On this day in history : 27th June 1899 – At the age of thirteen A.E.J. Collins achieves the highest-ever (of the time) recorded cricket score…. Over four afternoons he scores 628 not out….

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Collins – 1899 Postcard – Public domain

Arthur Edward Jeune Collins was born in India but educated in Britain…. In September 1897 he joined Clarke’s House at Clifton College, which had an excellent reputation for sport…. He played half-back for the rugby XV and for the cricket XI team…. In 1901 he won a bronze medal for boxing at a public schools tournament in Aldershot….

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Collins, on the left, with R.P. Keigwin at Clifton College, school racquets team, 1902 – Public domain

But it was in 1899 that he was to score the then highest ever recorded cricket score…. It was a junior school house match between Clarke’s House and North Town House – an annual event….

Matches were always played to the end; there was not a time frame, it took as long as it took…. Play commenced on Thursday the 22nd of June….Collins won the toss for Clarke’s House and chose to bat first…. He hit his first stroke at around 3.30pm and by close of play at 6pm had scored 200 runs….

Play resumed on the Friday and by 5.30pm Collins had broken the existing world record of 485 runs…. By the end of the day he had scored 509….and there was now considerable interest from the public and media…. At Monday lunchtime play continued once more and Collins reached 598 runs…. On Tuesday the 27th the school extended the hours of play to try and finish the game….and Collins eventually ended on 628 runs…. The match was finally concluded on Wednesday the 28th of June with a Clarke House win by an innings and 688 runs….

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Plaque at Clifton College, installed 1962 – Image: Brookie CC BY-SA 3.0

Collins held the word record until January 2016 – when it was beaten by Pranav Dhanawade, a fifteen year old Indian boy who scored 1,009 not out from 327 balls….

As for Collins, despite his achievement he was never to play First Class Cricket….he chose an army career instead…. He married Ethel Slater in 1914 and was sent to France at the outbreak of World War I…. Collins was killed in action on the 11th of November 1914 at the First Battle of Ypres, Belgium….

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