Graeme Hick scored the seven runs he needed to complete his 130th first-class hundred on the second day of Worcestershire's Championship game against Northamptonshire at New Road. He now sits in eighth place in the list of all-time century makers, moving ahead of Sir Len Hutton. It was also his 100th hundred for his county.
It didn't take long for Hick, who finished on 93 not out last night, to add the seven required runs to his overnight total. As he flicked the ball off his legs to take a single from Nicholson, he lifted his bat to the players' balcony and was greeted by rapturous applause and a standing ovation. He went on to make 139.
Less than a month ago Hick, who turned 40 in April, was being all-but written off after a poor start to the season. On June 4, Steve James in The Sunday Telegraph wrote: "I am worried about Graeme Hick. Worried that a glorious career might be heading for a less-than-glorious ending." That same week Hick bounced back with 182 against Somerset at Taunton.
"It was a special day for me," Hick admitted. "There's quite a lot of people who have sat here for many years and hopefully enjoyed my batting and it's been a good day for them as well. "To get the hundredth hundred for Worcestershire here at New Road adds a bit to it."
"I'm enjoying my cricket at the moment," he replied when asked the inevitable question about how long he plans to go on. "I've always said I'll make a decision about my future at the end of the season. At the same time, the club have got to do the same thing. The club is obviously bigger than the player."
"Graeme has achieved something that not many people can dream of doing," said Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket. "His 100th hundred is a true reflection of what he has done for Worcestershire over the course of his career. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be amongst those who have watched Graeme's successes unfold and it has been fantastic to watch him score many of his hundreds over the years.
"We all have great memories. Perhaps the thing I most remember from his heyday was his strength. We would watch from the balcony as, time after time, he would hit a yorker straight back past the bowler for four: something incredibly difficult to do and which gave rise to the dressing room saying "You can't bowl there to Hicky!"