Match Preview: Kent v Essex, LV= CC, 11 – 14 September

Tuesday 10th September 2013

Men’s First Team

Match Preview: Kent v Essex, LV= CC, 11 – 14 September

Kent v Essex

LV= County Championship Division Two

11 September – 14 September, 10.30am start.

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

Buoyed from a seven-wicket win over Glamorgan in their last outing, Kent welcome local rivals Essex to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence looking to put a dent in the visitors’ promotions hopes.

Team news:

Kent have named an unchanged 12-man team for the visit of Essex. Kent: Jones (c,w), Northeast, Key, Bell-Drummond, Nash, Stevens, Harmison, Davies, Haggett, Riley, Shreck, Cowdrey.

Players to watch:

Daniel Bell-Drummond, fresh from signing a new contract with the county, scored some crucial runs in the win against the Welsh county and the right-hander will be looking for a strong end to the season. Kent’s number three has scored four half-centuries this season to underline his emerging talent. The aim will be to reach his maiden LV= County Championship century by the end of the campaign.

In Reece Topley, Essex boast a huge young talent of their own within their bowling ranks. The left-armer tops their wicket-taking list, claiming 43 scalps at an average of just 27.53 and in his previous outing, he returned match figures of 11-85 as he helped brush aside Worcestershire.

Pre-match chat:

Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones will lead the side once again with James Tredwell on international duty. He's looking forward to welcoming neighbours Essex to the Spitfire Ground: “It should be a good game. We are playing well and they're finishing the season strongly and hoping for promotion. We've had some good games over the years against Essex and I can't see this being any different.

“Since the defeat to Northants, we've performed well in the Championship and have only lost two games all season. I know we've drawn lots of times but the run chase at Cheltenham and beating Glamorgan inside three days have both been huge positives for us.

“I'm enjoying leading the side with Treddy (James Tredwell) away with England. He's left plans in place and is in regular contact with Jimmy (Adams). I'm really enjoying my cricket and know I'm in a fortunate position to be doing something that I love. I still get that buzz every time I walk out onto the field.”

Season so far:

Kent endured a tough first half to the season but wins over Gloucestershire and Glamorgan have seen them move on to 115 points with three matches left to play. Last week a fine bowling performance, coupled with a solid second innings batting display, saw the team cruise to victory in Cardiff. The hosts batted first but soon regretted the decision when Darren Stevens (4-34) capitalised on helpful bowling conditions to dismiss the home county for 158. Bell-Drummond (78) then did he best to hold the Kent response together but Australian Michael Hogan (6-65) caused havoc as the visitors only mustered a 17-run lead going into the second half of the game.

A Gareth Rees half-century threatened to help Glamorgan set a daunting victory target but three wickets for Adam Riley helped peg them back as Kent were set 241 to win. The chase was superbly controlled with Sam Northeast (88 from 209 balls) acting as the linchpin before Brendan Nash struck a sprightly, unbeaten 70 to secure an impressive seven-wicket success.

Essex were also comfortable winners in their last outing; sealing an eight-wicket victory over Worcestershire at Chelmsford to cement third spot in division two. James Foster’s men are 29 points behind second-placed Northants but have a game in hand as they hunt down a promotion place.

Previous meetings:

Rain ruined Kent’s chances of victory when the two sides met in the reverse fixture back in May. Mark Davies, Charlie Shreck and Stevens shared the wickets as the home side were dismissed for 212, after they were asked to bat first by James Tredwell. In reply a belligerent 136 from Stevens was the mainstay of Kent’s total of 296. With time running out on the final day, Tredwell’s men threatened to secure a shock win when Davies (4-36) helped reduced Essex to 24 for five but an unbroken stand of 144 between Ben Foakes (86) and Foster (52) ensured it finished honours even.

Last season it was Essex who had the upper hand when the two met at Canterbury with the visitors claiming a seven-wicket win. Kent batted first and despite 62 from Mike Powell, bowlers David Masters – against his former county, Maurice Cambers and Graham Napier claimed three wickets apiece to restrict them to 226. Adam Wheater (82) led the Essex reply and even though Shreck returned 5-51, the Chelmsford outfit claimed a first innings lead of 51. Kent’s batting crumbled at the second time of asking as Chambers took his match tally to seven wickets, with the home side subsiding to 101 all-out. Essex knocked off the runs midway through the third day to secure a comfortable win.