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Kent v Gloucestershire LV= CC, The History

Sunday 18th August 2013

Men’s First Team

Kent face Gloucestershire in the LV= County Championship during this, the 162nd Canterbury Cricket Week. If this season’s return match lives up to the fixture at Cheltenham some six weeks ago, it will be something to remember. In achieving a memorable victory by two wickets, Kent recorded the third highest ever fourth innings chase to win their first Championship match of the season. Sadly, Brendan Nash missed the Club’s Honours Board by a single run, having been forced to retire through heat exhaustion. However, he is now the holder of the record for the highest individual fourth innings score, beating that of J L Bryan’s undefeated 172 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1925.

The first match between Kent and Gloucestershire was in 1887. There have been 172 contests since then, of which Kent have won 73, with Gloucestershire being the victors 50 times. There have been 49 drawn matches. The first match was played at Blackheath, but 12 different grounds have been used, with Canterbury, Gravesend and Maidstone sharing most of the matches.

Both counties recorded their highest innings totals away from home: Kent’s score of 607-6d. was achieved at Cheltenham in 1910, whilst Gloucestershire’s 563 was at Tunbridge Wells in 1934. Similarly, with each county’s lowest scores: Kent, in 1888 were dismissed for just 28 at Moreton in the Marsh, whilst Gloucestershire’s 31 was at Tonbridge in 1903.

Kent’s biggest ever win was recorded against Gloucestershire in that County’s third Championship season. It was at Catford in 1909 and the margin was an innings and 314 runs. This remains the most decisive result in the Club’s history. After dismissing them for 61 in the first one and a half hours of the match, Kent went on to score 593 in four and a-half-hours. Before 5pm on day two, victory had been achieved with Gloucestershire being dismissed for 218 in their second innings. In Kent’s innings there was a double hundred for Ted Humphries and 100 for Kenneth Hutchings. Arthur Fielder took 12 wickets in the match.

There have been a number of outstanding batting performances for both sides. Leslie Ames scored two double hundreds, including his career best score of 295 at Folkestone in 1933, whilst for Gloucestershire the record for the highest individual score is held by Kent born Walter Hammond, whose 290 was achieved at Tunbridge Wells in 1934. Leslie Ames is also the only Kent batsman to have scored a century in each innings against today’s opponents, 112 and 119 at Bristol in 1950. Frank Woolley holds the record for the most runs and most hundreds for Kent, with 2964 runs and 10 hundreds, whilst for Gloucestershire it is Walter Hammond with 2352 runs and 6 hundreds. On no less than eight occasions Kent batsmen have carried their bat through a complete innings. A record partnership for matches against Gloucestershire was set at Beckenham in Kent’s win four years ago when Ryan McLaren (42) and Simon Cook (40*) added 87 for the final wicket.

There have been some outstanding bowling performances over the years. The best for each side remarkably came in the same match. At Bristol in 1939 Doug Wright took 9-47 in a Gloucestershire total of 284, which included the second of his two hat tricks against them. But this was decisively bettered by Tom Goddard, with 9-38 in Kent’s first innings and 8-68 in the second. That performance is the best ever for Gloucestershire against Kent and the best performance by any bowler against Kent, whilst for Kent it is Colin Blythe’s 14-84 in 1911.

Frank Woolley twice recorded outstanding all-round performances in this series of matches. At Gloucester in 1914 he scored 77 and 111 not out, and took 12-122. Then in 1921 in Kent’s only innings he scored 174 and took 11-66.

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