Match Preview: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

Wednesday 7th June 2023

Men’s First Team

Vitality Blast

Match Preview: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

The 171st Canterbury Cricket Week kicks off with a Double Header T20 at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence – South East Stars face Central Sparks at 14:00, before Kent Spitfires take on Essex at 18:30 – one ticket, two matches!

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Grant Stewart currently has nine wickets for the Spitfires, averaging 17.2. Michael Hogan’s eight wickets have come at an average of 19.37, including a spell of 3-13 against Gloucestershire on debut.

With the bat, Tawanda Muyeye is Kent’s current top run scorer with 141. Daniel Bell-Drummond has 136 runs, whilst Jordan Cox is the Spitfires’ current biggest hitter with five sixes in four matches.

South East Stars

  • Captain: Bryony Smith
  • 2022 finish: Semi-finals
  • 2022 leading run scorer: Aylish Cranstone (235)
  • 2022 leading wicket taker: Bryony Smith (11)

Paige Scholfield moved to Stars from Southern Vipers over the winter and already has two centuries, her first-ever in List-A cricket, among 300-plus runs in the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy. The 27-year-old South African all-rounder will look to carry that confidence into the shorter format.

  • The big question: When will Tash Farrant be fully bowling fit? The England seamer is being eased back gently following a serious back injury last season, bowling only 12 overs in four RHFT appearances so far. A star-studded batting line-up should guarantee Stars runs, but a fit and firing Farrant would be key to defending totals or restricting runs ahead of a chase.
  • Player to watch: Sophia Dunkley had an underwhelming Women’s Indian Premier League stint, but her unbeaten hundred for Stars in their RHFT defeat to Northern Diamonds this week suggests she may have found her mojo ahead of the shorter format. A shoo-in for England these days, if Dunkley is at her explosive best, Stars should be tournament favourites.

Stars have more England centrally contracted players (four) than any other franchise bar Vipers – who also have four – not to mention several others on the fringes of national selection. So much could depend on when England players are summoned to their pre-Ashes camp. At full strength Stars can repeat their 2021 success.

Watch the South East Stars take on Central Sparks from 14:00 – one ticket, two matches!

Matchday Information

Important matchday information for Members, Six Pack Ticket Bundle holders & those that have purchased match 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.

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The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence is a cashless venue. The Kent Cricket Shop, ticket sales, and food & beverage payments at all outlets are conducted without cash during matches.

171st Canterbury Cricket Week

It’s almost time for cricket to take centre stage in the social calendars of East Kent – the 171st Canterbury Cricket Week, sponsored by MHA Accountants, begins with the Spitfires’ Vitality Blast match against Essex.

After consultation with a Members’ Working Group, the Club has worked hard to ensure that Canterbury Cricket Week is something that the whole of Kent can rightly be proud of.

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Buy tickets with confidence with Kent Cricket’s Wet Weather Policy

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Match Coverage

Kent Spitfires vs. Essex will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK – starting at 18:25 on Sky Sports Cricket.

Live match updates will come via the Club’s social media channels, & a video scorecard will run inside the Match Centre on the Kent Cricket website.

South East Stars vs. Central Sparks will be live streamed for free via the Stars’ official YouTube channel.

Opposition Report

  • Captain: Simon Harmer
  • Overseas players: Simon Harmer (South Africa), Daniel Sams (Australia).
  • Finals Day appearances: 5 (2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2019)
  • Titles: 1 (2019)
  • 2022 finish: Quarter-finals
  • 2022 leading run-scorer: Michael Pepper (439)
  • 2022 leading wicket-taker: Simon Harmer (17)

It is 2022 all over again as far as Essex are concerned. They were sufficiently impressed with the Australian T20 specialist Daniel Sams (a strike-rate of 171.87 with the bat last season alongside 15 wickets) that they have asked him to return.

  • The big question: Michael Pepper has emerged in the past two seasons as an in-demand T20 gunslinging number three with a 360-degreee game. He was Essex’s leading run-scorer in both the 2021 and 2022 campaigns, ramping, scooping and reverse-sweeping from ball one. Can he do it again?
  • Wildcard watch: Feroze Khushi – With six Essex players already signed up by The Hundred teams, any additions are going to have to take what chances come their way in the Blast. Khushi hit a career-best 67 from 40 balls last season; something similar could pique interest.

Because they are the warm-up act for Ireland’s Test against England, Essex will begin the Blast two or three games behind everyone else. As they are notoriously slow starters they could be looking up at the pace-setters for some time. However, they do have a tendency to finish the competition strongly, so may have their rivals looking over their shoulders.

Squad News

Men’s Head Coach Matt Walker has named a squad of 13 for the Battle of the Bridge.

Fred Klaassen is back in contention after being unavailable due to personal reasons, & replaces Wes Agar in the bowling options available to the Spitfires. Earmarked T20 overseas players, George Linde & Kane Richardson, are both included, with two overseas players permitted in the Playing XI.

Arafat Bhuiyan, Nathan Gilchrist & Matt Quinn are featuring for the Second XI against the South Asian Cricket Academy at the Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells ahead of the return of the LV= Insurance County Championship on Sunday. Arshdeep Singh has arrived in Canterbury but is only available for selection in the Championship, as per the terms of his Overseas spell.

Zak Crawley is with England’s Test setup ahead of the start of the Ashes.

Kent’s full Matchday Squad, presented by Shepherd Neame >>>

Kent Spitfires matchday squad vs. Essex: Sam Billings (Captain), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Jordan Cox, Joe Denly, Joey Evison, Michael Hogan, Fred Klaassen, Jack Leaning, George Linde (Overseas player), Tawanda Muyeye, Kane Richardson (Overseas player), Grant Stewart.

The Spitfires take on the Hawks this Friday

Kent Spitfires will face Hampshire Hawks in a T20 showdown at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence – under the lights on a Friday night:

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We will be supporting The BeYou Project, in association with the Club’s Official Charity Partner, Porchlight, during this match.

Buy your T20 tickets now to save money, avoid disappointment & to lock in supporting your Spitfires during an exciting Summer of white-ball cricket!

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Members do not need to pre-book their space at T20 matches as per last season – entry will be gained by scanning a valid 2023 Kent Cricket Membership card at the gate.

Should seated areas such as the Frank Woolley Stand also sell-out, an allocation is set aside for Members & Six Pack Plus Ticket Holders.

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