County news November 23, 2015

Browne's 206 sets new heights for English batsman in Sydney Grade

Nick Browne is advancing his reputation in Australia © Getty Images

More than a few English county professionals have struggled to adapt to the harsh glare of Sydney Grade cricket over the years, but nobody can accuse Nick Browne of being among their number. He has become the new star in town. Browne has become the first cricketer from the UK to hit a double century in Sydney Grade, advancing his reputation and sparing the blushes of a few English professionals in the process.

Browne, one of the few bright spots in Essex's 2015 season, struck 206 at the weekend for Mosman against Sydney University at the Allan Border Oval, following up a century in his first match in even more spectacular style.

He beat the previous best score by an English batsman - 194 by Mike Gatting in 1979. Gatting had already won England recognition by then - making his ODI debut in 1977 and playing his first Test a year later - and went on to captain England and win 79 Test caps.

Many in Essex believe that Browne should have received some sort of England development squad recognition this winter - but although he was overlooked it has driven him to a continuation of the form he showed in the county season.

Browne was one of the few successes in 2015 in an Essex season that ultimately led to the removal of Paul Grayson as coach. He made six first-class centuries as he added his name to the long list of contenders urged by the England coach, Trevor Bayliss, to make an unanswerable claim to an England place in county cricket.

He finished the season on a high - a career-best 151 not out against Leicestershire (albeit Division Two's bottom club). His 1157 first-class runs represented the first time an Essex batsman had passed 1000 in the Championship since Ravi Bopara in 2008.

This is the second year Browne has travelled to Sydney to play for Mosman during the English winter. His 206 was only four runs short of Mosman's highest club score, so sparing one of Australia's most famous clubs more emotional trauma than it could take. His opening partnership of 252 with David Lowery in a score of 406 for 3 was the second highest in the club's history.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps