The mystery surrounding an apparent “meteorite” that fell to earth, almost hitting a cricket spectator, has finally been solved by space experts.

Jan Marszal, from Blackboys, near Uckfield, thought he had struck gold when a fiveinch piece of black rock landed near to where he and his friend Richard Haynes were watching Sussex play Middlesex at Uxbridge.

The rock landed inside the boundary rope, split into two pieces, popped up and hit him in the chest.

He was so convinced it was a piece of space rock that he immediately sent it away for expert analysis.

But last night Dave Harris, 51, co-founder of the British and Irish Meteorite Society, said: “I’m afraid it’s nothing more than a piece of Portland cement with flecks of brick dust and flint in it.

“It is most probably something that fell off the undercarriage of a plane. It was not like a meteorite at all.”

The sample was also sent to renowned planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger who led the Beagle Mars lander project in 2003.

He also agreed the rock was not a meteorite.

Mr Marszal, 51, an IT consultant, said: “I had never seen a meteorite before so didn’t know what one looked like – but it came down from the sky and I couldn’t think what else it could have been.

“I am disappointed but in some ways I glad it’s all over and we now know what it is.”

Since it first appeared in The Argus on Saturday the meteorite story has been picked up by newspapers, radio stations and television networks across the world.

Mr Marszal even received a surprise call from excited astronomy expert Sir Patrick Moore.

Sir Patrick, 87, of West Street, Selsey, near Chichester, said: “I would be surprised if it was a meteorite but it’s difficult to tell one from an ordinary piece of rock.”