Hart records piece of history
Hart records piece of history

Kent County Cricket Club scorer Lorne Hart had the honour of inking Jimmy Anderson’s 500th Test wicket into the record books on Friday.

It came after being invited to score for England during last week’s Third Investec Test against the West Indies at Lord’s.

Lorne, who first started scoring cricket matches for his home-town club Whitstable in 1995, has scored every Kent game since 2012 and can now add one England ‘cap’ to his personal honours’ list.

“It came as a shock when the ECB asked me to score the Lord’s Test,” admitted Lorne.

“I wondered at first whether I should defer it for a year and travel with Kent for their championship match up to Durham, because Chester-le-Street is the only one of the 18 county headquarters where I’ve never scored before.

“But having the chance to score an England Test at ‘The Home of Cricket’ isn’t the sort of thing you can turn down easily, because you never know whether the offer will ever come around again. So, I soon said, ‘yes please’.”

Lorne took over keeping the Kent scorebook from Jack Foley – who held the post for an astonishing 25 seasons and who also scored for England throughout the 1999 World Cup.

Lorne said: “I was surprised, but there were no butterflies ahead of the Test at all really, in fact, it actually felt easier than scoring a Kent game because you don’t have to rush out to the middle for the toss, or worry about filling out the team sheet or having to calculate the team’s over rates. So, as soon as the umpires called play, away we went in the scorebox and it soon felt like any other game.

“There’s a great sense of pride though because, in terms of scoring, this is just about the biggest honour you can be given. In sport, no matter what the achievement is, you want it to be at the highest level of the game, so this was something I’d always aimed and hoped for.”

As for the moment when Anderson became the first England bowler to join the ‘500-wicket club’, Lorne added: “It’s what I was really hoping for and every time Jimmy reached his bowling mark at the start of his run-up I made sure I was ready and paying full attention. To be there for that, to score that moment, was just amazing.”

While Lorne kept score at Lord’s, Kent were just about holding out for a draw in their rain-ruined Specsavers County Championship clash with Durham at the Riverside.

The draw, Kent’s sixth of the Division 2 campaign, leaves Sam Northeast’s side lying in fifth spot and 40 points behind second-placed Worcestershire, albeit with a game in hand.

Moreover, the result severely dents the county’s promotion hopes and means Kent will probably need to win their three remaining games and hope that other results go their way if they are to overtake Worcestershire to steal this season’s second promotion berth behind Division 2 champions elect, Nottinghamshire.

Having been set an unlikely victory target of 371 in 56 overs, Kent slumped to 74 for five in Durham and were only saved from slipping to their second defeat of the summer by Sam Billings’ attritional, two-hour innings of 70 not out that helped his side to reach stumps on 184 for nine.

Billings, who missed the majority of the game with a migraine that also forced Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond to share wicketkeeping duties, won praise for his ‘out of character’ innings from the county’s coach, Matt Walker. “In terms of the situation and the way he had been feeling for two days that’s as well as I’ve seen Sam play in four-day cricket,” said Walker.

“He didn’t feel right after day one and still wasn’t 100 per cent today, but he showed great character and skill. To see us home [to the draw] was an excellent effort.

“With Worcestershire winning we would have liked to have had a crack at a target, but 370 was just too many.”

Kent now travel to Bristol to take on sixth-placed Gloucestershire from Tuesday.

Picture supplied by Mark Pennell/MBP Sports Media.