Some good news emanated from the CACG on Tuesday afternoon when Somerset announced that James Hildreth has extended his contract with the Club by another four years and will be a Somerset player until at least 2021.
The ever-popular top order batter first played for Somerset in 2003 with his first-class debut being a County Championship match against Derbyshire. It was an unspectacular start with Hildy scoring 9 in the first-innings and a duck in the second. He also played nine National League matches that season, scoring 120 runs with a highest-score of 30 against Lancashire at Taunton.
But it was in the 2004 season that Hildy started to make his mark. In his (and Somerset’s) first County Championship match of the campaign he scored a debut first-class century in the first-innings against Durham followed by 72 in the second. Hildy had arrived.
Hildy has a very impressive record and his name features alongside some exulted company within the Somerset record books, the highlights being:
- He has scored 22,024 first-class runs with over 21,000 of those for Somerset in all formats of the game, scoring centuries for Somerset in each.
- His highest score of 303 not out against Warwickshire at Taunton in 2009 places him in a unique club of only six players to score triple centuries for the cider county. The others being Langer, Richards, Cook, Smith and Gimblett.
- Likewise his 36 Somerset tons are beaten only by Viv Richards (47) and Harold Gimblett and Marcus Trescothick (49 each). He sits above Roebuck, Harden, Cook, Palairet and Bowler.
- He has scored 14,653 first-class runs and will most certainly join another unique club of players who have scored 15,000 runs and more for the county. To date this totals 9 so Hildy will become the 10th when this feat is accomplished.
Who is to bet against Hildy becoming our greatest ever run scorer? Time is on his side.
So it’s great news that our number 25 will continue to wear the Wyvern. He says he can’t imagine playing for any other county and I really couldn’t imagine him doing that either.
He told the official website: “Obviously I’m delighted to have committed my future to Somerset. I love playing for the Club and honestly can’t imagine playing anywhere else. The next few years look like they are going to be really exciting for Somerset and I’m thrilled that I’ll be a part of that.
“I hope that I’ll be able to contribute to a lot of Somerset wins over the next four years, but as one of the more senior players I’m also looking forward to being able to give the younger guys any help that they might need.”