Brilliant innings by Hampson in Eston

2015-02-26 00:00

THOSE who were there to witness it will talk of it for years to come, such was its brilliance.

This was the innings of 210* by Eston farmer and Maritzburg College Old Boy Murray Hampson for Midlands South in the quadrangular match against East Griqualand on Saturday at the Eston Farmers’ Club oval.

In the process, Hampson wrote his name in the record books, becoming ­only the second Eston player to score a double hundred on the ground, following the late Chris Dukes’s effort of 215 against Richmond in 1967, with the runs scored before lunch.

Batting at four, Hampson entered the fray as early as the fourth over and proceeded to dominate, smashing the stunned East Griqualand bowlers to all parts of the oval in helping his side reach a formidable 340-6 in their 45 overs.

His runs came off just 109 balls and included 28 fours and five sixes at a ­phenomenal strike rate of 192.

“It was one of those days where ­everything clicked from the start, the ball coming off the middle of the bat,” said Hampson. “It wasn’t plunder and bash from the word go. I concentrated as I always do and it was a solid on-drive down the ground that settled matters and got me in the zone.”

Hampson, who played for three years in College’s first cricket team, captaining the side in 1998, and is a former KZN Inland skipper, was severe on anything short and full, playing a chanceless innings.

“My 50 came up quite quickly and when I reached my 100 there were still enough overs for me to push on to a big score,” said Hampson. “I never targeted 200 and, as the last few overs arrived, one of my team-mates told me I had about 170. Then I realised 200 might be on and it was worth a try.”

The final over, bowled by East Griqualand’s Orrin Shand, dawned with Hamp­son on 190 and spectators wondering if the opportunity had been missed.

Hampson dispelled all doubt, launching Shand for six, four, six, four to make certain he reached the milestone.

While brutal on the unfortunate Shand, there was some past history between batsman and bowler.

“Orrin was in second form at College when I was the first-team captain and he spent hours giving me throw-downs in the nets and on the hallowed Goldstones turf,” said Hampson. “He’s a top lad and his efforts at College must have played a part in my batting acumen.”

So brutal was Hampson’s innings in its magnificence, he kept having hassles with whatever bat he was using, changing it several times during his knock.

“I kept signalling for another willow and ended up using a few bats, kindly supplied by my team-mates,” he said. “Therefore, they all feel they chipped in for my double 100 as each bat I used added at least 20 runs to my score.”

Hampson’s achievement was warmly received as a masterclass by those at the Eston Oval. Team-mate Ant Foster summed it up, saying: “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Murray ­epitomises all that Country Districts’ cricket holds so dear — hard, honest, spirited play — on and off the field.”

This was by far Hampson’s best effort with the bat, surpassing a 178 he scored for College’s seconds. Not bad for a ­player who describes himself as “a batter who bowls”.

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