Prior to this week Hamish Thomson’s highest score for the St. Pats Town First XI cricket team was 45. The Year 13 had been plagued by an elbow injury and inconsistency.
“I missed five weeks at the start of this season when I injured my elbow. I have struggled with consistency because I am impatient. I like to get on with it, but I was taking too many risks before getting my eye in,” Thomson complains.
This week in the annual traditional fixture against Christchurch’s St. Bede’s College at Kilbirnie Park, Thomson shattered the record books by making a double century in the first innings and a century in the second innings. How does Thomson explain such sudden and spectacular success?
“My highest score before St. Bede’s was 150 not out in Year 9 so I knew I was capable of making big scores. The first 30 runs I made were off 100 balls then my confidence grew and I really accelerated,” Thomson explains.
Thomson (right in picture) ended the first innings 201 not out from only 207 deliveries. He struck 20 fours and 15 sixes and shared a partnership of 320 for the fifth wicket with Aaron De Rose who scored 122 off 141 balls. St. Pats was 88 for 4.
“Our top order batsmen were unlucky as they all got peaches of balls. Aaron was great to bat with. We’re close mates and built a good partnership quickly,” Thomson says.
St. Bede’s was able to respond strongly amassing 453 all out in 100 overs. Will Aynsley 98, Jimmy Johnstone 85, Matthew Boyle 72 and Cameron Jopson 69 all flourished on the friendly batting surface. St. Bede’s blasted a total of 12 sixes in their innings leaving Town facing a second innings deficit.
In their second innings Town at one stage was 41 for 3 and still in arrears by four runs, leaving open the possibility of a St. Bede’s victory, but Thomson has other ideas. He smashed 105 off 156 balls clubbing 14 fours and five sixes. Which innings was better?
“The second innings hundred was more important because it saved the match, but technically I played better in the first innings. In the second innings I was dropped on 48, which was lucky,” Thomson reveals.
There were a total of 41 sixes in the match. An unusually short boundary was a factor as was a brazen mindset from Thomson.
“The boundary in one direction was just over 30-metres so I targeted that area often. Actually I told the groundsman to reduce the size of the boundaries beforehand,” Thomson laughs.
Thomson rates a reverse sweep over point as his favourite maximum of the match and is hopeful Town’s retention of the Dry Family Cup can kick start some momentum for Town’s season. Presently Town are fifth out of eight teams in the Wellington Premier competition, one place short of a semi-final spot.
“It’s been a tough season so far. We have had a few disruptions with injuries and other things, but we are starting to get it together and are feeling good after a tough draw this week,” Thomson concludes.
P.S. Double centuries are rare events in first XI school cricket, but St. Bede’s have been victims of a double hundred twice. In 2011 Henry Walsh made 225 for St. Pats Silverstream against St. Bede’s. Walsh later played for the Wellington Firebirds. Some impressive names have scored double centuries in the past.
The Auckland record is thought to be held by Bert Sutcliffe, the outstanding batsman of his time in New Zealand, who scored 268 for Takapuna Grammar against Mt Albert Grammar in 1942.
Martin Crowe, another who went on to become a world-class batsman, established an Auckland Grammar School record when making 247 in 1978, while Sachin Variath scored 261 not out for Avondale College against Macleans College in Auckland in 2010.
Former Firebird Joe Austin-Smellie scored a record 214 not out for Wellington College in the traditional fixture against Wanganui Collegiate in 2006.
The highest score ever made by a schoolboy is 628 by AEJ Collins, as a 13-year-old, in England in 1899.
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