Market Rasen CC cricketer Tom Keast makes first-class debut as Notts trounce Essex

Tom Keast aimed to improve his batting during his winter Down Under EMN-180625-181046002
Tom Keast aimed to improve his batting during his winter Down Under EMN-180625-181046002

Market Rasen cricketer Tom Keast made a winning County Championship debut after making a mercy dash to stand in for an injured team-mate.

Keast stood behind the stumps in the final innings of Nottinghamshire’s Division One match at defending county champions Essex on Saturday.

Keast was denied a first-class debut in March when the match was washed out. But he didn't have to wait long EMN-180625-181056002

Keast was denied a first-class debut in March when the match was washed out. But he didn't have to wait long EMN-180625-181056002

He received the call on Friday, just three days before his 20th birthday, when regular wicketkeeper Tom Moores twisted an ankle while warming up for the third day’s play on Friday.

And Keast fulfilled his substitute role without a hitch, taking three wickets in the Essex second innings to help Notts to a huge 301-run win.

His first championship catch was a notable scalp, removing former England international Ravi Bopara, off the bowling of Matt Milnes, which started the ball rolling on the final day.

The youngster quickly followed up with another grab when nightwatchman Jamie Porter edged behind off Luke Fletcher.

Milnes again teed up another chance for Keast when he tempted Matt Coles to edge and the Lincolnshire cricketer pouched the chance to make it nine wickets down.

Keast, who has been with the Nottinghamshire set-up since his mid-teens, had been due to make his first-class debut in a pre-season match against Cambridge MCCU at Fenners.

The match was washed out by the spring rains, ruining his debut chance, but he did not have to wait long, and his patience was worth it.

Over the winter Keast played grade cricket for Sydney-based Blacktown Warriors, scoring six fifties in his 814 runs at an average of 31.30, while claiming 50 dismissals, with 40 catches and 10 stumpings.

The winter prep seemed to pay off as he made a blistering start to the season with a century for the Second XI against Loughborough MCCU in March.

He followed this up with a knock of 59 against Yorkshire in the Second XI Championship in April.

And while he continues to hone his keeping craft, there have been two further half-centuries for Notts Second XI already this season, against Worcestershire (66) and Leicestershire (77).

The run-scoring has elevated him, for now at least, up to second choice for the gloves behind Moores at Trent Bridge.