UK & World News

  • 14 April 2014, 15:34

Not Cricket! Kate Bowled Over By Wills Delivery

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took their sporting rivalry to the cricket pitch during the latest leg of their tour of New Zealand and Australia in Christchurch.

With the scores effectively tied after a yachting challenge and a game of "Rippa Rugby", the royal couple had no hesitation about taking to the makeshift crease in the city's Latimer Square.

Despite being unsuitably dressed in a red Luisa Spagnoli skirt suit and three-inch heels, Kate was keen to bat first, watched by hundreds of spectators at the event promoting the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

William unbuttoned his formal suit and briefly sought some advice from New Zealand cricket legend Sir Richard Hadlee, before bowling a full toss that whistled past his shocked wife's ear - leaving all concerned relieved that the bats and balls being used were made of plastic.

The Duchess quickly regained her composure and wagged a finger in warning at the Duke - then confidently strode forward to hit his next delivery to short mid-off, where it was fielded by one of the young cricketers.

William then took to the crease with his wife acting as wicketkeeper and he showed off the skills honed on the cricket fields of Eton as he faced the young cricketers.

Despite writing with his left hand, the Duke batted with his right and hit one ball over the heads of the fielders then another almost out of the ground.

Former New Zealand batswoman Debbie Hockley gave Kate tips and said afterwards: "I told her, 'Don't worry about technique just smash it'. She was quite nervous but she kept her eye on the ball.

"I thought they were great sports to take part in it. I couldn't bat in high heels. She's not played before so it's a pretty good effort and she did the best she could."

Sir Richard said he had warned the Duke to be wary of the combative instructions his wife had received from Hockley.

He said: "I told him to be on guard for an onslaught and she did remarkably well, it's very difficult to play on an uneven pitch."

The royal couple also paid their respects to victims of the earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22, 2011, leaving more than 180 people dead, and heard about reconstruction efforts.

The Duke, who visited the city soon after the disaster, said he and his wife had been moved by accounts of the earthquake and praised the "resilience and adaptability" of the people.

William also sympathised with the people of the Solomon Islands who have experienced two earthquakes in recent days.

He said: "Here in Christchurch, I recall in 2011 hearing first hand about the courage of ordinary members of the public, first responders, the Student Army and many others in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes.

"Both Catherine and I have found ourselves moved this morning by the reminders of how awful the second earthquake was, striking as it did out of the blue in the middle of an ordinary day.

"Something similar has now struck our neighbours in the Solomon Islands. I know that all of you will join with Catherine and me today in passing on our thoughts and prayers to the people of the Solomon Islands at this very difficult time for them.

Earlier the royal couple had visited Christchurch's CTV Building Memorial Park, where they met families of those who died in the natural disaster.

The CTV building crumbled to the ground during the 6.1-magnitude earthquake, and its collapse was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the 185 deaths from the quake.

A government report later found it was poorly designed and inadequately constructed.

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