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Match Preview: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

The ‘Battle of the Bridge’ writes another chapter as Kent Spitfires welcome their cross-Thames rivals Essex to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on a Friday night.

This match signals the start of the 172nd Canterbury Cricket Week, the oldest surviving cricket festival in the world!

Why not make a day of it thanks to our friends at Shepherd Neame? The independent family brewer is offering Kent Cricket Members and matchday ticket holders 20% off a pint of Spitfire Lager on home match days at six of its Canterbury pubs:

Less than 10% of tickets remain – beat the queues by buying your tickets online:

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Frank Woolley Stand SOLD OUT for Friday Finale!

Tickets for Kent Spitfires vs. Surrey, the oldest rivalry in world cricket, are selling fast!

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Matchday Information

Important matchday information for Members, Six Pack Ticket Bundle holders & those that have purchased matchday tickets can be accessed via the button below:

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We strongly advise that all Members & spectators travelling to the ground make use of public transport.

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence is located approximately a mile from the historic Cathedral City Centre of Canterbury.

View The Spitfire Ground guide

Weather forecast

  • Buy your tickets with confidence – should there be less than 16 overs bowled in the day, ticket purchasers for that day’s play will receive an automatic ticket credit to their Kent Cricket Ticketing Account.
  • Follow Kent Cricket on X to receive live updates on prospects of play should there be any delays.

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It’s not too late to become a Kent Member for this Summer – be a part of the Kent Cricket family and guarantee your place at Kent’s home matches this season, even if tickets are sold out:

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Live Streaming on KentCricketPlay

If you’re unable to join us at The Spitfire Ground, Kent Spitfires vs. Essex is available to watch via the Club’s streaming platform, KentCricketPlay.

Streaming passes cost ÂŁ5.99 for all non-Members, & FREE for all 2024 Kent Members.

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Previewed by Martin Smith – ECB Reporters Network

  • Captain: Simon Harmer
  • Overseas players: Simon Harmer (South Africa), Daniel Sams (Australia).
  • Finals Day appearances: Six (2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2019, 2023)
  • Titles: One (2019)
  • 2023 finish: Finalists
  • 2023 leading run-scorer: Daniel Sams (419)
  • 2023 leading wicket-taker: Daniel Sams (25)

Key winter moves: Essex reacted cannily to the loss of Dan Lawrence. They replaced him with Jordan Cox, who outperformed the Oval-bound defector in the Blast last season (averaging 52.50 against 29.69 with a superior strike-rate of 165.78 compared to 153.17).

The big question: Will Essex make their passage through the group stage a little less stressful for all concerned? They were rightly being written off when losing their penultimate group match to last season’s whipping boys Middlesex only to pull off a shock win against Surrey two days later and qualify.

Wildcard watch: The Hundred selectors have swept up the majority of those eligible from the Essex camp. However, Feroze Khushi has been Bazball-ing in the Championship and will forever be remembered for the last-ball six at the Kia Oval that carried Essex to a quarter-final place enroute to last season’s final.

Final thought: The return of the Australian all-rounder Daniel Sams for a third successive overseas stint could be key. Sams won the tournament’s MVP last year after topping both Essex’s batting and bowling lists with 419 runs and 25 wickets (he also held 13 catches). A whole heap of expectation rests on his shoulders.

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Team News

Kent Men’s Head Coach Matt Walker has named an unchanged 14-strong squad from yesterday evening.

Xavier Bartlett is set to make his final appearance of his eight-match stint as a Kent Spitfire.

Barring international call-ups, Zak Crawley is available for Kent throughout the start of the Vitality Blast, especially before the start of England Men’s Test Summer in July.

Jack Leaning (hand) & Joe Denly (knee) have been ruled out for this match due to injury.

Fred Klaassen is unavailable due to injury & misses the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in North America.

Matt Quinn (back) remains unfit due to injury from pre-season. Michael Cohen (stress fracture) has been ruled out of the 2024 season.

Kent Spitfires’ Matchday Squad, presented by Shepherd Neame >>>

Kent Spitfires’ squad to face Essex: Sam Billings (Captain), Xavier Bartlett (Overseas player), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Jaydn Denly, Joey Evison, Harry Finch, Nathan Gilchrist, Tawanda Muyeye, Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Parkinson, Jas Singh, Grant Stewart, Beyers Swanepoel (Overseas player)

Next Home Match

Kent Spitfires face Sussex Sharks in a Friday-night showdown – the War of the Wealds!

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Match Previews of Kent’s Vitality Blast fixtures are proudly sponsored by Shepherd Neame >>>