Craven’s heroes celebrate a triple success

Kibworth Cricket Club celebrate winning the County Cup at Grace Road
Kibworth Cricket Club celebrate winning the County Cup at Grace Road

The champagne corks were popping at Kibworth after Matt Craven’s heroes wrapped up a record-breaking treble.

Kibworth got seven points at Sileby Town to add the Everards Leicestershire & Rutland Premier Division championship to the Everards County Cup they had already won.

And the following day, Craven struck an unbeaten century to lead his side to the Everards League Cup.

That makes it the best season in the club’s history and Craven says the turning point was his side’s exit from the Royal London Knockout Cup.

Kibworth have won the trophy twice, but defeat against Swardeston in June meant they missed out on a place in the national stages.

Craven said: “We lost to a side we felt we really should have beaten and after that game I just felt it would be a shame if we didn’t achieve what we were capable of achieving this season.

“We were disappointed not to win the league last season and didn’t want to have that experience again.

“I always felt we would be challenging and could win a cup. As we went on, I realised we had the players to do it.

“I’ve been here six years and we’ve always had a good side, but this year’s was the best.

“We had strength in depth in batting and bowling and when we’ve been under pressure someone’s always stood up and won the game for us.”

In the final league fixture of the season, it was Josh Peel (59) who rescued Kibworth from 40-4 at Sileby.

His innings lifted them to 188-9, securing three batting bonus points and meaning they needed to take four Sileby wickets to be champions.

Craven said: “They were only chasing 189 and there was always the chance we would be scrapping for those wickets.

“But Luke Evans and Matt Bashford were unplayable with the new ball and we only needed four overs to get the four wickets we needed.”

Bashford finished with 5-23 as Sileby were shot out for 66.

The following day, Kibworth headed to Loughborough Town for the rearranged Everards County Cup final.

They bowled the hosts out for 179 and with three overs left, Kibworth needed 14 to win with seven wickets in hand.

Craven settled the nerves with a six that brought up his century before a boundary from Peel and five wides sealed it.

Craven added: “I owed the team a score and to finish 100 not out and help us win the cup was the icing on the cake.”