GOMERSAL'S former New Zealand wicket keeper/batsman Tony Blain achieved a remarkable 1,000 runs for Gomersal Seconds in the 2016 All Rounder Bradford League.
The 54-year-old has become the 15th player in the history of the Bradford League to reach the milestone, but despite his age Blain still loves to play the game, even if it’s at a lower level.
It was a gloomy autumn afternoon in Carlton, a far cry from the Test Match arenas he once graced where, in the last game of 2016, Blain earned his 1,000th Second XI run of the year.
“I don’t play to stack up records,” Blain told The Press.
“But it is always nice to reach a milestone.
“I almost did it last year before holidays and the weather got in the way.”
Talking of the weather, there was a slight hiccup when Gomersal skipper Phil Carter declared with Blain on 128 not out the previous week, just 10 short of the 1,000, and with so much rain about there was a slight concern over whether the New Zealander would get another chance to reach the landmark total.
“Neither Phil or I had realised I was so close until after the game,” said Blain. “Then I told him, if it rains next week you owe me a pint!”
On that final day Blain reached his target on 10 not out and he was given a nice surprise by the Carlton players.
“They obviously all knew because they all stood and applauded when I got to the 1,000. I thought that was a very charitable gesture.”
But Blain has no intention of trying to hog the limelight, he added: “In second team cricket it is important to bring on the young guys.
“Sometimes I feel that I may be batting too long and the downside of getting a lot of runs is that the younger players don’t get a hit.
“I have offered to drop down the order but at the moment they still want me to open and I’m happy to keep doing whatever the club wants me to do.”
It is over 30 years since Blain first came to England, playing at Gomersal and Liversedge, but he has not played continuously.
“Back in New Zealand I finished playing altogether when I stopped playing first class and I had a 15-year break from the game – I’d had enough.
“But, I am certainly enjoying it again now.
“I am committed to playing at Gomersal again next season and I think I could go on for another four or five years yet.”