One thing I absolutely love about cricket is its rich history. If I'd have chosen cricket history as my dissertation subject for my history degree, I may have got a better mark.
When you look through the England cricket archives there are certain names that jump out at you. Len Hutton, Wally Hammond, Graham Gooch, Alastair Cook, all great run scorers.
However, I came across Andy Sandham. A player I wasn't overly familiar with. A player that only appeared for England on 14 occasions, and finished his international career with an average of 38.21, nothing overly special so far.
Then I noticed his top score in international cricket, a 325 against the West Indies in Kingston in 1930. For Sandham it was a welcome relief, he'd scored just 14 runs combined over 4 innings going into that game, but somehow despite his lack of form, he managed to become the first-ever test player to score a triple century. Beating R.E Foster's existing record of 287 runs.
The 325 would come off 600 balls (100 modern-day overs) and included 28 boundaries over 10 hours of crease occupation. This means that 213 of his runs were quite that, runs between the wicket. He ran a 5 and a 7 in his inning, quite different to today. It's believed that at one point while he was batting with the younger Les Ames, Sandham had to have a word with the hard-running younger colleague:
“Now look here, Les, it’s all right for you but I’ve been here for hours and I’m in my 40th year.”
If we think Joffra has been over-bowled, share a thought for Clifford Roach, the West Indian bowler got through 80.2 overs in that first inning which saw England put up 849 runs, eclipsing their own record of 636 runs in an inning. He did get 5 wickets for his troubles though.
Unbelievably after so much toil by Sandham, the game was declared a draw. After playing for 7 days, the following two were completely washed out by rain. The boat leaving the Caribbean to return the players to Blighty was due to leave on day 10, and the players had to be on it.
Unfortunately for Sandham, his 325 against the West Indies came a couple of months before his 40th birthday. Following a broken bone due to an accident in Durban during the 1930/31 MCC tour, he was never to play for England again.
Sandham's 325 would remain the highest score by a #2 batsmen in test cricket until 2003/4 when Australia's Matthew Hayden hit 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth.
He would continue to play for Surrey where he had earlier formed a formidable opening partnership with the great Jack Hobbs. That opening partnership put on a hundred for the first wicket on 66 occasions.
Sandham would finish his first-class career with over 41,000 runs at a 44.82 average, including 107 centuries and 207 half-centuries.