County set - The Wisden Cricketer June 23, 2004

Hildreth a big hit

Rob Steen
What with Durham chasing down 451 and Worcestershire administering a whipping in the C&G, joy was easily confined in May, save James Hildreth's 101 and 72 on Championship debut, against an attack numbering Shoaib Akhtar
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What with Durham chasing down 451 and Worcestershire administering a whipping in the C&G, joy was easily confined in May, save James Hildreth's 101 and 72 on Championship debut, against an attack numbering Shoaib Akhtar. Peter Bowler was full of admiration for the Millfield graduate. "The wonderful thing was that it was attractive but very orthodox. He did everything right. I don't think he has to do an awful lot to get to the next level. He's going up to university next year - he should be left to enjoy himself for now," says Bowler.

Sunday League cricket's maiden summer was a bowler's dream - 35 claimed 15 scalps at under 20 - yet nobody dreamed harder than Brian Langford. Thirty-five years after the most miserly of one-day spells - 8-8-0-0 against Essex at Yeovil - Langford looked dapper and ruddy-cheeked as he reeled in the years. "Bowled 'em off the reel with Tom Cartwright," he says. "Didn't know until the start of the final over, when umpire John Langridge told me, that I hadn't conceded anything. It was turning a bit. I was fortunate only to bowl one ball to Keith Boyce, which produced a leg-bye, and most to Brian Ward. Apart from adjustments for the left-hander Lee Irvine, I hardly changed the field." Aye, them were the days.

Moment of the month Shoaib Akhtar champing to get at Hildreth as the 19-year-old kept smacking him for four.