Denis Compton was well known for his batting exploits as he scored 5807 runs across 78 tests at an average of 50.06, aggregating over 40,000 runs in his career as a first-class. He was also a skillful bowler hitting up 622 wickets at a 32.27 average in 515 FC games. However, Compton was restricted to the No.11 spot on his first-class debut in 1936. He led Middlesex against the visiting Sussex team in the County Game at the Lord’s.
Sussex, who was batting first after winning the toss, was bowled out for just 185. Compton bowled four overs and picked up Henry Parks’ wicket (50), who had been involved with James Langridge in a 74-run stand (53). Compton, who had turned 18 a week before his FC debut, joined George Allen when Maurice Tate’s hosts were 162/9 after a 6-wicket haul. The duo Allen and Denis scored 36 runs on 10th wicket as Middlesex took the lead in the first inning and was assured of 5 points in the event of a draw.
Jim Parks appealed at this point after he struck Denis Compton’s pads. Umpire Bill Bestwick did not hesitate to lift his finger and end the debut innings on Compton’s 14th. Jim Parks was none other than Henry Parks’s elder brother, who was Denis’ first wicket to the FC. The umpire’s decision seemed to be entirely wrong, as it was also unhappy the non-striker George Allen.
Earlier, the umpire admitted to the batters that he was anxious to answer the call of a day, and could no longer contain himself. Bestwick told them he might have burst his bladder had he not closed the innings at that stage. Luckily, the decision did not impact on the outcome as Sussex ended the 2nd day on 189/3 after conceding a lead of 13 runs. The final day’s play has been washed out, and Middlesex and Sussex have won five and three points each.
Denis Compton named the umpire as Bill Reeves, who never stood in a county match as umpire post of the 1921 season, in his book End of an Innings, which was published in 1958. The book Denis Compton: The Authorized Biography by Tim Heald, released in 2015, has clarified the confusion over names. In this book, the author revealed that Compton took the name of Bill Bestwick in 1993 when narrating the plot.