Havant cricketer suffers heart attack on pitch

RECOVERING Jim Smallbone
RECOVERING Jim Smallbone

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CRICKETER Jim Smallbone was saved from death after a wicket-keeper leapt into action during a county match.

The 63-year-old, who plays for Havant, was batting for the Hampshire over-60s when he collapsed during a game at Middleton-on-Sea, near Bognor.

Wicket keeper Mick Tindall, who plays for Sussex over-60s, immediately started performing chest compressions to revive Mr Smallbone, who had stopped breathing.

Three ambulances and a helicopter were called out at about 3.30pm on Thursday.

Mike Swain, from Park Gate, near Fareham, was batting with Mr Smallbone when he went to discuss tactics at the end of an over.

Mr Swain said: ‘Before I got to the other end he was flat on his back. The wicket-keeper immediately knew it was serious.

‘He was the hero of the day without a doubt.’

Mr Smallbone, from Petersfield, was taken by ambulance by road to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

He has undergone emergency surgery to clear blocked arteries and is said to be stable.

Geoff Owen, captain of Havant Cricket Club, praised the efforts of Mr Tindall, a trained first responder.

And he said his presence at the match was a lucky twist of fate.

‘He’s not normally the wicket-keeper for them,’ he said.

‘He got called up two days before because their main keeper got a ball in the face.’