By David Robertson
THIS week we are hosts to Gloucestershire for the first time since 2005, when we welcomed them to The Mote. In a low scoring match Kent came out victorious by seven wickets after bowling out our opponents for a second innings score of just 98. Four of the County“s bowlers shared the honours in the two innings with Amjad Khan (pictured), Andrew Hall and Simon Cook each taking five wickets and Darren Stevens four.
The first match between us was back in 1887. There have been 167 contests since then, of which Kent have won 71 with Gloucestershire being the victors 47 times. There have been 49 drawn matches and one abandoned. The first match was played at Blackheath, but 12 different grounds have been used with Canterbury, Gravesend and Maidstone sharing most of the matches.
Both counties recorded their highest innings totals away from home: Kent“s record score of 607 for six declared was achieved at Cheltenham in 1910, whilst Gloucestershire“s 563 was at Tunbridge Wells in 1934. Similarly with each county“s lowest scores: Kent, in 1888 were dismissed for just 28 at Moreton-in-the-Marsh whilst Gloucestershire“s 31 was at Tonbridge in 1903.
Kent“s most decisive win in history was recorded against Gloucestershire in the County“s third Championship season. It was at Catford in 1909 and the margin was an innings and 314 runs. After dismissing them for 61 in the first one-and-a-half hours of the match, Kent went on to score 593 in four-and-a-half-hours and before 5pm on day two, victory had been achieved with Gloucestershire being dismissed for 218 in their second innings. In Kent“s innings there was a double hundred for Ted Humphries and 100 for Kenneth Hutchings. Arthur Fielder took 12 wickets in the match.
There have been a number of outstanding batting performances for both sides. Leslie Ames scored two double hundreds, including his career best score of 295 at Folkestone in 1933, whilst for Gloucestershire the record for the highest individual score is held by Kent born Walter Hammond, whose 290 was achieved at Tunbridge Wells in 1934. Leslie Ames is also the only Kent batsman to have scored a century in each innings against our current opponents; 112 and 119 at Bristol in 1950. Frank Woolley holds the record for the most runs and most hundreds for Kent, with 2964 runs and 10 hundreds, whilst for Gloucestershire it is Walter Hammond with 2352 runs and six hundreds. On no less than seven occasions, Kent batsmen have carried their bat through a complete innings.
There have been some outstanding bowling performances over the years. The best performances for each side remarkably came in the same match. At Bristol, in 1939, Doug Wright took 9-47 in a Gloucestershire total of 284, which included the second of his two hat-tricks against them, but this was decisively bettered by Tom Goddard, with 9-38 in Kent“s first innings and 8-68 in the second. That performance is the best ever for Gloucestershire against Kent and the best performance by any bowler against Kent, whilst for Kent it is Colin Blythe“s 14-84 in 1911.
Frank Woolley twice recorded outstanding all-round performances in this series of matches. At Gloucester, in 1914, he scored 77 and 111 not out, and took 12-122. Then in 1921 in Kent“s only innings he scored 174 and took 11-66.
Picture courtesy of www.arpics.co.uk