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Kent v Surrey: Roy 50 edges victory for visitors

Wednesday 27th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent's bowlers took six wickets on day four but Jason Roy's unbeaten 60 steered Surrey to a tense three-wicket win in the LV= County Championship derby at The County Ground, Beckenham.

The win, clinched in mid-afternoon, confirms Surrey as the nearest challengers to runaway second division leaders Lancashire.

Resuming at 44 for one on the final day, needing another 151 runs to reach their fourth innings target of 195, Surrey stuttered somewhat in their chase before Roy joined Steven Davies in a sixth wicket stand of 54 that – in the end – went a long way to settling matters at the end of what was a closely-fought contest throughout.

When Davies and Gary Wilson fell in quick succession, however, Kent sniffed a last chance with their opponents on 177 for seven – but Roy, though surviving one huge appeal for leg-before by the magnificent Matt Coles, finished things with a number of fine strokes.

In all, Roy struck 11 fours, including the winning boundary pulled off Coles, and it was his entrance at No 7, after Surrey had slid initially to 108 for five, which made the difference.

Kent will look to batting collapses in both innings for the main reason they lost, but bowlers have largely been on top ever since Rob Key and Sam Northeast added 133 for Kent’s third wicket on the opening day.

A pitch that played well enough, but on which batsmen generally never looked in, meant for a nervy final day for Surrey.

In warm sunshine, wickets fell regularly enough for Kent to believe they could prevent Surrey from scoring the runs required, but the turning point in Surrey’s chase came when Roy all but played his first ball, from seamer Ivan Thomas, into his stumps.

Coles had made Kent’s most important strike of a fiercely-fought morning session, pinning Sri Lankan Test star Kumar Sangakkara leg-before for 8 with a full ball, soon after Darren Stevens had forced Rory Burns, on 37, to inside-edge into his stumps.

Matt Dunn, the nightwatchman, then slogged Stevens to mid on, where Rob Key ran to his right to hold the mishit.

Dunn’s 13 had been a useful contribution, but at 75 for four it was Kent who were on top and Stevens posted figures of 3-29 from 10 overs.

Dominic Sibley was the fifth wicket to fall, edging Thomas to first slip where Stevens held a good low catch – but, by the interval, Davies and Roy had steadied Surrey’s ship at 141 for five and, after lunch, they added another 21 before Davies edged Adam Riley’s off spin and Coles held on to a sharp catch at slip.

Coles then raised Kentish hopes further still by removing Wilson, who edged a drive to Sam Billings behind the stumps, but Roy’s nerve and stroke-making ability saw Surrey home.

Speaking afterwards, Sam Northeast, the Kent captain, said: “I don’t think we scored enough runs in both our first and second innings. We were in position to do so, and in the first innings in particular we had a good chance to stamp our authority on the game when Rob Key and myself were together and putting on over a hundred.

“But we lost wickets in clusters in both the first and second innings and that cost us dearly. Another 50 or 60 runs was all that was needed, overall, but we didn’t get them.”

Click here for the scorecard

County cricket's oldest rivalry continues as Kent Spitfires take on Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast at The County Ground, Beckenham on Friday (29 May) at 5.30pm.

Click here to buy your tickets and save £5 on gate prices