Cricket and the love of numbers

Sports correspondent & historian
with Sideline Sid

They say that it takes a special kind of person to be a cricket historian and statistician.

In my case, some bits of dyslexia have been compensated by a love of numbers.

Cricket to the purists, is all about runs and wickets and the various figures that arise during a game.

It’s what the figures produce and tell us that becomes the attraction for the true cricket fan.

In times past, dedicated cricket nuts would take their own scorebook to a test match and write down the ball-by-ball action, even replying by hand to the umpire’s signals.

Averages, strike rates, minutes at the crease along with wides, no balls and byes, are a great source of interest to a breed of dedicated cricket fans.

The more rare and unusual, the more that the genuine cricket fans pays attention.

Last week's story about five wickets from five successive balls during 1932 is followed this week, with two big achievements in Western Bay of Plenty cricket in the last two decades.

In December 2006, Bay of Plenty Black Cap Trent Boult was a 17 year old with his superstar cricket career all in front of him.

Playing for the Tauranga representative team against Eastern Bay of Plenty in a BOPCA Sub-Association fixture at the Tauranga Domain - Trent was almost unplayable in taking two hat-tricks in his dismissal of seven Eastern Bay batsmen.

In a frightening display of pace bowling, he removed the Eastern Bay of Plenty top order with three successive balls.

Less than 20 minutes later, it was the turn of opposition middle order batting attack to lose their wickets to three consecutive balls.

Cricket is based firmly on big numbers, with Greerton batsman Tom MacRury grabbing his own piece of local cricket history, in the recently completed season.

MacRury became the first BOPCA Baywide player to reach one thousand runs in a season.

The Greerton master-blaster opened his cricket year with 333 runs in the Bay of Plenty Cup at an astounding strike rate of 170.77 (runs per one hundred balls).

MacRury's season top score of 113 of just 53 balls, including nine 6s, was accompanied by a second century in the Bay of Plenty Cup competition.

Further proof of the MacRury hitting power with his willow weapon was provided in the Baywide T20 title race, where he belted 350 runs at an average of 70.0 with a top score of 95 not out.

With 683 runs in the bank, Tom turned his attention to breaking former Black Cap Lorne Howells record of 996 runs in a Baywide season, in the second half of the cricket year.

Two neat hundreds, shone out like a beacon in his turns at bat in the time-honoured Williams Cup competition.

He belted his first 100, off 62 balls, before following up with his second neat century, just seven days later.

MacRury’s 1000th run came in the Williams Cup title decider, before being dismissed without further scoring.

For this writer, the true beauty of the great game is that the next big milestone could be just around the corner on the opening day of next season - or not.


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