Cricket: Hick hits double century

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Graeme Hick, omitted from both England tour parties this winter, yesterday took advantage of an easy-paced wicket and a Hampshire attack, which included two debutants, to hit an unbeaten 253 as Worcestershire reached 428 for 2 on the first day at Southampton.

Hick, whose innings lasted just over six hours, and his captain, Tom Moody, who was 120 not out, put on 328 for the third wicket, beating a county record which had stood for 35 years.

Ashley Cowan, whose potential as a strike bowler has won him a place on the tour to the West Indies, confirmed himself as more than a useful batsman at Chelmsford.

Coming in at No 10, he rescued Essex with a career-best 77 to guide them to 271 all out against Middlesex, who were 30 for 1 in reply at close.

Meanwhile, Mike Gatting is willing to take over as coach of Middlesex in a year's time. Gatting has made his pledge in the wake of Don Bennett's decision to retire following 47 years on the Lord's staff as player and coach.