Friday, 16 January 2015


Grahame Lloyd - his painstaking and courageous  investigations uncovered the truth and embarrassed a leading international auction house
 INVESTIGATIVE  sports journalist Grahame Lloyd  fascinated an audience at Cleethorpes Cricket Club on Thursday with a talk about his intriguing  book - Howzat? The Six Sixes Ball Mystery.

His starting point  was the match in which Gary Sobers hit six sixes in a single over in a  county match at Swansea between the side he was captaining, Nottinghamshire, and Glamorgan on August 31, 1968. 

It was the first time the feat had been achieved in first-class cricket, and the ball believed to have been bowled by hapless spinner Malcolm Nash  was famously sold for £26,400 some 38 years later at an auction in London.

But after 18 months' probing, Lloyd (61) conclusively proved that the ball that went under the hammer at Christie's was not the one bowled on that momentous afternoon in South Wales.

The buyer, an enthusiast in India, had effectively bought an artefact that was worthless.

In his talk, Lloyds attributed what happened to  misunderstandings, naivety and inadequate checking of the ball's provenance rather than deliberate deception, but he believes those involved should have acknowledged their mistakes.

In particular, he believes the auction house,  which no longer holds sales of sports memorabila, should own up to "selling a wrong 'un".

During  his exhaustive research, Lloyd, who lives in Lincoln, tracked down and interviewed Sobers himself. The famous cricketer did not himself benefit financially from what happened, but he signed the  certificate of authenticity which persuaded Christie's to accept the ball.

"The investigation has been an obsession,"said the author who has published the 232-page book at his own expense. "It took over 18 months my life, but I was determined to  establish the truth. 

"Doing the research seemed like a cross between Watergate and the TV detective series, Colombo!"

What happened to the actual ball bowled by Nash? No one knows. Perhaps, no one ever will know.

The author was accompanied at Cleethorpes by his friend, John Parkin (70), the former Nottinghamshire batsman who was the other end of the wicket from Sobers during the "six sixes" over.

By contributing amusing anecdotes from his own career, the ex-cricketer, who lives in Kimberley, Notts, helped make for a thoroughly enjoyable first evening of the year for Lincolnshire Cricket Lovers' Society.

For more information about the book(which retails at £14.99), see Amazon or contact  the author direct at

Sir Garfield Sobers in 2012. (Photo: By the Madras / Wikipedia Commons)

John Parkin - in his heyday, a sparkling stroke-player, especially off the front foot. He accompanied Lloyd at the Cleethorpes talk

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