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Foster leads Essex to victory in LV= County Championship opener

Tuesday 21st April 2015

Men’s First Team

James Foster led from the front as Essex won the LV= County Championship Division Two opener against Kent at Chelmsford.

The home skipper hit an unbeaten 80 including 10 fours and a six as the hosts reached their target of 193 shortly after lunch on day three.

The penultimate day began with the game evenly poised and the home side lost 17-year-old Daniel Lawrence without addition to the overnight 66 for three to give Kent hope.

The youngster became Mitch Claydon's third victim of the innings when he was snapped up at forward short leg before Foster steered Essex to safety.

Nightwatchman Jamie Porter was content to defend resolutely at one end as Foster, despite one or two anxious moments on a pitch where the ball sometimes rose awkwardly off a length, penetrated the field with some forceful strokes either side of the wicket.

When the 50 stand was raised from 109 balls, Porter's share was a solitary single, off Ivan Thomas, having been put down by Matt Coles at second slip in the same over.

Porter then got off the mark through mid-wicket which earned a big cheer from the crowd when he found the offside boundary against Claydon.

Soon afterwards, however, he was dismissed when a delivery from Coles struck him on the helmet and trickled onto his stumps to dislodge the bails.

Porter's valuable resistance, that spanned 85 deliveries, had brought him 14 runs and one boundary in a stand that yielded 66 in 22 overs.

That left Essex on 132 for five but it was the last success Kent were able to celebrate as Foster, in partnership with Jesse Ryder, saw the hosts to the winning post.

They needed just nine balls after lunch to gather the 23 runs required with both batsmen hitting sixes. Foster despatched Claydon into the crowd in front of the pavilion at mid-wicket while the New Zealander sent a ball from Thomas over long-on.

Essex collected 19 points from the match while Kent took just three points in an encounter where neither side collected a batting point on a lively wicket.

Winning skipper James Foster said: "We were indebted to Graham Napier for his first innings contribution with the bat that got us to within a few runs of the Kent score. With our bowling attack, we felt that we could restrict them second time around and give ourselves a good chance.”
Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens reflected: “I thought we didn’t have any luck early today. They were playing and missing a lot but we stuck to our plans. We gave it everything we had but it just didn’t go our way.
“We felt if we got over 180 in our second innings that we had a good chance but the wicket got a little bit flatter. As I say, we didn’t get a lot of luck this morning.”

Click here for the scorecard