Dominic Sibley 's grandfather placed two bets on his then-teenage grandson -- first at 150/1 then at 66/1 -- that he would one day play for his country. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Dominic Sibley had made good strides in the England domestic circuit while playing for Warwickshire. At an average of 40 after 70 First Class games, Sibley was earmarked for greater things in international cricket. After making his debut in the New Zealand Tests, Sibley finally etched his name on the big stage by smashing his maiden century. His knock of 133 has put England on course for levelling the four-match series 1-1. However, the knock has not only made Sibley a big star for England but it has also made his family richer. Thanks to his late grandfather Kenneth MacKenzie's faith in his talent, MacKenzie died in 2011 four months after placing two bets on his then-teenage grandson -- first at 150/1 then at 66/1 -- that he would one day play for his country.
His family had no idea they could benefit from a posthumous payput until MacKenzie's daughter Christine Sibley, Dom's mother, went to a William Hill betting shop in Surrey, south East of England. "He'd have been so proud of Dom's achievement, so watching him was tinged with sadness, but he'd also have been delighted at pulling off the bet at massive odds," she told The Times.
Although Mackenzie spotted something special in his grandson when he was just five he bided his time till he was 16 before placing the first bet. "It was unreal that Dom's grampi saw the potential and invested in the bet -- he was very, very keen and passionate about cricket," said Christine. "He went back a few years later and told them he thought the odds were a bit skinny, but they honoured the bet," added the 57-year-old.
The cashier told the Times it was one of the more unusual pay-outs. "I've never seen two slips worth worth USD 28,500 like these before in nearly four years here -- it's even more unusual that the bets have been landed from beyond the grave," Tyler Golledge told the newspaper. William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said it was a remarkable bit of talent-spotting. "This is a record-breaking payout for any such bet involving a cricket protege," he said. "Dom clearly made a massive impression on his adoring grandfather."
Speaking after the end of the day in the press conference, Sibley summed up the feeling of scoring his maiden Test century. "That moment when I saw the ball go for four, that's what I've been working towards since I was 13 or 14. Stokesy (Ben Stokes) told me to stop and take it in; enjoy it for a second. It already seems like a bit of a blur now, but it was a great moment. Hopefully there will be more to come over the next few years," Sibley said.