Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Yorkshire Bank 40

Saturday 1st June 2013

Men’s First Team

Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Yorkshire Bank 40

Match Preview
Kent Spitfires v Northamptonshire Steelbacks,Yorkshire Bank 40 – Group A
Sunday 2nd June 2013
1.45pm start

Kent Spitfires round-off the 2013 Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival by welcoming the Northamptonshire Steelbacks to the Nevill Ground, for a Yorkshire Bank 40 Group A fixture.

After a good run so far in the group stages, the Spitfires are still very much in contention for the knockout stages and will be buoyed on by victory over the Netherlands in their last outing.

The two sides have already met this season in the LV= County Championship, where Northamptonshire ran out winners by seven wickets at Canterbury.

Kent are playing well in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition and sit second in the table – two points behind leaders Nottinghamshire and three ahead of their latest opponents. The Club has a good record against Northants in limited-overs cricket with 26 wins from the 45 matches played to date.

The two teams met twice in last season's Clydesdale Bank 40 competition as they were paired together in Group C. At the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, the match ended in a no-result as rain left both sides frustrated. Batting first, Northants scored 168 for five from their 32 overs with opening bowlers Darren Stevens and Matt Coles picking up two wickets apiece. Kent were then six for no wicket, after the opening over, when the rain once again arrived to leave both sides sharing the spoils.

In the reverse fixture at Wantage Road, batsman Brendan Nash scored a sparkling unbeaten 70 as Kent recorded a thrilling five-wicket success. Batting first, Northants scored 232 for nine – a total Kent passed for the loss of five wickets, thanks to Nash's fluent half-century.

Speaking ahead of the match, vice-captain Geraint Jones, who is leading the side in the absence of James Tredwell, said: "We are all very much looking forward to it. We've had some good success in the Yorkshire Bank 40 (so far) and come into it off the back of a great victory against the Netherlands. Keysy (Rob Key) hit a century in that game, it was a personal best for him, and then followed it up with another hundred against Leicestershire so he is in good form. We chased down 250 in our last outing and we've played well in this competition so long may it continue."

Kent go into the game on the back of a draw against Leicestershire in the LV= County Championship. The final day ended with the visitors on 139 for one in their second innings – after Kent declared on 353 for three. Jones had these words to say on the stalemate: "The weather played a big part and frustrated both sides. We tried our hardest to force a win (on the final day) but it was a flat wicket and we just couldn't do it."

Jones was clearly delighted with the wicket produced for last Monday's 40-over victory over the Dutch and clearly hopes for more of the same for what is sure to provide a typically bumper West Kent crowd: "Last Monday saw us play on one of the best one-day wickets, anywhere in the country, in the last few years. Hopefully it will be just as good for this game as all crowds love a high scoring affair. Hopefully we can round off the festival with some more sunshine and another victory. I'm enjoying leading the side (in James Tredwell's absence) and am continuing with the way that he has set things up. He knows the way he wants the team to play and I'm just trying to continue with the good things that Tredy has implemented."

Don't miss Kent in action, on this, the final day of Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival 2013. Gates open at 11.45am ahead of a 1.45pm start time. Supporters will be pleased to hear that car parks at The Nevill are fully operational this weekend, following a period of closure mid week due to heavy rain.

Keep up with the action by following @kentcricket on Twitter, and if you're at the match listen out for details of how you can vote for your Fitzgerald Man of the Match…