It’s been quite a week for bowlers, both at home and overseas, starting with the remarkable feat of Neil Wagner, the left-arm pace bowler born in South Africa, who on April 6 in the Plunket Shield game at Dunedin became the first man in cricket history to take five wickets in an over in a first-class match.
His remarkable feat came in Wellington’s first innings against Otago as in his fourteenth over he had Stewart Rhodes caught from the first ball, before bowling Joe Austin-Smellie, Jeetan Patel and Ili Tugaga with the next three deliveries; then, after a dot ball, Wagner bowled Mark Gillespie. His achievement of taking five wickets in a six-ball over was also unique and surpassed the remarkable over delivered by Surrey’s Pat Pocock against Sussex at Eastbourne in 1972 when the off spinner claimed four wickets, while a fifth wicket fell to a run out.
In the first round of matches in the LV=County Championship, between April 8 and 11, two bowlers at opposite ends of their careers grabbed the headlines, as nineteen year-old Liam Norwell on his county debut took 6 for 46 for Gloucestershire against Derbyshire at Bristol, and all after featuring in a tenth wicket stand of 76 with David Payne as the West Country side amassed 343.
Meanwhile, April 9 also saw Matthew Hoggard, the 34-year-old former England bowler, write his name into the record books at Grace Road on the second day of Leicestershire’s Championship match against Glamorgan by taking the earliest hat-trick in the history of the domestic competition.
The Leicestershire captain claimed his first wicket when Gareth Rees edged the fifth ball of Hoggard’s sixth over to wicket-keeper Tom New before next ball Will Bragg departed leg before. After Alviro Petersen, the new Glamorgan captain, had garnered two runs in the next over, Hoggard claimed his third victim as Mike Powell edged the first delivery of Hoggard’s next over to Will Jefferson at second slip. It gave Hoggard the third hat-trick of his career and the first for the East Midlands side in the Championship since 2002.
Hoggard’s previous hat-tricks had been for Yorkshire against Sussex at Hove in September 2009 and for England in the Third Test of their West Indies tour of 2003-04. His feat for England came in the West Indies’ second innings on Saturday, April 3, 2004 – by a bizarre coincidence this was also Grand National Day when the winning horse, Amberleigh House, was trained by ‘Ginger’ McCain, whose son Donald trained the 2011 winner, Ballabriggs, who won the race at Aintree just over four hours after Hoggard’s latest hat-trick!