Shortly after 4pm on Saturday and with tea looming, Iden Cricket Club opener Michael White prepared to face the final over of his team’s innings.
He cut the first ball for four, pulled the second for six and then shimmied down the wicket to notch up another maximum with a lofted drive over mid-on.
With that he tucked his bat under his arm and headed to the pavilion with exactly 200 undefeated runs to his name.
It is a feat that few cricketers – amateur or professional – ever achieve. Not only is it a personal best for White, but sets a new record for the club that is likely to stand for many, many years to come.
What makes it all the more remarkable is that it was a truly chanceless innings and one scored on a rain-soaked wicket that, initially at least, looked likely to offer plenty for the bowlers.
On that basis hosts Laughton had inserted Iden and, for the first hour at least, exerted plenty of pressure on openers White and Tom Rawstorne. But by the time the first wicket fell in the 18th over, the intent of Tonbridge-based gym instructor White was already clear.
Of the 88 runs scored, Rawstorne had made just 14. White’s first fifty was made up of 12 fours and a two and, having been joined at the crease by younger brother David, he would continue to exploit the short boundaries for the rest of his knock.
Together the pair put on 200 for the second wicket and when David White fell for 84 with the total close to 300, the only question was whether White could notch up his double century before the declaration came. He did – and did so in style.
On the back of such a mauling and faced with a target of 313, many teams might have crumbled. And after losing two wickets in consecutive balls to the accurate bowling of Iden’s Gary Rens, Laughton’s reply started badly.
But Jamie Russell (101) and Lee Gilman (65) more than steadied the ship and kept Laughton very much in the hunt as the innings progressed.
Indeed, it was only a good late spell from Rens (19-4-64-4) that saw the hosts’ charge fall short as late wickets tumbled to leave them on 296-6 at the end of their 50 overs.
Iden remain third in East Sussex Cricket League Division Two, with the final game of the season against Barcombe taking place at the Iden Cricket Ground this coming Saturday.
It promises to be a sell out. Not only is the official inauguration ceremony to be held for the newly-fitted shower, but the ever-generous White has promised to mark his epic knock by buying drinks for the first 200 spectators attending.
Iden trail Bells Yew Green by 15 points in the battle for the second promotion place.
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