Sussex cricket fan Jan Marszal looked up in amazement as he saw a small, dark round object hurtle towards him on the boundary edge.
But it was not one of Luke Wright’s mammoth pulls coming his way – it was a meteorite that had fallen from outer space – and nearly struck him on the head.
It’s thought to be the first extra-terrestrial crash landing in the UK for nearly 20 years.
The 51-year-old had spent Wednesday afternoon in Uxbridge with friend Richard Haynes watching Sussex battle with Middlesex in a county championship division two clash.
The pair – both Sussex members – were sitting square of the wicket watching England’s T20 hero Wright bat with Monty Panesar when they spotted the black, five-inch rock hurtling towards them. Mr Marszal, 51, an IT consultant from Blackboys, near Uckfield, said: “We were sitting at the boundary edge when all of a sudden, out of a blue sky, we saw this small dark object hurtling towards us.
“It landed five yards inside the boundary and split into two pieces.
“One piece bounced up and hit me in the chest and the other ended up against the boundary board.
“It came across at quite a speed – if it had hit me full on it could have been very interesting."
The pair have kept the seemingly extra-terrestrial pieces of rock for posterity and said they would be happy for experts to examine them.
Retired Mr Haynes, 52, from Haywards Heath, said: “We were quietly supping our pints, both looked up at the same time and saw a black object coming towards us – we didn’t know what it was.
“If it had come from the other direction we might have suspected someone had thrown it, but we saw it come in straight over the ground from quite a way out – it was definitely a meteorite.”
Meteorite expert Dr Matthew Genge, 42, of Imperial College, London, said: “If this turns out to be a meteorite it’s very exciting and would be the first fall in the UK since 1992."