Cricket: Hick ousts Hammond

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire. . .207-6

Leicestershire. . . . . . . .

AT five o'clock on a dull Saturday evening Graeme Hick resumed an attempt to make the slowest century of his career, with an innings that had begun at 11.17 on Thursday morning. Play was restricted to 55 overs on that day, with Hick on 82. The ground began to disappear under water on Friday, and determined drizzle throughout yesterday morning topped up the water table. In first-class cricket so far this sodden season, Worcestershire have been deprived of more than 800 overs of possible play.

Hick and Steve Rhodes faced Alan Mullally and Winston Benjamin for 39 balls before the next miserable drizzle, scoring just eight runs. But in moving to 88 Hick became the youngest player to score 20,000 first-class runs, at 27 years and 20 days, beating Wally Hammond's 1931 record.

Twenty minutes later, under a grey umbrella sky and watched by a commendable number of local masochists as well as a tent-load of the sponsors' guests, the battle of Hick's ton resumed.

After Rhodes had given Benjamin his fifth wicket, snicking to slip, Hick casually lofted Mullally to square leg for his 70th first-class century. Apart from the lights on the scoreboard, this landmark was the only bright point on a dark day.