Match Report: Essex vs. Kent

Match Report: Essex vs. Kent

Kent travelled across the Bridge to face Essex in the Vitality County Championship at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford.

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Day Four Report:

On the day that the game of cricket lost an icon in Derek Underwood, a combination of 18-year-old debutant Jaydn Denly and seamer Nathan Gilchrist scuppered Essex’s hopes of recording back-to-back Vitality County Championship wins by securing the draw for Kent away over the Thames.

Kent’s batters donned black armbands to mark the passing of England’s most successful spinner Underwood, whose death was announced to those at the Cloud County Ground during the lunch interval.

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All-rounder JK Denly stood firm for 128 balls on a rain-interrupted final day at Chelmsford to prevent Essex victory after they had Kent at 65-5.

Essex seamer Jamie Porter (4-20) dented Kent’s top order before Jaydn Denly joined forces with uncle Joe in a sixth-wicket stand that ate up 16 overs while putting on 51 runs. Jaydn grew in confidence on both sides of a rain break just as the final hour was called, and finished on 41 not out in Kent’s 164-7.

Essex had declared for the second time in the match on their overnight 257-4. That set Kent 375 to win, initially adjusted because of earlier rain to 76 overs, then 64 after the morning session was abandoned following another cloudburst.

Essex’s quest got off to a good start in Porter’s second over when Twanda Muyeye failed to withdraw his bat in time and edged an inswinger to the wicketkeeper.

Ben Compton batted throughout Kent’s first innings for 165, but he lasted 22 balls second time around for six runs. He had just steered Porter past point for a boundary when he misjudged the next ball and was lbw.

Porter might have sent back Jack Leaning first ball, but Simon Harmer at second slip dropped an edge to his left hand. However, Harmer made amends when Kent’s other first-innings centurion, Daniel Bell-Drummond, went to sweep and was given out lbw for 18.

Leaning’s reprieve lasted another 22 balls before he prodded forward to Shane Snater and lost his off-stump. Harry Finch became Matt Critchley’s sixth wicket in the match and another batsman trapped on his crease.

Joe Denly showed aggressive intent when he twice advanced down the wicket and deposited Harmer over long leg for sixes.

Jaydn Denly grew into his innings, facing the spin of Harmer and Critchley, rocking on to the back foot to ease the latter through the covers for his first four. When their partnership reached fifty, from 88 balls, there was an equal split in contributions. But almost immediately Porter returned to the attack and had Denly senior whipping the ball off his legs into the hands of Feroze Khushi at bat-pad.

Wes Agar drove Porter uppishly to become the seventh and last wicket to fall.

Kent take 12 County Championship points back to Canterbury.

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Kent’s Jaydn Denly hit 41 not out to deny Essex and said: “It was just a case of staying patient and taking it ball by ball and getting the clock down.

“It was a great experience. I’ve never faced world-class spinners in Harmer, and obviously Critchley as well who took a five-fer in the first innings. It was tough, but a good experience. I just focused on the next ball and wasn’t listening to what was going on around me. As long as I was playing the ball, playing the line, I was all right.

“It was nice batting with Joe. I’ve never really batted with him before, so that was great. A nice 50-run partnership, it definitely took out some overs which was what we needed. I can’t remember what he said to me now. He was probably just telling me to stay focused, focus on the next ball and keep on playing the way I was playing.

“It has been really surreal. I wasn’t really expecting it [my debut] to come this week. I was expecting to stay in the twos. But it’s always great to make your debut as early as possible and hopefully I can keep pushing the first team.

“My dad hasn’t made it here for the last three days, but I know he will have been watching it on the stream with my grandad, so that’s all good.”

Kent Spitfires face Essex during the Vitality Blast’s Rivals Week this Summer

The Battle of the Bridge turns T20 on Friday 21 June, under lights at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury.

Beginning at 6:30pm, tickets for this match will be in high demand – get yours now at the best price:

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Day Three Report:

Ben Compton surpassed his previous high score in the Vitality County Championship, scoring 165, as Kent made 413 on the third day at Chelmsford.

