For so many years I’ve been used to photographing racing drivers in their cars, where you never see the face of the driver behind the visor of a full-face helmet.
It was only when I started to photograph cricket, rugby, hockey, tennis and squash that I realised the best sports photography is really just a branch of portrait photography where you can see the determination and emotion of the player in the photograph. All those years of training and hardship coming together in a single moment.
In the lovely rich golden light that Southport gets on summer evenings, Southport & Birkdale Under 15s are playing Hightown, who are 3 ahead. With the final ball of the match about to be bowled, S&B needed a three to draw or a four to win. At this age level, fours are rare and sixes are almost never seen.
Carlos hit the ball and was about to start running when he realised what he had achieved. He had hit the ball so hard, it went clean over the boundary and very nearly went through the clubhouse window, had a spectator not caught it. If I wanted to give this portrait a title, it would be “Disbelief.”
If it was a storyline from Boys Own, you would have called it far fetched. But in this case, it was real.
This photograph was used as the cover for Southport & Birkdale’s Fixture Book for 2014.
Photograph taken 9th July 2013 with a Canon Eos 1Dx and a 70mm – 200mm lens on a 1.4 converter, set to 280 mm. Exposure 1/1000 second at f 4.0. ISO 800.