A young cricketer plying his trade Down Under had more than snarling Aussies to reckon with when he was bitten by a poisonous snake during a match.
Joe Lyth, who has signed for Orrell Red Triangle for the coming season, was fielding on the boundary for his club side in Sydney when he had to retrieve a ball that had been struck over his head for six.
The 18-year-old fast bowler jumped a perimeter fence to collect the ball from some nearby undergrowth but in doing so disturbed a huge red-bellied black snake.
He said: “As I grabbed the ball, I saw the snake and as I turned to run away I felt it grab my heel. I got back on the field and felt dizzy, my eyes started to swell up and my ears were ringing. The bite didn’t hurt at the time, it just felt like a little nip.”
Joe’s quick-thinking teammates rushed off the pitch in order to identify what type of snake it was - and managed to take a picture - to help doctors know what treatment he would require.
The teenager was taken to hospital where he had several anti-venom and steroid injections.
When I got onto the pitch my team-mates were asking if I knew what type of snake it had been - which of course I didn’t - so when they identified it they said I needed to get to hospital straight awayJoe Lyth
He has also been hooked up to an IV drip for several days since the incident last Saturday.
Despite his abdomen being covered in a nasty rash in reaction to the bite, he is now on the mend and is hopeful of being back on the pitch before the end of the Australian season next month.
The Croston resident said: “I’m feeling better, my fever has gone down but I’ve still got a bad sore throat.
“When I got onto the pitch my team-mates were asking if I knew what type of snake it had been - which of course I didn’t - so when they identified it they said I needed to get to hospital straight away.”
Although the bite of a red-bellied black - one of Australia’s most common snakes - can be potentially deadly, there have been no recorded deaths as the amount of venom deposited is rarely at a fatal level.
The venom can cause blood-clotting problems and nerve damage without immediate treatment, however.
Joe, a former Myerscough College student, is in Australia for the winter months playing for Pennant Hills Cricket Club in New South Wales.
He will return for the English summer having recently signed for Liverpool Competition side Orrell RT from Ormskirk.
The talented young cricketer has taken the encounter in his stride and is keen to get back on the field.
He said: “I wanted to play this weekend but the club said it probably wasn’t a good idea as I wasn’t 100 per cent.
“Out of all the Aussies I’ve met whilst over here, none of them have been bitten by a snake and most of them - as they’re living in Sydney - have never even seen one. I think I’ve just been unlucky.
“At first I told my family I’d got injured so they wouldn’t worry.
“But then the club posted a picture on its Facebook page of me hooked up to the IV drip so they weren’t too happy to find out like that, but it was a white lie!”
And to make the day even worse for Joe, Pennant Hills lost out to rivals Roseville after it was a case of snake - rather than rain - stopped play.