual long run for those last six balls.”

Clitheroe skipper Paul Gaskell said:”Wanderers were adamant Janaka was out. But it wasn’t clear and he didn’t believe he was out.

“There were definitely two noises and the square leg umpire reckoned it came off the wicketkeeper. At the end though his batting was a joy to watch.

There was some big hitting and it definitely swung the game.

“We knew Janaka was capable of it because he hit 34 in one over against Cherry Tree last season,” confirmed Gaskell.

That performance stood as the League’s previous best until Saturday’s six of the best display to keep Clitheroe on course to defend their title.

Clitheroe have a free date on Saturday, while Ribblesdale Wanderers are at Section B leaders Euxton, with wickets pitched at 1-30 p.m.