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My Favourite Photo: No ordinary Joe

Joe Denly
by Sarah Ansell 2 minute read

Sarah Ansell on her shot of Joe Denly taking a stunning one-handed diving catch to dismiss James Franklin in a 2017 Royal London One-Day fixture at Canterbury’s St. Lawrence Ground.

When Joe Denly came on to bowl [against Middlesex] it all seemed hopeless for Kent but he took three wickets and they went on to win the game.

He’d already taken two wickets before this photo and I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to stay on Joe and hope for a nice celebration shot’. And then this happened.

Caught-and-bowled chances move very fast and I’ve not got the best record for taking them. I took this from the fire escape on the side of the Colin Cowdrey Stand; the only place in the ground where I could have got this angle, and so cleanly. Luck was on my side!

Once the ball has left the batting crease you’ve got no control over what is in the frame and I love this because it’s just a photo of Joe doing something really amazing. He’s looking at the ball, his foot is just off the ground and there’s no background fielder; it’s just pure green and the purple stumps. I was really happy I got this picture, both for me as a photographer and also for Joe – it’s always pleasing to think you’ve recorded such a moment for a player, especially in a county game where there might only be one person covering the match.

I had several frames afterwards and there is another one I love of Sam Northeast just looking on in sheer disbelief that Joe took the catch.

I was very sorry when Joe left Kent for Middlesex and really happy when he came back and to see him doing well again. I’ve always had a soft spot for him because when I started watching cricket again after moving back to Canterbury 10 years ago, in the very first match I went to see he carried his bat for 115 when Kent were skittled for 199 against Shane Warne’s Hampshire.

The following year I was going along regularly – I was still just a fan with a camera then – and I remember after the last match of the season the players started distributing their shirts. Joe actually called down to me and threw down one of his tops. I’ve got a photograph of me sitting on the outfield about 5 o’clock wearing Joe’s top. It’s a bit fan-girly for somebody of my age!

First published in July 2017.

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