Time for the second in the series of articles ahead of the start of the 2016 season which is edging ever closer – and this one relates to a day where if you hadn’t been there, you would never have believed it!

Once again, the date is Saturday 18th July 2015 and the Third XI have a Regional Division Two West match deep in the New Forest at Hyde Second XI.

It is a pleasant afternoon at the cowpat capital of all cricket grounds but stand in captain Adam Hargreaves had struggled to get a full XI for the match and arrived with only a handful of players ready for the 2pm start.

Greaves won the toss and, panicking that half of his team had yet to appear, elected to bat first.  Such was his panic that he actually strapped on the pads and, alongside Tom Pattison, took first use of the fresh Hyde wicket.

He didn’t last long, being bowled for just 3 but it brought Sam Vidler to the crease at the dizzy heights of number three.  The day progressed serenely as slowly but surely, the remaining Calmore players arrived including the big hitting Nigel Hill who was urged to quickly put his pads on as he would be next in … especially given the two batsmen in the middle!

It actually took a little while for the second wicket to fall – that of Pattison for 19.  That brought Nigel to the crease to join Vids and the remaining players watched in awe as the pair added a brilliant century partnership, taking a liking to the bowling of Noel-Johnson and Renshaw.

Nigel smacked nine fours in his innings of 63 – yet another half-century for him – while Vids was continuing on his merry way, passing 50 as well.  And on it went, going past 60 and then 70.

Jack Stuttard kept him company, helping him through the 70s and then through the 80s.  Word was getting out that Sam, not exactly famed for his batting, was closing in on a significant milestone.  Another boundary took him into the nervous 90s but time was starting to run out if he was to reach that magical three figures.

Jack was run out for 16, attempting to give Sam the strike in the last over which brought Richard Isaacs to the crease and on strike.  One ball missed and the second ball he faced was an attempted scampered bye, trying to get the hero of the day back to the batting crease to try and get his much deserved ton.  Sadly, Renshaw’s throw was too good and Vids had to go back on his way for a brilliant 96, which included nine fours.

The thirds totalled an impressive 232-5 in their 42 overs which proved to be 61 runs too many for the home side despite Turner’s good innings of 71 which was brought to an end by a catch by Stuttard off the bowling of … well, who else on a day like today … that man Vidler who took 1/18 in his five overs.

A day not to be forgotten by anyone who was lucky enough to witness it – and brought Vids the Batsman of the Year award at the end of season awards evening … surely a trophy that he never imagined he would ever see.

Could 2016 be the year that Sam Vidler becomes a fully fledged all-rounder?  We will soon see …….