Middle order seals first Premier League crown

A second valuable batting point helped seal Sileby’s first top flight league title for 35 years and their first of the Premier League era in their winning draw against relegation threatened Lutterworth.

With Kibworth opting against going for the 30 points by winning the toss and bowling at Barkby the equation for Sileby became far simpler with just the two points needed to seal their first top flight league title since 1982 – which was delivered after an hour or so of torture for the team and fans.

The Sileby top three has struggled of late and when Luke Gale (4), Dave Torr (4), Jake Gillett (16) and skipper Jigar Naik (1) were all back in the hutch with just 40 on the board a league title was furthest from their minds.

But, not for the first time in recent weeks, the Sileby middle order came to the rescue as both Liam Kinch and Mitchell Buck continued their recent rich veins of form.

The pair added 107 for the fifth wicket, with Buck to the fore with 67 of those valuable runs, only for him to fall with just three runs needed for the magic second batting point. That was duly delivered a short time afterwards to spark joyous scenes around Mill Lane.

Kinch would eventually fall for 76 and there was a cameo 28 from Neil Pullen as Sileby pushed past the fifth batting point to close at 230 for 8 with full batting points and a league title in the bag at tea.

The Lutterworth opening pair of Oli and Matt Pickering posted a century opening stand, which was ended on 112 when Naik trapped the former leg before for 51.

From there Sileby kept chipping away as just when the Lutterworth batsmen felt like they were getting a start again they would strike back. Matt Pickering would become the fifth man out on 185, for an excellent 71, with Buck playing his part again with an excellent catch stood up to the wicket off Pullen (2-31), and with him ultimately went any hope the visitors had of taking the win.

Lutterworth would eventually settle for 204 for 7 and a losing draw, which leaves them with the very real threat of Division One cricket again next term, while mass celebrations hit Mill Lane while those within earshot of the ground will have heard the ‘Mongie Song’ ringing around for some time after the game.

The league triumph has been about team work and attacking cricket, as observed by the Leicester Mercury’s local cricket sage Tim Murray, with  Naik having set attacking fields throughout the season.

While the 2017 side will take the plaudits for delivering the title, the foundations for this title triumph were laid almost as long ago as the 1982 vintage with the establishment of the clubs junior section, now Academy, which has produced so many players over the years.

There will also have no doubt been a tear in the eyes of club stalwarts Chairman Nigel Kinch, Secretary Paul Tompkins and Head Groundsman Richard James who have worked tirelessly to help the club achieve this dream – thank you to all of you for all that you’ve done.

With the league title and the league cup now in the bag, Naik will be looking to finish the season on a high as they face Enderby and then close the season off away at Barkby before the party really will start at the end of season presentation on 16 September.

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