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Bedfordshire club cricketers brave rain, heat & fire to chase world record

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

A group of Bedfordshire cricketers are on a mission to break the world record for the longest cricket match ever played, despite abject weather conditions and tree fires trying to sabotage their plans.

Twenty-four cricketers from Blunham CC are plying their trade for seven days straight, braving heat, rain, winds and even fire in an attempt to land a new record by playing for a jaw-dropping 168 hours.

On Tuesday, August 27, the village endured a brief but intense downpour, which instantly waterlogged the outfield, but play was never halted. At night, floodlights are switched on to keep play alive.

“It was an amazing experience. You’re never going to play cricket in anything like that again,” organiser George Hutson told PA news agency. “Fortunately for us, it [the rain] was 20 minutes long, but it was a hell of a lot of rain in 20 minutes. Our feet were just swimming.”

Blunham has previously held the record twice, but the current honours belong to Loughborough University Staff CC, who, in 2012, set the bar at 150 hours and 14 minutes. Blunham’s best has been set at 56 hours.

Understandably, the cricketers are struggling to get any shut-eye; rules outline that a team needs to bat for three hours to bag half-an-hour of rest.

“We’re 115 hours in, I reckon I’ve had about seven [hours’ sleep],” Hutson continued. “When you’re batting, if you’re not opening you get time to nap there. So you just hope your opening bats can last their three hours so you can get a little bit of a rest, but it doesn’t work like that every time.

“We’ve had some really, really good catches in the slips, considering we’re all so tired. You’ve got players diving to the left and to the right. And some interesting shot selections – just to pass the time really, we try to emulate professional cricketers, so we’ve got people playing the Kevin Pietersen switch hit and the Jos Buttler ramp shot.”

As if the rain, heat and wind wasn’t enough, there was also an incident involving a tree fire which required the services of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue team.

The spirited attempt is to raise money for two local charities and the town’s sports community.

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Lead photo courtesy of Blunham Cricket Club

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