Kent fall short in crucial CB40 clash

Monday 27th August 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent fall short in crucial CB40 clash

There was disappointment for Kent at the St Lawrence Ground,when anunbeaten century by Luke Wright and 78 not out from Matt Prior propelled Sussex into the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals, beating Kentby nine wickets.

The second-wicket partners added 152 in 21.4 overs to overhaulthe Sharksin the tableand secure a home tie in the last four with 10 overs of the Group C clash remaining.

All was not lost for Kent at the conclusion but, once Warwickshire`s win at Yorkshire was confirmed, their chances of being the best losers disappeared.

Despite a tricky St Lawrence pitch,Kent hadallowed the Sharks to get their teeth into the pursuit of their total of 210 for five.

One-day openers Wright and Chris Nash plundered 23 from the opening two overs from the Pavilion End – 13 off Matt Coles then 10 off Darren Stevens – and, though big-hitting Joe Gatting was dropped and Scott Styris was absent, Sussex continued to score freely, posting50 in 6.2 overs.

The opening stand ended in the ninth over when Nash, driving on the up at Stevens, had his off stump plucked out by one that nipped down the slope and through the right-hander's gate.

England's Prior escaped a huge fourth-ball appeal from Stevens for leg before, then another with his score on 16 when sweeping at international team-mate James Tredwell, but he survived both.

The decisions proved crucial, as Prior dug in with Wright to win the match with their unflustered second-wicket stand.

Taking the two-paced pitch fully into account, Wright coasted to a 53-ball half-century with six fours then, having played himself in, Prior accelerated with a swept six off seamer Mark Davies and a straight drive over the ropes against Tredwell to post the century stand and reach his personal 50 from 55 balls.

The duo claimed 18 off the penultimate over of the match by Coles then Wright reached his second one-day ton of the summer with a dabbed single to backward point.

Kent, who started the day on top of the Group C table, batted first after winning the toss and made a sticky start on a dry, yet green-tinged pitch.

They lost young opening batsman Sam Billings with 10 on the board when he edged to Prior, fielding at slip, against competition debutant Steve Magoffin.

Prior's understudy behind the stumps, Ben Brown, then stood up to the wicket to claim a magnificent catch that accounted for Spitfires' skipper Rob Key who gloved a lifter from Kirk Wernars to be caught behind with 63 on the board.

Sam Northeast flicked across the line of a Will Beer top-spinner to go lbw, then Kent suffered another dismissal when Brendan Nash called for a second run on a misfield to fine leg by Magoffin, who picked up to run out Stevens with a throw to the non-striker's end.

Alex Blake's penchant for the reverse sweep finally led to his downfall, caught at short third man, bringing Nash and Geraint Jones together for an unbroken sixth-wicket stand worth 57 in 33 balls.

Jones bludgeoned three fours as well as two consecutive sixes off Michael Yardy in his cameo 37 from 18 balls, while Nash anchored the other end with an unbeaten 51 from 59 balls and with only one boundary.

Photo: Sarah Ansell