Gloucestershire v Kent, LV=County Championship Division Two
County Ground, Bristol, 15 – 18 August 2012. 11am start
Kent go from one festival week to another as they aim to keep their LV= County Championship promotion dreams alive. Gloucestershire are their latest opponents as Bristol Cricket Week gets underway tomorrow.
Despite two damaging championship defeats against Derbyshire and Essex, Kent remain in touch with the promotion chasers, sitting in fourth spot, just a point adrift of second placed Hampshire – with four games to play. This week’s fixture, against third from bottom Gloucestershire, represents a chance for Rob Key’s men to move into the promotion positions at the top of division two.
For Kent to claim victory in the West Country, they will seek to improve on their performance against Essex at Canterbury last week. A poor second innings batting display saw the hosts bundled out for just 101, meaning their old rivals required just 55 to win – a total they reached with the loss of three wickets. Kent’s defeat was only their second in four-day cricket this term.
In Gloucestershire’s last outing, they helped Kent’s promotion aspirations by holding Hampshire to a rain affected draw at Bristol. Ian Cockbain was the star for the home side. He followed up a first innings half-century with a battling 112, second time-around, to stave off any victory aspirations Hampshire may have had going into the final day.
The last time Kent travelled to play Gloucestershire in four-day cricket was last season and they endured a torrid time at Cheltenham; suffering an innings and 142 run thumping. The visitors, minus Rob Key – out with an injured wrist, were completely out-played with both bat and ball. From the first morning, they were always on the back-foot and, having been put in by the hosts, they soon found themselves in dire straits at 59 for six. Home medium-pacer Will Gidman was the main protagonist, claiming figures of five for 38, as Kent struggled against a varied seam attack. Darren Stevens (67) and James Tredwell (45) provided some resistance, adding 83 for the seventh wicket, but 205 proved to be a below-par total.
In response, Gloucestershire scored at blistering pace to post 515, at 4.35 runs per over and effectively batted the visitors out of the game. Chris Taylor took the strongest liking to the Kent attack, making 196 off 248 balls, as he and skipper Alex Gidman (79) put on 160 for the fifth wicket. David Balcombe claimed a second five-wicket haul, in only his second appearance for the Club, but they came at a cost. The demolition was then completed once again as Kent failed to cope with the Gloucestershire seam attack and were shot out out for just 168.
England under-19 star David Payne caused the greatest problems, claiming four victims, as Kent rolled over meekly. Only Stevens, with 35, and number nine Simon Cook, who blasted 46 off 39 balls, put up any sort of fight as the visitors slumped to a humiliating defeat.
A reversal this time around will put Kent into a strong position, going into the final three games of their LV=CC campaign, and, on the back of two fine CB40 wins, the confidence is flowing once more amongst Jimmy Adams’ side again.
Team news: Kent will be without two of their first-choice bowling attack, James Tredwell and Matt Coles, with the duo currently playing for the England Lions against Australia A in a four-day “unofficial Test-match” at Edgbaston. Mark Davies is likely to return to the side, after being rested against Essex last week and Adam Riley is the most likely to fill the spinning void left vacant by Tredwell.
The hosts welcome back premier all-rounder Will Gidman. The 27 year-old is fit again, after a side problem left him side lined since June. David Payne is in the squad, despite suffering from a bruised heel, but fellow seamer Ian Saxelby misses out with a knee problem. New Zealand opening batsman Rob Nicol has taken over from fellow countryman Kane Williamson as their overseas player.