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The left-handed opener doggedly reached 150 not out for the first time on English soil, and very nearly carried his bat – being bowled by Simon Harmer to end his 363-delivery vigil, that lasted 512 minutes.

Compton had weighed anchor for more than eight and a half hours to help Kent avoid the follow-on by 33 runs.

That Essex were able to get so close to asking Kent to go straight back in was due to all-rounder Matt Critchley, following up his career-high 151 with 5-105.

Kent skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond had added just a single to his overnight score when he strayed across his stumps to meet a Jamie Porter delivery and was adjudged out LBW by the umpire. He had been in the middle for 73 overs with Compton while putting on 224 for the second wicket.

It was the breakthrough Essex needed after waiting so long. They had taken the new ball at the start of the day and it quickly accounted for Jack Leaning in Porter’s next over, given out lbw to one that jagged in and hit the Kent all-rounder above the knee roll, before Shane Snater removed Joe Denly’s leg stump.

It was then over to Critchley, who flipped from end to end, taking wickets at both. Harry Finch mistimed a drive to a stooping mid-on to the first ball of a brief spell from the river end, Jaydn Denly lunged extravagantly to unluckily loop a ball from the opposite end into short leg’s hands and Wes Agar toppled forward to fall lbw as Critchley reverted to his original starting point.

However, that only brought in Nathan Gilchrist who pulled Critchley and Simon Harmer for sixes as he contributed 33 towards the first fifty of a 88-run stand with the immovable Compton.

Gilchrist was finally out for a career-high of 41 from 64 balls, having helped Kent avoid the follow-on, before edging Critchley behind where Michael Pepper grabbed at the second attempt. Critchley’s fourth career fifth-wicket haul was confirmed when Matt Parkinson thick-edged to slip.

Compton, 100 not out at start of play, played one of the shots of the day when he rocked back and drove Harmer through the covers for four. But he was denied the honour of carrying his bat, bowled around his legs attempting to sweep Harmer.

When Essex batted for a second time, Dean Elgar survived a chance to Agar’s third ball, dropped at the third attempt by a diving Harry Finch. Elgar went on to make 34 from 48 balls before Garrett trapped him lbw.

Kent had broken through when Feroze Khushi watched in horror as an injudicious pull off Agar ended up in deep midwicket’s hands. Agar had a second wicket when Tom Westley played all around one and was lbw.

Critchley hit 25 from 23 balls before being bowled by Parkinson while Michael Pepper helped add 91 for the unbroken fifth wicket.

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Ben Compton hit 165 for Kent and said: “That’s four-day cricket. From where we were at the start of the day on 245-1 just shows how quickly a game can turn. Credit to the way they played at the end there, we took a bit of a battering. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do in that situation, it’s a small ground, and they really went for it and it paid off. It went their way too, there were a couple of spilled chances, a couple landed in no-man’s land. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we’d got to put it behind us and come back tomorrow and really work see if we can walk away with eight points for a draw.

“I’ve got mixed feelings. Obviously I’m very glad on a personal level to contribute. But I think, to be honest, that last hour has put a dampener on things. I’d imagine they’ll declare overnight and stick us in straight tomorrow, so we’ve just got to look forward.

“They have set the game up by playing really aggressively. We’ve been behind from the get-go and that is certainly the case going into tomorrow.

“The focus has got to be on that first hour tomorrow, that first session is going to be huge. It’s all about negotiating that and see where we are. At this point I guess we are just trying to play out a draw.

“I think it was quite clear that they were going to be really aggressive in that last session and try and put the pressure back and give us a tricky job tomorrow. I think that was quite evident, so we knew we had to start well and we took a few early wickets and it could have swung either way at one point. But we did come into that session really pumped to try and get a few early wickets and see what we could do from there, but last hour really hurt us.”

Day Two Report:

Daniel Bell-Drummond hit a second successive Vitality County Championship century whilst Ben Compton also reached three figures in a Kent run-fest at Chelmsford, where only two wickets fell all day.

