The day ‘The Big Show’ was tamed at Hilltops


by Tony Bailey

In the week the World Cup starts it is appropriate to cast our mind back to the season of 2008 when Glenn Maxwell, probably the most feted of  current World  one day batsmen, played on the hallowed Hilltops turf.

The match was in fact the first game of the season and the Hilltops weather did not disappoint. It was dark, cloudy and cold. A good toss to win, or so it seemed. Saham Toney batted first.

The third team in those days had a fair amount of experience – Don, Goon, Bails, Gally, Olpin, Ebbage, even Andrew Russell. Of the youngsters, Dale and Cadgey had just joined the club and Jonny Martin and Josh Waterman were, if memory serves correct, making their debuts.

Don and Josh opened the bowling and we agreed 140 would be a par score.  Maxwell, who was 20 at the time,  faced the first ball which Don put on a length on middle stump. Ok, it was a pretty pedestrian delivery but Maxwell didn’t show it any respect. He took a big stride and smashed it high, straight and handsome. Now that shot has gone into Hilltops legend  and seems to gain distance with every passing year but I am pretty sure it did clear the sight screen.

What followed was carnage, much as we are used to seeing on the TV these days. Not sure if he played any reverse sweeps but he hit the ball more violently than anyone I have seen at first hand.

Our only hope was a man who comes into his own when the ‘celebrities’ are about – the Goon. Sure enough, even Maxwell was no match for one that pitched on leg and hit the top of off ( maybe not!) and he was on his way. In a collection that includes Tuckett, Maynard and Bunting ( many times) this was surely Misery’s prize scalp.

For the record, Maxwell scored 39 in around 8-10 overs I think. This broke the back of the bowlers and Saham scored 247 for 5. In reply we managed 104 for 8 with Maxwell’s off spin, which i do recall turning a long way, taking 4 for 15.

In the return fixture, Tim Price came into his own and bowled Maxwell for 11 with one that kept low. In our innings Maxwell bowled some fairly rapid seamers and cleaned out Nick Foster for 0. However I do have visions of Jessy and Jon Olpin taking him on, with some success, with the hook shot.

So, since I bore my son with this story every time the Big Show is on telly, it is worth sharing all round that he averages 25 against the Swardeston 3rd team , against a 1st class average of 40 and a list A average of 35.

Scorecards from both games:














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