Casually, into the record books!

Richard Symmonds — a vending machine supervisor in Harrogate — made it to the history books, playing an unbeaten knock of 343 against Darley 2nd XI in a local match last Saturday. Sportstar brings you his story.

Richard Symmonds on his way to a mighty knock of 343 against Darley 2nd XI in a District Amateur Cricket League fixture last Saturday.   -  Twitter/ Richard Symmonds

Over the past few days, Richard Symmonds has done a few interviews with television channels and radio stations. And everywhere he has been going, a piece of paper — a cricket score sheet — is something he is carrying along.

The piece of paper, after all, is a proof that Symmonds has actually created history, playing an unbeaten knock of 343 for Burnt Yates 2nd XI in a Nidderdale and District Amateur Cricket League fixture against Darley 2nd XI last Saturday. Making it to the history books with his feat in the 40-over game — which is also the highest of the tournament since its inception in 1894 — Symmonds is being noticed by the cricket pundits, the global cricket press and has also drawn the attention of the iconic Wisden.

The scorecard of the match where Burnt Yates 2nd XI took on Darley 2nd XI in a Nidderdale and District Amateur Cricket League fixture, last Saturday.   -  Richard Symmonds

And that has quite surprised the 34-year-old Symmonds, who is a vending machine supervisor in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. “To be honest it’s been a whirlwind few days. I didn’t expect it at all,” Symmonds told Sportstar late on Thursday.

The scorecard of the match where Burnt Yates 2nd XI took on Darley 2nd XI in a Nidderdale and District Amateur Cricket League fixture, last Saturday.   -  Richard Symmonds

It’s been five days already, but Symmonds is yet to believe that he has actually created a record. “I didn’t really know it was a record until Sunday as I was looking through highest scores. Then it struck me,” Symmonds says.

He may not be a part of international or first-class cricket, but the fact that Symmonds managed to score 343 in a 40-over game is a commendable feat. In the process, he managed to hit 30 sixes, which included six consecutively in one over, and 29 boundaries.

And, the passionate ‘cricket fan’ says that when the game against Darley got underway, he did not even imagine that it would be an historical event for him. “I just do my best in every game. (It’s just) that Saturday everything just seemed to go perfectly off the bat with 30 sixes and 29 fours. (I did not even think that there would be) six sixes in an over,” he says.

A father of two, Symmonds lives in the small town of Harrogate with his wife Judi — a nursery nurse and teaching assistant. Even after shooting to fame, he admits that his family has been a big support for him. “Cricket is my pleasure to play and I try and play it every weekend but family comes first,” he says.

“My family has always supported me through everything I do and it’s a massive privilege to have a wife like I do. I always find time for cricket,” he says.

Like most of his friends, Symmonds makes it a point to hit the ground on every weekend. After some hard work as a vending machine supervisor throughout the week, it’s the game of cricket that helps him cool the heels. But with the FIFA World Cup going on and England set to take on Sweden in the quarterfinals this Saturday, most of his team-mates won’t play this week. But then, a few people like Symmonds have decided to address the issue and ensure that they play as per schedule. “This Saturday most people won’t be playing as England football will be on. But we are starting early and stopping at 2.55 pm (local time) to watch the match,” Symmonds says.

While there are no proper records for local-level cricket, there may have been higher scores in the past, but then Symmonds’ feat has certainly stood out. As he speaks to an Indian publication, the 34-year-old also expresses his surprise. “It means a lot coming from a massive cricket nation (like India),” he admits.

After making it to the history books, Symmonds has again gone back to his daily routine and is looking forward to some good game of cricket over the weekend. A record was not in his mind when he took the field last week. It just happened. And perhaps, Symmonds too would like to keep it that way. Even in the future!

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