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Essex v Kent: Stevens leads fightback as 16 wickets fall on day one

Sunday 19th April 2015

Men’s First Team

A gritty 50 and three wickets from Darren Stevens swung the game in Kent’s favour after bowlers dominated day one of the LV= County Championship season.

The all-rounder’s half-century off 83 balls was not enough to secure a batting bonus point but Kent’s bowlers made amends with some fine work with the new ball to reduce Essex to 67/6 at stumps.

Matt Coles bowled with pace and aggression from the River End to take 2/20 off 10 overs before Ivan Thomas (1/9 off seven overs) and Stevens (3/23 off seven overs) chipped in with vital wickets.

Essex captain James Foster won the toss and chose to field under cloudy skies on a chilly morning at Chelmsford.

The home attack made the most of the conditions to reduce the visitors to 74-4 at lunch.

Joe Denly feathered a ball behind to Foster off the bowling of 21-year-old paceman Jamie Porter in the fourth over.

Captain Rob Key struck three boundaries before being trapped leg-before by Jesse Ryder for 18.

Sam Northeast was the next to fall, caught at third slip by Greg Smith off Ryder.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was dismissed just before lunch, driving at a full ball outside off stump, caught by Nick Browne for 30 off 84 balls.

Ryder (5/43) struck again after lunch when he got the ball to nip in through the defences of Fabian Cowdrey, who made 18.

Sam Billings played some fluent shots in a brief cameo of 20 and Adam Riley’s 18 not out got Kent to 193 off a ball short of 69 overs.

Kent fought back strongly after tea thanks to an attacking spell from Matt Coles which drew a false shot from Essex opener Tom Westley, caught nimbly by Joe Denly at gully.

Thomas dislodged his partner Nick Browne's off stump with the next ball and Kent sensed a recovery was possible.

Stevens trapped 17-year-old debutant Dan Lawrence LBW with the first ball of a fine seven-over spell extracting movement out of a lively Chelmsford pitch.

Coles struck again with a simple return catch to remove skipper James Foster to leave the hosts on 47-4.

Jesse Ryder came to the crease and looked set to counter-attack but fell after three crisp drives were followed by a inswinger through the gate from the evergreen Stevens.

Essex then introduced nightwatchman Jamie Porter to see out the final 5.1 overs of play which he negotiated safely until Stevens struck with the last ball of the day, caught by Cowdrey in the seven-man slip cordon. For match details and scorecard, visit