Shared from the 2/6/2020 North Shore Times eEdition

Local legend marks record 473 games

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UTS North Sydney cricketer Rob Aitken broke the record for most appearances. Picture: Wilson Smith

GRADE Cricket legend Rob Aitken made history at the weekend, becoming the player with the most First Grade matches ever.

In recording his 473rd appearance he overtook Ken Hall, who himself took the record from Rob’s father, Bob, who racked up 369 appearances in his own career.

“[Before this month] I didn’t actually know dad had a record like that, I don’t think anyone in our family knew,” said Aitken. “It’s pretty cool if you look at it.

“I watched a bit of dad’s cricket [as a kid], though I probably spent more time playing in the dirt at Kings Oval with my brothers.

“I played against Kenny Hall and really respect him too, he’s a fantastic player and still playing now in the over 60s I think which is pretty incredible. To be in the same breath as a guy like that is pretty amazing.”

Aitken made his First Grade debut as a 17-year-old in 1992 for Fairfield-Liverpool, before stints with Petersham-Marrickville

and Parramatta.

Then, in 2001, he joined the Bears, where he has played 369 of his matches.

A talented finger spinner and handy batsman, he represented NSW at U19, U21 and 2nd XI level. In the 2000/01 season, he won the Bill O’Reilly Medal for the best player in Sydney Grade Cricket, before following that up with the Michael Bevan Medal for the best limited overs player when the Bears won their fifth limited overs title in 2012/13.

“This competition has been going something like 130 years and this fella’s played more of it than anyone else,” Todd Harper, a coach at the Bears, said.

“And you don’t do that without being good.”

Aitken and the team took on UNSW in Daceyville on Saturday. After winning the toss, the captain chose to field in the hope of taking advantage of a pitch that the groundsman had described as ‘soft’.

Finger spinner Jack James took the first wicket and ended up with figures of 2/77. Aitken put in the hard yards but came away wicketless from his 17 overs.

The Bumblebees ended on 8/314, meaning North Sydney will be looking for early wickets next week.

Second Grade bounced back from a loss last week to put on 9/378, while Third and Fifth Grade both have their opposition on the rack.

Five’s bowled UNSW out for 131 and are 1/55 needing another 77 runs for victory next week. Fourth Grade have plenty to do after conceding 8/364. The Poidevin-Gray Shield side beat UNSW making it into the conference final.

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