A cricketer who was batting without a helmet was killed when he was struck on the head as he tried to hook a “beamer”, an inquest heard on Tuesday.
Flt. Sgt. Jonathon Willis, 39, of the Royal Air Force, who was wearing a cap, collapsed at the wicket after the ball struck him behind his right ear.
He had been opening the batting for RAF Lyneham in a midweek cup fixture at St Erme, near Truro, Cornwall against the local RAF base, St Mawgan.
Flying Officer Scott Weir, a pace bowler, who was in the same team as Flt Sgt Willis a season earlier, was playing his second game of the season after serving in Afghanistan.
He told the inquest in Truro that the conditions had been hot and his hands were sweaty.
The ball slipped out of his hand and became a beamer — a fast ball that reaches the batsman at head height — hitting Flt Sgt Willis without bouncing on the wicket.
Flt Sgt Willis, described as an accomplished batsman, tried to hook the ball to the boundary but misjudged the flight of the ball.
The bowler said: “It was a complete accident caused, in my opinion, by the conditions and my sweaty hand.”
Flt Sgt Willis suffered a haemorrhage behind the right ear and internal bleeding.
Verdict: accidental death.