A young South African has been re-writing the record books in East League cricket in a way that has seen statisticians checking records for comparisons with Kim Hughes, a former local pro who eventually became Australia’s captain.
When Graeme Beghin, 23, hit his fifth century of the campaign for Edinburgh South against Division One rivals Holy Cross at the weekend it took him to 1060 runs for the league season.
Back in 1976 Hughes claimed 556 league runs during a stint with Watsonians but, as he was eligible to play in other competitions, he finished on 1711.Beghin’s role as overseas amateur at a club where he is also heavily involved in coaching, including youngsters, allowed him to participate in only the Murgitroyd Masterton Trophy where he made 28 in his sole innings, against Edinburgh Accies, in a match South lost through having more wickets down.
Clearly fresh standards are being set but Beghin says he also takes satisfaction from helping produce cricketers of the future.
“Performances in the middle with the bat have to be my highlight so far for but I am also enjoying helping establish a junior section at Inch Park for Edinburgh South.
“My dad is a rugby coach in the country area of Kwazula Natal where I hail from and I grew up seeing the pleasure he got from kids doing something in a match they’d been practising. Some of that has rubbed off on me.
“Edinburgh South are really trying to make a footprint in the area and I’ve spent a lot of time doing cricket taster sessions at local schools.
“It is challenge to change mindsets in an area dominated by football but kids are responding to the fun of understanding a new game and developing fresh skills
“Football is maybe a bit complacent and cricket is responding by putting the emphasis on quality in working with 10-20 youngsters at the club.”
On his own performances, Beghin says: “I arrived with a couple of goals.
“One was to improve my game and mature as a player on wickets I knew would be slower than I was used to.
“I also knew that getting in and out was not acceptable and that I had to show responsibility through staying in the middle while my seam-up bowling is good enough to hold an end up until the spinners come on.
“There is also something very rewarding about being part of a set-up where there is such raw passion for cricket.
“Some have not had a lot of coaching through school but they try to make up for it in other ways.”
Beghin has come from the Cape Town University club that counted South African captain Graeme Smith as a member for a while and intends to move on when he returns home.
“Most of the players are younger and it is time to find another club and test myself more.”
Similarly, he does not rule out a return to the UK.
“I had a gap year in Brighton before going to university and just stumbled on a local cricket club who provided some kit.
“That planted the seeds of my current visit to learn different conditions and while I am keen to go as far as I can on returning to South Africa I’ll take it step at a time and maybe gain further overseas experience here next year.”
Beghin, who was educated at St Charles’ College, Pietermaritzburg, is enjoying a golden summer which has already brought centuries against St Boswells (156), Carlton 2nds (132), Dunfermline (127), Holy Cross (118) and Murrayfield DAFS (113), but he admits he has some unfinished business this weekend.
Edinburgh South, who are mid-table, are due to play a return fixture with Musselburgh.
In the previous encounter Beghin was bowled first ball.
“Maybe there will be a little be of a grudge,” he laughs, adding “but that is the great thing about cricket – it humbles you!”