First ton comes with sixes

Last updated 16:33 08/02/2013
Chris Gibb

Chris Gibb

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Former Canterbury all-rounder Stephen Cunis can probably take some of the credit for Chris Gibb's realising a long held goal of scoring a senior hundred in Marlborough cricket.

During a stint in Christchurch playing for the St Albans Club after leaving Blenheim in 2006, Cunis took the young Marlborough batsman aside one day at training and gave him some advice as Chris recalled. "Stephen said to me, if you want to play down here [for St Albans] for a while you could be a senior cricketer at this club if you train at least 20 per cent harder. When you get in [batting] don't throw it away. Build an innings.

"Stephen gave me some self belief and he was a very good cricketer, player coach for St Albans then."

Chris took his advice and did make the St Albans senior team and in between playing in England is a first choice player for Celtic and now Marlborough when he's home.

His career has changed dramatically since he began as a mad keen 7-year-old at St Mary's School in Blenheim. Back then he was a leg-spin bowler, but by his own admission, sucked so much at batting he often didn't even make it to the crease. Then things changed.

"One season I was just out there batting normally then I had a chance to go up the batting order and I guess I wasn't too bad and I stayed there."

Bowling leg-spinners can be soul-destroying when you drag one down short or over-toss bowling so slow and he got sick of bowling and getting smacked all around the park so took up wicket-keeping as a teenager. He became very good at that to the stage where he sometimes wicket-keeps for Celtic and has also donned the gloves for Marlborough.

Chris has played a lot of valuable innings for Celtic, the club he's played for since he began and one which he vowed never to leave. Saturday's ton was his first in senior cricket and he certainly didn't loiter in the nervous 90s.

"I went from 88 to 100 with two sixes. I knew I was getting close so I just wanted to get it over with. I saw Dean Brownlee do that in a test so I thought I might as well have a go at that."

Truth is Gibb just played the two deliveries as he saw them and that's how he's modelled his batting in latter years.

"I just try and play straight and keep it simple. Put the bad ball away and try not to hit the ball in the air too much. Build an innings."

While T20 cricket is very much in vogue now, Gibb considers himself more a cricket purist and enjoys the longer version of the game more.

The 26 year-old loves playing in the Marlborough competition and for the reps, but also thoroughly enjoyed his time playing in England for two seasons with the Chertsey Club.

He doesn't have any long term cricket dreams at this stage and said, "I've actually done more than I thought I would in cricket. Playing for Marlborough, playing overseas. I never took it too seriously initially. I would just meet up with the lads on a Saturday, play and go out on the drink."

He still enjoys the lads company and an aftermatch beer but ability-wise he's got plenty to offer as a very good cricketer and is hoping last week's ton wasn't a one-off.

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Cricket is his first sporting love but he enjoys playing golf socially and touch and while in Christchurch dabbled briefly with rugby league. Playing out of the Marist/Western Suburbs Club, everything was going well until a broken foot ended that dream.

Leisure-wise, Chris enjoys hanging out with his family and friends and his travelling days are far from over.

"I'm going to work the wine vintage here and go travelling again. I've got a few mates in Aussie so I'd like to catchup and potentially stay with them."

Somewhere along the line of course he's got to fit in his goal for five years time of being married with children.

However, as he said, he still hasn't met his wife yet, so come on girls, Celtic and Marlborough cricket need someone to step up in a hurry before he leaves.

- The Marlborough Express

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