BOURNEMOUTH skipper Martin Miller believes Michael Kitson is one of the quickest bowlers in the county and fully justified his Dorset call up.

Kitson, who played for both Wimborne and Winton in the Dorset League, helped the Lions register a 59-run win over Division One rivals Liphook & Ripsley at Chapel Gate yesterday.

The 21-year-old debuted for Dorset as they claimed their first Minor Counties Championship win for two years against Herefordshire earlier this month and has kept his place for their latest Western Division clash against Oxfordshire at Dean Park.

Although Kitson enjoyed a fruitful couple of friendlies for Bournemouth against South Wilts and Totton & Eling, the all-rounder has picked up just seven wickets in six games in the Southern Premier League and totalled 59 with the bat from his six innings.

Kitson (2-19), Jake Hurley (3-27), Matthew Jones (2-15) and Brad Schmulian (2-45) helped Lions dismiss Liphook for 134 in reply to their 193 for nine.

Miller told the Daily Echo: “On his day, he is one of the quickest bowlers in the county. He was superb for us against Liphook. He took early wickets and bowled one line. We had an attacking field and he was genuinely very difficult to play. It was his best performance for us.

“He has bowled very well without any luck in previous games. He was first-class against Liphook and thoroughly deserves his Dorset position.”

Miller also had words of praise for opening batsmen Ben Bridgen and Andy Hayward who joined Kitson in stepping up to the SPL after turning out for Wimborne in the Dorset League last year.

Bridgen (44) and Hayward (33) followed up their 61-run first-wicket stand in last week’s win at Fawley by sharing 82 to give Bournemouth a solid foundation for their total with Miller (35) also chipping in.

Miller added: “They both wanted to test themselves this year, although I think they would admit their availability hasn’t been fantastic.

“They have batted together historically and, over the past couple of weeks, it has really clicked and they have both knuckled down.

“We were stuck in on a green top, it was cloudy and the ball was swinging all over the place. They were classic bowling conditions but they both applied themselves really well and I was really pleased with them.

“They gave us a really good platform but we didn’t capitalise on it and lost wickets at regular intervals. We have still got improvements to make before we become a very good side but I was very pleased to get the win.”

  • In the Premier Division, Lymington (197-9) drew at Burridge (204-9), while Bashley (113) suffered a nine-wicket defeat at the hands of struggling Alton (115-1).