Happisburgh batsman eclipses Aussie ace to break Norfolk Alliance record
- Credit: Archant
Happisburgh batsman Ryan Sturgess is the proud holder of a new league record after Happisburgh's first Norfolk Alliance campaign got off to a sensational start.
The hard-hitting opener struck an incredible 240 as the hosts notched up the biggest score of the day by some distance before going on to beat visitors Hales and Loddon by a huge margin.
It was the highest individual score ever recorded in the Alliance, beating the 217 smashed by Saham Toney's Glenn Maxwell back in 2008.
That's the same Glenn Maxwell who is currently a key figure in Australia's one-day side, and helped them win the World Cup in 2015 – so the Happisburgh opener is certainly in good company!
'I actually started quite slowly and when I got to nine I was dropped – it was quite an easy chance at mid-wicket and the guy couldn't take it,' said the 26-year-old. 'It was then that I decided I was just going to go for my shots and it was one of days when I was timing it well and everything seemed to come off.
'I was dropped twice more, once when I was on about 140 and once on about 190, but apart from that I kept hitting it cleanly and got my reward. I have never got anywhere near this score before. My previous best was 126 when I played for Sheringham.
'It's an amazing feeling when you play an innings like that – I think you just have to enjoy it because it certainly won't be like that every week!'
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Sturgess' innings included 16 fours and no fewer than 19 sixes, including five in a row off one of the Hales and Loddon spinners.
He was eventually bowled in the 41st over, meaning his scoring rate alone was six an over.
Such was his domination that the next highest Happisburgh scorer was Nico Papworth on 22, with Robert Breeze (21 not out), Jamie Carter (20) and Wayne Catchpole (19) also playing important supporting roles.
'I think the guys realised it was my day and kept nudging it around to give me the strike,' said Sturgess. 'Obviously that was very important because it's a team game and you can't do it all by yourself.'
With Sturgess playing the starring role last season's Norfolk League champions took the jump-up in standard in their stride as they reached 354-5, almost 100 more than the day's next highest total. That was always going to be too much for Hales and Loddon, who were relegated last year, and they were skittled out for just 99 as Happisburgh started their campaign with a crushing 255-run success.
As if to underline that it was his day Sturgess also shone with the ball, taking 3-13 with his offspin as the win was quick wrapped up.
'It's a great start and now we have to keep it going,' said the all-rounder, whose side visit Diss seconds tomorrow . 'I think we are a good all-round package but it's about proving that every week.
'We have certainly set our sights on promotion but there's a long way to go yet.'