Essex v Kent
LV= CC Division Two
22 May – 25 May 2013, 11am start
County Ground, Chelmsford
After suffering a disappointing defeat at the hands of Worcestershire last week, Kent’s cricketers will want to recover quickly as they travel up the road to take on old foes Essex in the LV= County Championship.
The season so far:
Despite it still being early days, Kent face a vital week of cricket following a ten-wicket defeat against Worcestershire last week which must be quickly forgotten as the Club looks to improve its 22-point haul from four games. A second day batting collapse saw Kent bowled out for 63 at the St Lawrence Ground with veteran seam bowler Alan Richardson returning figures of 7-22 to complete superb match figures of 12-63 for the Pears. The defeat means it is two losses and two draws from four for Kent so far.
Essex have fared better so far this season and currently sit in second place in division two, having taken 55 points from five games. Their two wins have come against Hampshire and in their last outing against Glamorgan. The five-wicket success was built on eight wickets in the match from former Kent bowler Dave Masters before the Essex batsmen cruised to a victory target of 275 with openers Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh scoring half-centuries, in a stand of 143. James Foster's men have amassed 55 points but are still 33 behind early pace-setters Northamptonshire.
Kent’s last four-day visit to Chelmsford was a bizarre affair, last season, with the visitors recovering from 9-5 in their first innings to secure a rain-affected draw. After South African left-armer Charl Willoughby ripped out Kent’s top-order, Darren Stevens (119) and Geraint Jones (88) added 194 for the sixth wicket to see their side up to 225 all-out. Kent’s bowlers then got stuck in with Mark Davies, Charlie Shreck and Ivan Thomas, on his championship debut, all in the wickets to dismiss the hosts for 181. Unfortunately Kent were unable to build properly on their first innings lead as rain curtailed play with the visitors finishing on 92-2 in their second innings.
Essex currently just about hold the upper-hand in four-day cricket on their own turf, having claimed 35 wins from 89 meetings. Kent, their latest opponents, have claimed success on 27 occasions.
Players to watch:
Kent bowler Charlie Shreck made his debut for the county against Essex, at Chelmsford, two seasons ago while on-loan from Nottinghamshire. The giant paceman made the move permanent a year later and has been the spearhead of Kent’s attack ever since. He has taken ten wickets so far this season but is due a bigger haul and he will, no doubt, be targeting an Essex line-up minus England captain Alastair Cook.
In Reece Topley, Essex boast one of the most talented young bowlers on the county circuit. The tall left-armer, just 19, has already taken 16 wickets this season. He compliments the line and length of Masters and possesses undoubted ability.
Skipper James Tredwell was naturally disappointed with Kent's display last week and gave this reaction to the defeat:
“Day one was tough. The wicket was pretty damp following the one-day game in the rain. It was difficult for batting. We got 160 and it wasn't enough. We needed another 50 for a par score. We then bowled really well. Colesy (Matt Coles) got 5-31 and we were pretty pleased at that stage. Sadly it was dismal on the Saturday, the less said about that the better.”
The disappointing second-innings showing was clearly tough to take for Tredwell so early in his regime, but he knows his side have the ability to bounce back quickly:
“It’s not a great feeling - especially as a similar sort of thing happened in the second-innings of the last game against Northants. Admittedly it wasn't quite the same mistakes made but it was the same outcome, so we need to address that. It is tough but we can't dwell on it for long and need to get going again, against Essex.
"Your confidence does get knocked, but we need to turn it around and push the confidence levels back the other way. Results have taken a knock in four-day cricket but we are playing well in the YB40 and things can change pretty quickly. As a group, we've trained hard and now want to come back so we will be trying to get a positive result.”
Kent have plenty of experience in their side and Tredwell knows they have to stand up and be counted to help bring success back to the St Lawrence Ground:
“We've got some high quality players within our group but a few of us haven't performed as well as we can. Us experienced players have been through phases like this, when the team is not doing as well as we had hoped. We need to look at the positives and go into it with the belief that we can get a result.”
Fixtures against Essex always prove enjoyable for Kent supporters with local bragging rights on offer. Tredwell understands it will be a tough fixture but has seen enough this season to suggest Kent are still a competitive outfit.
“We always enjoy playing Essex. Chelmsford is a tough place to go and we had a difficult time there last year. They had us nine for five when it was wet, but we fought back well and then bowled superbly so we have decent memories of playing there. We need to put on a strong performance a