Name: Hugh Johnstone
Tweet dis: Cerebral off-spinner, legside-loving batsman, sharp gully and fearless umpire. The Don (“What’s Miami Vice?”). Moral heart of the Gardeners.
Profile: RHB, OB
Pen portrait: His position at No 2 on the list of Gardeners is, perhaps, misleading. Founder member, batsman, bowler, all-round fielder, secretary, treasurer, selector, tour organiser, captain,
scorer, innovator, umpire, tea-maker, statistician, website programmer – Hugh can comfortably lay claim to being Gardener No 1, although he would never be found promoting his status.
His bowling can be underestimated, too. The cherubic features and gentle run-up catch many by surprise as he drifts one through the gate or pouches a sharp return catch. The evidence of 220
wickets at 16.19 – a club record – tells its own story, but not that he is often called on when the going is toughest. His best return, 5-25 against Strongroom in 2006, came when a depleted side most
But he is also the first to stand aside so that another can have their chance, whether in the field, where his reassuring presence at gully or a dangerously short leg has garnered – or rather
Logied – an outfield record of 60 catches, or the batting order. Such generosity belies his excellent record with the bat, particularly in the early years. His 89 against the Citizen in 2003 – in a
stand of 160 that was the first-wicket record for six years – should have been turned into the club’s second century. A rare victory over Ventnor the previous year was a true reflection of his
all-round talents and commitment. His 4-2 with the ball was possibly less important than the catch on the cover boundary to dismiss Ventnor’s top scorer. Only after the end of his match-winning stint
as opener did we discover that taking it had broken a finger.
Inaugural players’ player of the year, and bowler of the year four times, Hugh is equally at home discussing Phil Bainbridge’s record at Gloucestershire or the use of “ge” in Aristotelian
manuscripts. His nickname the Don, earned for his academic prowess or cricketing nous, despite some of his team-mates’ memories of a pastel-coloured-suit-wearing actor in a 1980s TV cop show, is
eminently appropriate. IMR