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Kent v Leicestershire: match history

Sunday 3rd May 2015

For the second year running we welcome Leicestershire for Kent’s opening home game of the 2015 season, honorary curator David Robertson looks at matches through the years.

Like the previous year at Tunbridge Wells, this fixture was again hit by the weather, with one quarter of play lost over the four days.

Nevertheless, Kent were somewhat fortunate to survive with a draw, conceding a first innings lead after declaring and then collapsing to 36-4 in their second innings in pursuit of 324 to win the game. The only performance of note was a second innings century by Leicestershire opener Greg Smith.

Games between our two counties go back to 1906 since when a total of 156 have been played of which Kent has won 77, Leicestershire 29 and 50 have been drawn. Most of our home matches have been played at Canterbury (24) at Maidstone 14 and Tunbridge Wells 13.

Record Kent partnerships for each wicket have all been achieved in the post WW2 period, the most recent being for the last wicket of 67 between Mitch Claydon and Adam Riley at Leicester last year.

Two years earlier, also at Leicester, Brendon Nash and Geraint Jones created a new sixth wicket record of 134. Mark Ealham features in two such partnerships, both of which were recorded on this ground in 1997.

With Paul Strang he put on 145 for the 7th wicket, going one run better in an 8th wicket stand of 146 with Steve Marsh.

The highest match aggregate was achieved in 2001, when a total of 1,583 runs were scored for the loss of 34 wickets over the four days. This match, played at Leicester went the distance, with Kent victorious by 3 wickets, thanks to wicket-keeper Paul Nixon hitting the 16 runs required for victory in the final over.

In the earlier match of that season against our East Midlands opponents and played at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence, Leicestershire achieved a record total for these matches, scoring 612 for 8 dec. This was only the third time they had been victorious at Canterbury since their first visit in 1908.

The lowest total recorded between the two sides was Leicestershire’s 25 all out at Leicester in 1912. Colin Blythe took 7 wickets in that innings (15 in the match).

Only two bowlers, one on each side, have taken nine wickets in an innings: Colin Blythe did it for Kent (9-42) in 1909, whilst for our opponents Jonathan Agnew, now the BBC’s Cricket Correspondent, recorded 9-70 in 1985. Both of these were at Leicester.

Frank Woolley scored most runs for Kent in these matches with 2,906 and six hundreds, whilst the County’s most successful wicket taker has been “Tich” Freeman with 231.

The highest individual score was recorded in 1922 when Wally Hardinge scored 249 not out in the match at Leicester.

In the period 1929-1935 Kent had nine successive wins whilst between 1923 and 1935 the County had an undefeated run of 20 matches against today’s opponents.