Kents 2nd XI beat Southern section rivals, Gloucestershire 2nd XI by 7 wickets toclaimtheir place in the Championship final against the Northern section winners, 4 – 7September.
Gloucestershire skipper Dent won the toss and elected to bat first on a firm pitch. Significant half centuries by Coughtrie (65), Young (73) and Taylor (73) and a very useful 34 from number 10 Shrewsbury saw Gloucester post a first innings total of 343 before they were all out.
Kent's bowlers made it hard for Gloucestershire to score freely. On another day Fabian Cowdrey's 15 overs, 5 maidens –2 wickets for 25 would have stood out, however Ivan Thomas eclipsed that with 5 wickets for 47.
Kent replied in positive fashion and Billings carried on hisfantastic form with a superb 152. Harmison (25), Stoinis (35), Cowdrey (27) and MacVicar (48) all added valuable runs as Kent declared on 303 for 5 in an effort to force a result.
Gloucestershire responded well with half centuries from Roderick, Young and Evans, posting 260 for 6 before also declaring, and therefore setting Kent a target of 301 to win.
Despite losing opener Harmison with just 1 run on the board, Stoinis joined Billings at the crease and made a superb 107. Billings contributed yet again with the bat making a solid 68 before being bowled by Shrewsbury. Runs continued at the required rate and Cowdrey (83 not out) and MacVicar (32 not out) saw Kent emerge as worthy winners.
Simon Willis has assembled a fine group of young players with enormous talent. The future at Kent is, as they say – bright.
Following the match, Simon Willis commented; "Over the course of the summer, the 2nd XI team have played consistently good cricket in the Championship, despite the frustrating weather. Thankfully, this group of young players have got their reward and this win allows us to qualify. This will be a new experience for a number of young players –a four day final in a first-class venue."