Southlander Jacob Duffy broke a longstanding Otago record with his figures of 6-89 in the second innings against Northern Districts last week.
Southland’s Jacob Duffy has bowled his way into the Otago Cricket record books, knocking over a significant record with beautiful outswingers, slower balls and deadly yorkers.
The former Southland Boys’ High School cricketer broke the record for the most wickets by an Otago Volts cricketer, held by former international spinner Stephen Boock with 458. Boock’s record had stood for close to 30 years.
Duffy, 29, passed the record in the second innings against Northern Districts at University Oval in Dunedin with 6-89, and also went past 250 first-class scalps. He tops the Otago charts with 465 dismissals across all formats.
“I didn’t quite realise how big of a deal everyone was going to make of it, but it’s bloody cool.
“The boys had a few beers and a wee ceremony on Saturday, it was cool.”
Duffy’s older brother Ryan, who also played for the Otago Volts, was invited into the sheds after the match for the presentation.
“He comes down and watches most games to be honest when he is not working, but I had no idea they were going to invite him and Fred [Ryan’s son] in. Jayden [Tohill] and the grounds team were also invited in. It was very special.”
He is eighth on the first-class list for Otago with 253 wickets, and currently tops their charts in the white ball formats with 120 scalps in List A cricket and 92 in T20.
Lumsden-born Duffy, who made his debut for the Volts at age 17 and dismissed Black Caps Tim Southee and Kane Williamson in his first match, puts his longevity at the crease down to a couple of strength and conditioning coaches who helped him from a young age.
“I have been very fortunate. Those early days with Beero [Mark Beer] and then with Adam Keen at Otago. It’s given me a bloody good base and getting a couple of very good strength and conditioning trainers early set me on the right path and has helped keep me on the park. For a bowler, it’s key being on the park, and I am very appreciative towards those guys.”
Since his stunning Black Caps T20 debut in 2020 where he nabbed 4-33 against Pakistan at Eden Park, Duffy’s confidence has been high and a couple of tweaks to his action have him feeling good.
“I have made some decent gains in the past couple of years. I am bowling a little bit heavier than I have, and I’m still holding my shape [getting swing], which is my main weapon. Things are going pretty well and hopefully, we can keep it that way.”
Numerous departures at Otago in the past few years make Duffy’s achievements even more impressive.
“I always love it here. We have a great group of guys. It has been frustrating as we’ve been building nicely and then lost like Michael Rippon, Michael Rae, Nick Kelly, Nathan Smith, even going back to guys like Braces [Michael Bracewell] and Neesh [James Neesham]. We constantly feel like we are getting somewhere and then guys decide for whatever reason they need to move on.
“I am pretty comfy and set in my way down here. I don’t see any benefit in myself moving away. I just want Otago to win trophies. I have been around a while without Otago winning much other than in my debut season.”
A test debut remained Duffy’s dream.
“That’s definitely the goal. I have been in and about the squad. Obviously, Tim’s captain and that is a bit of a stumbling block for me as we are quite similar, but I just have to keep trying to do my best and bide my time.”
The newly-minted record holder will return to Invercargill with the Volts for the opening round of the Ford Trophy on Saturday, to face Auckland at Queens Park.