Ryan Le Loux: An astonishing 302
Redlands all-rounder Ryan Le Loux made the most stunning start possible to the XXXX GOLD Grade cricket season with an all-time record score last Saturday week.
Le Loux (right) bludgeoned 302 out of his team's total of 466 in a huge win over Beenleigh-Logan at Peter Burge Oval.
The 23-year-old became just the second man in the 110-year history of the State's First Grade competition to score a triple century, and overhauled Sandgate-Redcliffe's Matthew Goggin, who held the record with 300 not out in the 2002-03 season.
"It was one of those days where everything goes your way," Le Loux said nonchalantly. "It was probably a once in a lifetime thing. It was a good day, I enjoyed it."
Le Loux was dropped on 40, but didn't give another chance until he was 300.
"I made them pay a bit, so it was good," he said in something of an understatement.
Le Loux opened the innings on the first weekend when Redlands went to stumps at a precarious 2-22, chasing Beenleigh-Logan's 265. He was eight not out. He gradually built momentum through his innings the following week, not hitting a six until he had reached 120. By 220 he was in full flight and belted another seven sixes between there and his triple century.
"It came pretty quick from there to get to the 300," he quipped, with his wagon-wheel below.
The magic milestone came with a deft flick off his toes for two. "I nearly ran to the boundary with my celebration," he admitted.
Le Loux's highest score in Grade cricket last season was 96, and his best ever score came in a one-day against Toombul last year when he cracked 132.
Le Loux became the first leg-spinner in 12 years to be chosen for the XXXX GOLD Queensland Bulls when he made his State debut in 2004-05, but bowled just the one over against Tasmania. He managed one more first class game the following summer against the West Indies, but was supplanted in the team by Daniel Doran.
Bowling remains his first love, although he has worked diligently on his batting over the past six months during a stint in Holland and on his return. "I've been working really hard on my batting - I've hit a lot of balls," he said.
Le Loux has lost a substantial 10kg over winter and firmly believes it has helped him. "I spent three days a week in the gym - people say it's got nothing to do with it, but I think it helps you mentally," he said.
Le Loux played for Vorborg, a small town outside of The Hague in Holland, where he played almost exclusively as a batsman.
"In my two years I didn't score a hundred and the club was on my back about it, although I did score 600 runs in each season," he said.
A fitter and turner by trade, the Dutch connection came through his grandfather, who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s after fighting for Holland against Indonesia in the War of Independence.
He could qualify to player for Holland in the World Cup, although that would require him to play another two seasons in the Netherlands and give up his Australian status.
"At this stage there's no chance of that happening," he said.
In Redlands campaign last summer, he scored 304 runs in 12 matches at an average of 25.33, so he should surpass that in just two games this year. He took 14 wickets at 42.39 as well last summer, but is working hard to improve on that return.
Le Loux is aware he will need to do something special being on the periphery of the Queensland Bulls side, and is keen to do it with the ball, rather than the bat. "Scoring runs is a bonus, but in that aspect it has to be my bowling that has to be more special," he said. "I'm always trying to push (for a Bulls berth). As long as I'm playing first Grade and Second XI, I'm still going to be trying."
Le Loux admitted he took some momentum out of his massive batting effort into the QAS/Qld Second XI match against Tasmania last week. He took the early wicket of Tasmanian danger man David Dawson and finished with a tidy 1-45 in the first innings.
"I've been bowling well in the nets, and only bowled a few overs last weekend, but felt good with them," he said. "The ball's coming out well - I was a little bit too keen today, but other than that I've been feeling good."