St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Urban Legends St George's Park - John Crawley breaks Eric Rowan’s highest score at St George’s Park
John Crawley breaks Eric Rowan’s highest score at St George’s Park
Neale Emslie

Lancastrian John Crawley broke a mark which had stood for nearly 50 years as the records fell at St George’s Park this weekend during England’s batting onslaught against a hapless Eastern Province cricket side.

Indisputably, the high point of the tourists’ massive 566 for five declared was Crawley’s magnificent 286, an effort which surpassed the previous best individual innings at South Africa’s oldest Test venue, the 284 set by the late Eric Rowan against Griqualand West in 1945-6.

Yesterday, Crawley was understandably happy with his innings, which lasted nearly 10 hours and which set his team up for the sixth successive win of their South African safari.

“I was immensely pleased with my knock,” said an unassuming Crawley after play yesterday.

“I had no problems with the conditions. The pitch was good although it did get hot in the afternoon and towards the end of the innings I was feeling mentally tired.”

Crawley was within sight of emulating the legendary Dennis Compton’s feat of scoring a triple-century in South Africa when he was caught and bowled by Rowan Lyle as he misjudged an attempted big hit.

Asked if he was disappointed that he had not reached 300, Crawley replied: “Not really. From 250 to 280 I was having a bit of go and was not that disappointed not to get there.”

Overlooked for the England tour of West Indies this summer, Crawley is naturally hoping to make the step up to international cricket in the next few seasons, but was not keen to elaborate on his prospects.

“Hopefully I will keep on making runs and I prefer to let my bat do the talking.”

His bat certainly “spoke” to the EP attack this weekend as his knock helped the visitors record the highest total by an English side against EP, as well as the highest total ever made at St George’s Park, beating the 561 EP registered in the 1988-89 Currie Cup final against Transvaal.

Eastern Province Herald.
December 20, 1993.

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