Twelve for Kitt as Seconds go top

SECOND XI CHAMPIONSHIP | Leicestershire CCC v Northamptonshire CCC

SCORE | Leicestershire CCC 448 for nine declared beat Northamptonshire 314 for eight declared and 128 by an innings and six runs

SCORECARD | Available HERE

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Leicestershire CCC recorded a resounding victory on the final day of their SEC game against Northamptonshire CCC at Loughborough Town CC. Leicestershire won by an innings and six runs after bowling Northamptonshire CCC out for 128 in their second innings. Ben Kitt returned figures of 7-47 for the innings, and match figures of 12-124.

The victory takes Leicestershire CCC to the top of the SEC North table with one game to play. Their lead over second placed Yorkshire being just one slender point. However, Lancashire CCC can also come into the mix if they beat Nottinghamshire CCC in their current match which finishes on Friday.

If Lancashire CCC win, they will be on the same number of points as Leicestershire CCC. The Foxes host Lancashire in what is both counties final SEC match of 2019 – it should be a cracker!

Upon driving over to the ground at Loughborough a little drizzle was falling, but the forecast was good for the day with any rain showers clearing by 10.00am.

It was another warm humid morning when the players took to the field, a much smaller number of spectators present than for the first two days. Although there were only a small number of spectators present this game must have been a personal best for me in terms of printing.

I must have had approaching 30 requests from people over the 3 days for one those much sought after A4 sheets of paper.  Northamptonshire CCC resumed from their overnight 30-2, trailing by 104 runs. Ben Claydon 1* and Ben Bhabra 6*. Alex Evans, Shelthorpe End, and Ben Kitt, Pavilion End opened the attack for Leicestershire.

In the second over of the morning Kitt struck when he had Bhabra (7) 23b caught behind by keeper Sam Bates. A regulation catch for Batesy compared to some of his previous acrobatic cameos in the match. Sam Dutton joined Clayton. Kitt was bowling beautifully, beating the bat on a number of occasions.

Claydon was looking very solid, but edged a delivery from Kitt to first slip where Ateeq Javid snaffled the ball inches from the floor, Javid falling backwards in the process. Claydon (12) 37b. Northamptonshire CCC were now struggling at 52-4 from 21.1. This soon became 52-5 as a couple of overs later Andrew Bramley (0, 6b) was superbly caught at third slip by Nick Welch off Kitt.  

It was a wonderful catch by Welch, who somehow took the catch one-handed with his right hand going across his body to the left, his deportment looking as though he had got his hands on the wrong arms from my vantage point. Kitt was on fire.

The score had progressed by just three runs when Sam Dutton (12) 39b was bowled, having his off pole removed by Kitt. This wicket resulted in a 5-for for Kitt, the dominant Devonian in a hot streak of form.

Simon Kerrigan who made an impressive 81 in the first innings, was then yet another victim for Kitt being trapped in front without scoring. Kerrigan (0) 15b, Northamptonshire now 60-7 from 27.4 overs. There was still some 62 minutes until lunch, so a chance of a very early finish was on the cards.

Adam King and Liam Grey had other ideas, and the pair stood firm for an hour to take Northamptonshire CCC into lunch without further loss. King 13* (50b) and Grey 22* (43b). Seamers Brinder Phagura, and Uday Modhwadia had bowled a few overs in the morning session, replacing Evans, and Kitt, but were unable to break the partnership.

Over the past three days a gentleman, at regular intervals during play, has sat on a chair propped up against the Scorebox door to keep it open, providing state of the art air conditioning for the two souls within. In the course of the morning session, being a bit inquisitive I said to him ‘have you travelled very far?’ Manchester was his reply.

He told me that he was a Lancashire CCC member, and was a cricket ‘groundhopper’, and had not been to Loughborough Town CC ground. He had also booked himself into a local hotel for a couple of nights whilst the game was on. I also noticed that during play he was meticulously scanning the cricket scorecards in the Daily Telegraph, and making notes in a book, on what he had perused. Yes, he did ask me for one of our Scorecards each day.

King and Grey brought up their 50 partnership from 107 balls when the score reached 112-7 from the last ball of the 44th over. Grey shading the 50 partnership by contributing 28 runs to King’s 18. There is reference to a film title in their for any cinema buffs reading this. Four balls later the partnership was broken when Grey (28, 59b) was bowled by Nat Bowley, who had taken over at the Shelthorpe End.

Connor Haddow (6, 10b) was next to go when his woodwork was again disturbed by Bowley. The innings was ended fittingly by Kitt when he made a mess of Harry Bates’ (0, 8b) stumps. Leicestershire CCC wrapped up the game at 2.24pm. A top-class bowling performance by Kitt who was like a cat after a mouse, and would not take a break.

Kitt returned career-best bowling figures of 7-47 in the SEC. His previous best figures being 6-38 for Notts v Essex at Southend-on-Sea in 2014. Kitt’s innings figures 19.4-7-47-7. Match figures 38.4-9-124-12. A top cat is Kitt! Bowley also bowled excellently in the innings returning figures of 12-6-22-2.

The other wicket-taker was the ever-reliable Alex Evans 1-37 from 13. A thoroughly comprehensive victory for Leicestershire by an innings and 6 runs. Kitt’s 12 wickets going alongside top-class performances, and centuries from Nick Welch and Sam Bates. Sam Evans mentioned in despatches to with a resolute 76 at the top of the order. Leicestershire 23 points, Northamptonshire 6 points.

Before leaving Loughborough Town CC a few thank yous are in order. Sanath and his team of helpers for their work in setting everything up each morning, nothing too much trouble for them, and always ready to help. Eileen for being readily available on the bar, and my personal thanks to young Alan for a bit of technical advice re the Scoreboard.

The food was excellent, provided, and served with superb customer service skills by Danni and Brendon of Greens Catering Services. Well done to Lindsey at the FCG for sourcing the Caterers. Finally, and by no means least very sincere thanks to Dips Patel who must have put in much amount of unseen work and countless hours over the past few weeks to ensure everything ran smoothly over the three days.

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