Press Office


Student bowled over by charity support

Cricket fanatic Alby Shale has set a new world record by batting at the Oval’s nets for 26 hours.

The Newcastle University politics graduate was bowled over by the support he received for his record-breaking bid to raise funds for his charity, Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation on Monday (15 July 2013)

“I feel far worse today than I did yesterday, to be honest,” said Alby, who is recovering at home in Oxford. “I’m not a massive fan of cricket right now, but I know that will change the minute I get to Lords on Sunday, and I am chuffed to bits with what we’ve achieved.

“I couldn’t believe how much support we got - not only from top cricketers turning up to bowl, but also from people I’d never met who saw our appeal on Twitter and drove for miles just to take part.”

He faced nearly 250 people in the net, including Prime Minister David Cameron, and was not bowled out until 15 hours in. He was only out seven times during the whole challenge, despite facing a total of 6,062 balls.

Alby began his attempt at 6.45 am on Monday at the Ken Barrington Centre of the Kia Oval stadium in south London and soldiered on till 8.45 am the following morning – and then slept for 17 hours.

The rules set down by Guinness World Records only allowed a five-minute break for every full hour to have a drink and use the toilet. He sustained himself on a combination of Mars bars, Haribo and Red Bull.

He beat Australian Jade Child’s 25-hour record set in October last year for the longest-ever individual cricket net.

Alby's tutor Professor Hartmut Behr said: “We’re really proud of Alby and his achievement. This fantastic record shows Alby’s endurance and devotion to the public good which characterised him while he was studying Politics.”

Alby was due to pick up his 2:1 degree in Politics at Newcastle on Monday but chose to raise funds for his charity instead, which he set up with his brother in memory of their father, Christopher Shale, who originally came up with the idea to build a stadium in Rwanda.

“I’ve got mixed emotions about missing it, but his absence would have been felt,” said Alby, who will be invited to attend another graduation this winter. His father, who was a close friend of David Cameron and his election organizer, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2011.

David Cameron, West Indies cricketer Brian Lara and BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew are patrons of Alby’s Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which aims to construct and manage on a not-for-profit basis the first dedicated international cricket ground in Rwanda.

Alby has taught cricket in Rwanda and is keen to raise the profile of his charity, which would provide the country’s first international standard pitch - a real boost to its sporting facilities.

The foundation has already raised £352,306 towards the stadium but aims to raise £600,000.

For more information and to donate to the charity, visit Alby's fundraising page.

published on: 16 July 2013