There can be little doubt that the Bassetlaw Cricket League has over the years been a breeding ground for future Test match players all over the world. Without thinking much about it, at random one can remember the likes of Chris Cairns (Blidworth and New Zealand), Andy Bichell (Milton and Australia), Iain O’Brien (Glapwell and New Zealand), Usman Afzaal (Notts and England) and many more.
In the not too distant past, two players who have recently scored test centuries for South Africa and Australia have also represented Edwinstowe in the last eight years.
Most recently Dean Elgar, of South Africa, carried his bat for 118 undefeated runs against England at Kingsmead Durban in the recent Test Match. He was the first South African to accomplish this feat since Gary Kirsten in 1997 and when one considers he scored all but 96 runs of his side’s total runs it shows what a feat it really was.
This was Dean’s fourth century for South Africa and in first class matches he has scored 7871 runs at 43.72 and at international level he has scored 1083 runs at an average of 40.11 in 22 tests.
He was at Edwinstowe for ten matches in 2007 as a 19 year-old. He quickly made his presence felt scoring 599 runs at an average of 74.88 with a highest score of 138.
He was a popular player in the Edwinstowe dressing room and everyone was disappointed when he had to return home half way through the season owing to being included in a training camp meeting for his national side.
In addition to his exploits with the bat Elgar took several wickets with his slow left arm orthodox bowling.
Go forward two years to 2009 and Forest Corner welcomed a young Australian batsman from Brisbane, Queensland named Joe Burns. This 20 year-old immediately showed he had a touch of class and started scoring runs for fun. In that summer which was rather a wet one with several matches being cancelled owing to inclement weather, Burns was quickly into his stride and scored 919 runs at 51.06 with an highest score of 118.
He quickly became a regular member of the Queensland state side, and in the Sheffield Shield he hammered 140 runs on debut for his state side against South Australia in 2010. The following season he scored 781 runs at 41.10.
In 2013, Joe was named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year and he has visited England twice more since to play for Leicestershire and Middlesex in the County Championship.
Recently Joe has become David Warner’s regular opening partner in test matches and has already notched up a couple of centuries, the most recent being his Boxing Day 128 against the West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He is already averaging 44.38 in test cricket for Australia and 41.05 in first class cricket.