Northcote’s achievement still sinking in

August 25, 2023

ANDY Northcote said his achievement has not sunk in yet after breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous cricket net.

Northcote finished on Thursday lunchtime after batting for 50 hours and 15 minutes at Woolpit Cricket Club to set a new record, subject to official verification.

The 40-year-old set out to bat continuously for 52 hours, but stopped after passing the previous benchmark of 50 hours, 4 minutes and 17 seconds set by Virag Mare from Nagpur in India.

Northcote, who has just stood down from his role as Suffolk Cricket Performance Lead and men’s 1st XI coach, has so far raised just over £6,000 for Suffolk MIND, beating his target of £5,000.

Reflecting on the moment he claimed the record, Northcote said: “It was a feeling of relief, although it has not really sunk in it – a real take a breath moment.

“I still feel exhausted, as you would expect. I trained hard, five days a week for months leading up to this so my body was in good shape.

“I connected with a sports psychologist and a nutritionist too, so I thought I had all bases covered.

However, in reality there was no way to prepare for the lack of sleep coupled with continuous exercise. My body held up physically, my back hurt early and was a constant but the pain in my hands was the worst. My hands swelled up and then blistered too!”

Northcote, who faced a total of 9,774 deliveries, said the mornings were the hardest periods of his marathon net.

He said: “Between 3am and 7am were brutal and both for very different reasons. I got a stomach upset through the first and my legs gave way during the second.

“Bodies work in cycles and I knew that if I could get through them, it would be okay and a ‘second’ wind would kick me on.

“However, what kept me going the most was the people around me. There are heaps of people to mention and help received from some total strangers too that was really wholesome.

“In the dark times, four people stick out. George Northcote and Rebecca Gatens, who were my two constants throughout the challenge; each had maybe six hours sleep throughout and looked after me and the volunteers.

“Suffolk cricketer Tom Rash, who at 3am on the Thursday morning was a lifesaver – counting down balls, reminding me my body will kick in, and force feeding me, and also Terry Small, who was almost there throughout, reminding me that tiredness is a nothing, focus on the present and to watch every ball.”

Christie Philips, a relative who drove up from Southampton, was also a great source of encouragement along with hundreds of people from the local cricketing community who attended at various points.

Northcote had raised £2,600 before starting the last leg of his 481 Challenge – four different challenges across eight months by one person.

He ran a mile a day for 100 days at the start of this year before running the Cambridge Half Marathon in March and then the Paris Marathon the following month.

Northcote added: “I feel so blessed that there are so many kind people out there; donating their time to help me or the hard-earned money to a great cause that affects us all.”

The whole event was filmed and the footage is being submitted as evidence of his record attempt to Guinness World Records for verification.

The process is expected to take 12-16 weeks before Northcote will know if his achievement has been officially recognised as a new world record.

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