Oliver wanting more after 329 runs
THE reputation of English master blaster Oliver Hardaker had preceded him long before he walked through the door of Across The Waves' clubhouse last month.
Hardaker, 18, has a lot to live up to, after smashing his way to a world record 329 runs in a 40-over Ian Chappell Cup fixture between his home club Horsforth and inter-county rival Upper Wharfedale.
“It's something I doubt I'll ever be able to do again but I'll be pushing myself on the crease and giving it a good go,” he said.
The extraordinary tally set a world record for one-day matches, putting the heavy hitting of Indian great Sachin Tendulkar, whose previous record was 304 – scored in a North Carolina Cricket Association match – to shame.
Hardaker left the jaws of spectators resting on the boundary fence as he batted his way through what he described as the best day of his life.
He faced 144 balls to notch the total, belting 29 sixes and 28 fours.
“It was actually a bit surreal when I was out there but I'd gathered a fair bit of steam and did my best to keep it going,” he said yesterday.
The performance was nearly cut short at 140, when Hardaker miscalculated a drive and lobbed the ball over the Upper Wharfedale wicketkeeper.
But Oliver wanted more, and he got it.
A gust of wind carried the ball fortuitously out of the reach of the wicketkeeper's gloves.
That left Hardaker to continue the boundary-belting performance, which included a dream streak of five consecutive sixes, followed by a four.
He achieved the mammoth innings on his home pitch in May, to the surprise of Horsforth team-mate and Across The Waves campaigner Zac Keune.
Keune spent the English summer living with friends of Hardaker in Horsforth and invited the young player to Bundaberg to repay the favour.
When the Englishman returns home at the end of the Bundaberg Cricket Association season he hopes to gain entry to the representative Yorkshire under-19 team to finish an 18-month continuous season.
“It's a bit like an endless summer for me I suppose,” the right-hander said.
“I love my cricket and I want to take it as far as I possibly can, so the more I can fit into each year the better.”
The hallowed willow used to score the total has been framed and takes pride of place in Hardaker's parents' home.