You always remember sporting excess. Growing up I was in awe of Hanif Mohammed, one of the famous Pakistani brothers, who once held the first class high score in cricket of 499 (run out). I first learnt of Hanif in the Guinness Book of Records and couldn’t quite come to grips with any one person accumulating such a score in any form of cricket let alone first class. I couldn’t come to grips with Robert Wadlow’s Guinness listing of 37AA shoe size either.
Even as kids and back yarders I can never recall anyone who even came close to the original Little Master’s run scoring. We played on the streets at New Norfolk in Second Avenue or on Johnny Craw’s vacant block opposite home. I witnessed some terrific knocks there, firstly by former Port Adelaide No. 12 Greg Leal. Leal managed 192 before being caught one-handed off Laurie Williams’ fence by red headed Micky Smith. To you defenders of political correctness, there were two Micky Smiths. Leal’s 192 was despite my sister’s boyfriend, Brian Browne letting rip with several of his specialty ‘Bean Balls’. I thought it was ‘his ball’, his invention, as his brother-in-law was Johnny Bean. Unfortunately he lost control and one drifted through head high and slammed into Mr. Watson’s asbestos garage wall, busting a hole big enough to conceivably fit a small kid, who may unlock the door. Dad said you better go down and report that to Stewart McEachern, one of the bosses of the housing estate controlled by the paper mill that ran the town. Two pounds ten shillings lighter ‘Brownie’ never bowled another ball.
Then ‘Nella’ (real name Allen) Wheatley pounded 217 n.o. but he had to retire to deliver the Saturday evening paper. Finally in a marathon effort it was left to the great full forward, P. Hudson, to plunder 284 n.o. before failing light ended his soiree. It is a record that still stands and will never be broken as Mr Craw eventually built a house and TV repair onsite in the 70’s.
Last Sunday in a real match, at New Norfolk’s Tynwald Park at match between the local ‘Red Caps’ and ‘MacKillop Belta’s’ something…… well let’s say unusual, happened. It was a one-dayer, 50 over job. New Norfolk batted first and like most country cricket teams is infused with footballers. The openers were New Norfolk full back Rohan ‘Paddles’ (Footy) ‘Coon’ (cricket) Heron who was ably supported by Reserves Captain Jake ‘Kingy’ King. They put on a solid 52 before 3 wickets fell for three runs. Out came Stewart ‘Ricey’ Rice who, as he so often does, quickly became accustomed to the tempo of the match. Read: always goes ‘the tonk’. He was then confidently supported by former on baller and now assistant coach Dave ‘Dabba’ Maddox who doubles as the great Darrel Baldock’s grandson. Maddox put on a quick fire sixty but Ricey kept chugging along with a succession of batsmen before the allotted 50 overs expired. At innings close ‘Ricey’ was still standing with the score stopped on 7/492; of which 324 were ‘Ricey’s’. A laid back cove he reflected “I got onto a few early and had a bit of a day out, really.” Some might say 324 in a one day limited overs match that included 10 fours and 38 sixes is not a bad day at the office!
Now, I realise there might be better efforts than Ricey’s dotted around the country so I say, “Bring out your ‘black cats’.” I always remember my Uncle Jack had a jet-black cat. Its name was Midnight. I called it Puss. It scratched. It had no white, all black. Black paws, black nails and black whiskers. It was so black it was almost blue. The bloke next door reckoned he once had a blacker one.
So, before the black cat owners go for the record books remember the game was of reasonable standard; second grade (of six) in the Southern Cricket Association. Ground size; a quick single to the boundary I hear the skeptics? It was played on a normal football/cricket ground that every week for years has continually hosted this level of cricket. So there is plenty of precedent. Never has anyone gone close with the previous best being ‘Dangerous’ Dan Munnings’ 204 set over 20 years ago. And ‘Ricey’ didn’t get to the crease until the fifteenth over with his 324 coming off 105 balls!
Bat manufacturer Laver & Wood are over the moon (check their website) but unfortunately for the Red Caps and ‘Ricey’ the rain stopped the second innings at 3 for 10. So they shared the points and Ricey’s score is not likely to count for the averages.
6 Jan 2014