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Sam Northeast: 'I had more nerves in the 190s than in the 390s - which sounds ridiculous'

Glamorgan batter talks ESPNcricinfo through his record-breaking innings of 410 not out

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Sam Northeast steers into the off side  •  Getty Images

Sam Northeast steers into the off side  •  Getty Images

Sam Northeast made 410 not out in the County Championship on Saturday, the ninth-highest score in first-class history, as Glamorgan set up an improbable victory against Leicestershire at Grace Road. He spoke to ESPNcricinfo about his milestone innings on Saturday night.
Congratulations. Can you sum up how you're feeling right now? You've probably had just enough time for it to have sunk in on the drive south.
Thanks. I guess it's something which you always strive for in your career but never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I was going to end up on 410 not out and join some unbelievable names. The list of players: Lara, Hick, Bradman… To join that list is, as I said, beyond my wildest imagination really. It's been a crazy few days. You always strive for a huge personal milestone like that in your career. It's been a special couple of days - and topped off with a great win.
Was there a point where you realised you were on track for a massive score, not just a big one? You were 308 not out last night, needed to set the game up - you must have known there was a chance to make some serious runs this morning?
To be honest, it was yesterday [when I realised]. I never really thought about it today. Looking back at it now… hitting a six to get to 400, what am I doing? I could have just got there in a more conventional way. If I'd got out without reaching 400 I'd be kicking myself now. It was always a case of trying to set the game up. It was a situation of seeing how many we could get. The hard work was done yesterday. Me and Cookey [Chris Cooke, who made 191 not out] could go out and enjoy ourselves this morning after we got ourselves in.
Were you conscious of certain numbers today? Were ticking them off in your own head - going past Bradman, going past Hick?
No, not at all. I knew that I needed two runs for Glamorgan's highest score ever. That was job done this morning. Even just to equal Steve James, I was like 'OK, I'm happy now'. After that it was about getting myself in and seeing how far I could go. I remember going through and thinking, '333 is pretty good… 350 is pretty good, we'll keep going'. That's kind of how I took it today.
Your previous highest first-class score was 191. What was your highest ever - had you made something ridiculous in a school or club game?
191 was my highest in everything. I had a lot more nerves in the 190s than in the 390s which sounds completely ridiculous to even talk about it now. I really wanted that double. That was something I wanted ticked off the list in my career and in some ways, I thought that was never going to happen. It's not something you think about all the time, is it? 'I want to get a double hundred this week'. You just think, 'let's rebuild again and keep going'. You've never got enough, as all my coaches over the years have told me. I guess it was kind of true.
Players talk about feeling in the zone, or like they've completed batting after innings like this. Did anything feel massively different for you?
I spoke to my dad last night and he said it was the best he'd ever seen me play. I was like, 'really?' I said I'd felt good, but not like I was on a different planet, and he was like, 'no, it's the best I've ever seen you play.' That was coming from someone who has seen me bat quite a substantial number of times in my career, so the fact that he acknowledged that was nice. It didn't really feel any different. You've obviously trying to make plans against certain bowlers and to be honest, it felt like a normal day at the office - but it obviously wasn't.
Did you have any family there today? Did your dad make the trip?
He watched every ball on the stream. He was considering coming up today but didn't want to put any pressure on me - coming up for me to not do anything. He enjoys watching the stream. I don't think he missed a ball from ball one.
I'm sure you'll say all the right things about the team coming first, but was there ever a small part of you that was thinking about asking for another half-hour, just to see if you could give 500 a nudge?
Matt [Maynard, Glamorgan's coach] and Lloydy [David Lloyd, captain] and Kiran [Carlson, vice-captain] basically put it to us and said we could get 28 more runs for the best-ever sixth-wicket partnership of all-time in any cricket - 'if you really want to do that, we're not going to stop you'. Me and Cookey had it in our minds that lunch was the declaration and that was what it was always going to be. We left ourselves what now looks exactly like the right amount of time and right number of runs - it couldn't have worked out any better to be honest.
A year ago, you were on your way out at Hampshire and had a couple of loan spells at the end of the season - everything looks a bit blurred. Does that feel like a long time ago now?
It was probably a time where I didn't quite know where the future was and it all looked quite uncertain. To have found a really good home at Glamorgan and be enjoying my cricket again, I couldn't be happier at the moment. I just hope everything keeps going on an upward trajectory. We won today and we're in the hunt for promotion, which is fantastic. Hopefully [there are] more good times ahead for me and Glamorgan cricket.
How do you celebrate an innings of 410 not out?
I'm literally just heading to a mate's barbecue - a mate from when I was at Hampshire. I've just slipped down there from Leicester. We've had this booked in so it'll be nice to celebrate with a few friends. It should be fun tonight and then I'll see the family tomorrow and celebrate a little bit more - then back onto the county grind again.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98