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Full name James Charles Hildreth
Born September 9, 1984, Milton Keynes
Current age 30 years 175 days
Major teams England Lions, Somerset, Somerset Cricket Board
Nickname Hildy, Hildz
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium-fast
Height 5 ft 10 in
Education Millfield School, Glastonbury
|First-class debut||Somerset v Derbyshire at Taunton, Sep 10-13, 2003 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Yorkshire v Somerset at Leeds, Sep 23-26, 2014 scorecard|
|List A debut||2003|
|Last List A||Surrey v Somerset at The Oval, Aug 20, 2014 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Warwickshire v Somerset at Birmingham, Jul 2, 2004 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Somerset v Middlesex at Taunton, Jul 25, 2014 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|7, 9||Somerset||v Yorkshire||Leeds||23 Sep 2014||FC|
|182||Somerset||v Middlesex||Taunton||15 Sep 2014||FC|
|22, 9||Somerset||v Northants||Taunton||31 Aug 2014||FC|
|53||Somerset||v Surrey||The Oval||20 Aug 2014||LA|
|15, 26||Somerset||v Warwickshire||Taunton||15 Aug 2014||FC|
|3||Somerset||v Glamorgan||Taunton||12 Aug 2014||LA|
|42*||Somerset||v Sussex||Taunton||10 Aug 2014||LA|
|14*||Somerset||v Middlesex||Lord's||7 Aug 2014||LA|
|16*||Somerset||v Warwickshire||Birmingham||5 Aug 2014||LA|
|3||Somerset||v Kent||Taunton||31 Jul 2014||LA|
For any batsman, Taunton is the ideal place to launch a career. There was much expected of James Hildreth from age-group level, and his 101 and 72 in just his second County Championship match, against a Durham attack that included Shoaib Akhtar, hinted at a stellar career. He has not kicked on to international cricket but developed into an entertaining and consistent run-scorer during a decade at Somerset which has seen him score over 10,000 first-class runs.
He hails from that solid breeding ground of first-class cricketers, Millfield School, where he was part of the first XI for four years. His progression continued through England youth sides at all levels including the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2003-04. He ended his age-group career with 210 in the final Test against Bangladesh in 2004 and had a cameo role of 38 off 24 balls when Somerset famously chased down 343 to beat the touring Australians in 2005 - also helping his county to Twenty20 Cup glory that season.
Justin Langer, who became his captain at Taunton, rated him as "an extraordinary talent" and Australians don't throw around such comments without good reason. Hildreth spent the winter of 2007-08 with the England development squad but still his potential wasn't translated into consistent results. His average lingered in the 30s rather than the 40s as he threatened to become one of the county game's frustrating talents.
His opening innings of the 2009 season, again on a batting paradise at Taunton, suggested the best was still to come as he took Warwickshire for an unbeaten 303 - the earliest triple century in an English season. But in the remaining 22 innings that season he scored only another 631 runs. Finally, in 2010, Hildreth produced the season everyone had been waiting for, with seven centuries and 1,440 runs at 65.45. It played a big part in Somerset's push for a maiden County Championship title but they were denied in the final session of the season.
That winter, he returned to the national set up with the England performance squad in Australia and, when he captained England Lions in the West Indies a few months later, the chances of an international career were getting brighter again. But he averaged 38.82 and 43.00 in the next two Championship seasons, not quite big enough numbers to really turn the heads of the selectors, and they were suggestions that he was less than comfortable against the short ball.
International cricket has probably passed him by but he continued to entertain at Taunton in 2013, passing 1,000 runs in a season for the fourth time in his career.
As he admitted towards the end of an inconsistent 2014: "I'm not as consistent as I need to be. I've not had a poor career, but I've been inconsistent. I'm around the 1000-run mark most years but I don't kick on. That's the story of my career."
He may have found a career from cricket but Hildreth is a talented all-round sportsman. He played hockey for the West of England, tennis and squash for the South of England, rugby for Millfield and football for Luton Town as a teenager.
NBC Denis Compton Award 2003
NBC Denis Compton Award 2004
NBC Denis Compton Award 2005
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