County scene: 'When I had eight I said that's enough, but God was on my side'

Ottis Gibson is the first bowler to take 10 wickets in a County Championship innings for 13 years. He looks back on a piece of history
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The Independent Online

When I woke up last Sunday, I knew it was going to be a good day. I didn't know how good, but I did feel right when I started bowling, and that's important.

The pressure was on because we [Durham] had only got 250 in our first innings. That was more than it had looked like we were going to get when we were 29 for 5, but we needed to get into Hampshire quickly.

The wicket had quickened up just a bit overnight, because the previous day it had been really slow, and I got the ball to swing out straight away, away from the right-handers. There wasn't so much the other way, back in at them, and the bounce was still a little bit low, so instead of bowling at off stump and hopingfor a nick, my plan was to bowl about leg stump and swing it towards middle and off. Everything went for me. The ball kept swinging and they kept edging, or sometimes missing.

Whenever I was getting tired I either took a wicket, which gives you a real energy boost, or there was a break – lunch, and then rain came at exactly the right time. Not every wicket was a really good ball, but some were pretty good; the one that got Michael Lumb I was pleased with, partly because he'd just hit me for two fours, but alsobecause I'd just said to Benky [Dale Benkenstein, our skipper] I didn't think it was swinging any more. The next one swung a long way, and being a left-hander, he was trapped leg before.

It was the same sort of ball that got Shane Warne. Pitched leg, he was looking to turn it away through the leg side,beaten by swing, leg before. And the last one, the ball that bowled James Bruce, was maybe the best of the lot, started middle and leg, knocked out off. That was a good ball to bowl when you need just one for all 10 and you have a new man at the crease!

The thing was, I might have come off several times. After lunch I'd bowled three or four overs, nothing much had happened, and I'd said to Benky that would be the time to get Liam Plunkett on. Plunky was warming up, but I got another and away we went again. I didn't do anything different, just kept looking to bowl length. It's all about conditions, and I didn't try to bowl fast, I was disciplined.

When I had eight I was feeling it, and said to Benky, that's enough, but God was on my side, the rain came and I had an hour's rest when the physio could give my legs a rub. I was thinking eight was good, my best ever, but all the boys were saying hey, you could get all 10, and Istarted to get excited. Benky said I had to keep going because at my age, I wasn't going to get another opportunity like this.

The body was stiff. I had to warm up 15 minutes before we were due to start again, but it worked. First ball I hit David Griffiths on the helmet, second ball he nicked, third cleaned up Bruce. When I saw the off stump go I felt like I was 16 again. Even at my age, I still dream about this sort of scenario, about being a hero, and it had happened.

It was my day, a great day, but it doesn't mean I can play for another four seasons. I've been around long enough to know that if I don't take any wickets against Warwickshire this week, people will start thinking hang on, maybe he's past it after all.

So I'll get to the end of the season and see how my body feels. Whatever happens, I guess I've done something to remember. If I'm coaching a young bowler and they question what I'm saying, I can say, hey, when was the last time you took all 10?"

Ottis Gibson was talking to Harry Polkey

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