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School pupil breaks 104-year Kent record

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James Iles Kent's youngest cricketer
James Iles Kent's youngest cricketer

Kent: 313 for two after 66 overs

KENT’S development side for their three-day fixture with Cambridge University included King’s Canterbury teenage wicketkeeper Paul Dixey and Maidstone Grammar fast bowler James Iles, who became the county’s youngest ever first-class debutant.

Iles, from Walderslade, was allowed an extra three days 'study leave' ahead of his forthcoming GCSEs in order to play in the fixture and break a county record dating back to 1902.

He beats the milestone created by Wally Hardinge, the former Kent and England batsman and soccer international, who debuted against Lancashire in Tonbridge 111 days after his 16th birthday.

Iles, a strapping, blonde-haired quick bowler who takes his record by a matter of 16 days, said: "I wasn’t meant to start my study leave until Friday so I’m thankful that the school allowed me to finish a few days early.

"My academy coach Paul Farbrace said I might be close to breaking the record, but I hadn’t realised it until someone mentioned it earlier.

"I’m just looking forward to getting out there now and giving it a go because I really don’t want another sleepless night."

Iles was made to wait for his first taste of the action, however, when acting Kent skipper Darren Stevens elected to bat first and saw his young openers post 252 for the first wicket.

Neil Dexter, dropped twice at slip, scored 14 fours in his 116, while Joe Denly hit the ropes once more in reaching a chanceless 115 as Kent reached 313 for two after 66 overs when rain wiped out play for the day after tea.

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