An accountant has unmasked himself as the unsporting bowler who denied a young cricketer his maiden century, and claimed he was not aware how close his opponent was to the milestone.
Declan Redwood, 28, has revealed he apologised to 23-year-old Jay Darrell for hurling the ball over the boundary rope on Saturday to bring the match to an "unnatural ending", leaving the batsman stranded on 98.
Mr Redwood, who was playing for Purnell Cricket Club, conceded five runs – the boundary plus a no ball – as a result of what he described an "ill-judged and impulsive" act to complete the chase for Minehead Cricket Club.
The incident sparked fury on social media and was mentioned on Sky Sports by former England cricketer Rob Key, who said "How average is that? That is appalling," during coverage of a Vitality Blast T20 match.
The 28-year-old, who works as an assistant manager at an accountancy firm in Bath, unmasked himself five days after the controversy after it was revealed he was given a nine-match ban as punishment.
He claimed he was "not aware" Mr Darrell was close to completing his maiden century and admitted his actions "were not in keeping with the spirit of cricket".
Mr Redwood said in a statement: "I take sole responsibility for the incident and emphasise that no other person was aware of my intentions in the build up to the delivery.
"I acknowledge that I made an ill-judged and impulsive decision on approaching the wicket to bowl a no-ball, which resulted in a boundary and gave an unnatural ending to what was otherwise a competitive game of cricket," he said.
"I had never played against Jay Darrell before last weekend and I was not aware at the time that he was so close to what would have been a maiden century.
"Not only did he bat brilliantly, but Jay was also very gracious in accepting my initial apology in the dressing room after the match and I thank him for that.
"I do not feel that this momentary lapse in judgement is a true reflection of my character, and it is certainly not representative of the culture of what is a very family orientated village cricket club in Purnell CC.
"I would like to make a formal apology to Jay Darrell, Minehead Cricket Club, Purnell Cricket Club, Ronnie Casling and to the rest of my teammates, for my actions."
Mr Redwood plays for Purnell CC, with his brother Nathan Redwood and two cousins, Lewis and Courtney Redwood.
A club spokesman said: "[Mr Redwood] has brought the game of cricket, the Somerset Cricket League and Purnell CC into disrepute.
"Purnell CC would once again like to apologise to Jay Darrell and Minehead Cricket Club. We would also like to thank the SCL for their guidance and support, and we thank our players for the exemplary way in which they have handled themselves in the wake of this incident."
A spokesman for Minehead CC insisted the club held "no resentment" towards Purnell CC for the high-profile incident and that they had dealt with the situation in the best possible manner.