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The Kent captain reached three-figures against Somerset at Canterbury last week, and helped his side fight back with a second ton in as many matches as Essex were made to toil in the field for the majority of the day, with immense scoreboard pressure seemingly unaffecting Kent’s opener & skipper.

In company with fellow centurion Compton for 71 overs, Bell-Drummond gave Essex a taste of their own medicine as they put on 218 runs for the second wicket against an Essex attack including the dangerous Jamie Porter & South African Test spinner, Simon Harmer. Needing 381 to make Essex bat again, Kent had knocked off 245 by the end of day two for the loss of one wicket with Bell-Drummond 134 not out and Compton 100.

Essex’s 530-7 declared was anchored for 73 overs by Matt Critchley’s career-best 151 not out.

Shane Snater had claimed the first Kent wicket just before lunch when Tawanda Muyeye shouldered arms to one that went straight on and rapped his pad. But it was the last wicket to fall.

Compton and Bell-Drummond dug in doggedly initially at around two an over until the Kent captain hit Simon Harmer straight for four and added another through midwicket in the same over. When Compton flicked Jamie Porter off his legs, Kent had added 14 runs in six balls. It marked a sea-change as the gloves came off.

Bell-Drummond reached his half-century from 99 balls with a push into the covers off Aaron Beard, and then cross-batted the same bowler through midwicket for his sixth boundary. Compton, who was dropped at slip on 20, batted just under three hours for his fifty, which took up 147 balls.

When Critchley strayed down either side of the wicket, Compton came out of ‘Compo Time’ and nudged the ball three times to the boundary in quick succession. Suddenly, as the evening session progressed in bright sunshine, it was the turn of the Essex attack to suffer.

Bell-Drummond’s 10th four, chopped through the covers for three off Beard, took him to a 168-ball century, and also brought up the 150-run stand for the second wicket. A six over long leg followed by a full-toss for four off Critchley kept up Bell-Drummond’s dominance. Harmer also came in for similar treatment with another maximum disappearing into the far distance.

Compton reached his century on the last ball of the day, having batted for 237 minutes with 12 fours.

Essex had batted on for 70 minutes in the morning, adding 109 runs, losing the wicket of Harmer and claiming full batting points before the declaration.

A bright moment for Kent during the morning was when 18-year-old spinner Jaydn Denly claimed a debut first-class wicket as Harmer advanced down the wicket, swiped expansively and was stumped.

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Day One Report:

Jaydn Denly made his first-class debut for Kent, a late call-up after Joey Evison suffered from a tight calf in warm-ups, as Essex batted first after winning the toss on a batting-friendly deck in Chelmsford.

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Dean Elgar hit the 49th three-figure score of his first-class career, and Matt Critchley chipped in with the eighth century of his career, as count cricket resumed its trial of the Kookaburra ball in first-class cricket.

The former South Africa captain put on 89 for the fourth wicket with Critchley, who in turn shared stands of 58 with Paul Walter and 80 with Michael Pepper.

When Elgar was out after almost four hours at the crease, chipping Matt Parkinson tamely to short square leg, he dropped his bat and kicked the ground in frustration. However, by the close, Essex had built on the foundations he had laid to reach 421-6 with Critchley still there on 103 from 173 balls.

Earlier, Essex lost two wickets in the first four overs. Feroze Khushi went first ball, beaten by one from Wes Agar that he decided to leave and which took out his off-stump. Tom Westley drove loosely at George Garrett and was caught behind.

After another wicket fell, Essex had recovered from 10/2 to 169/3.

Critchley came into the middle and reached fifty when he creamed Jack Leaning through the covers to the fence.

Critchley and Paul Walter chalked up the third half-century partnership. Walter brought up Essex’s 300 with the type of straight six off Leaning that has characterised his career. A second soon followed before Walter chased another gift from Parkinson but picked out the long-off boundary fielder.

That ushered in Michael Pepper who clicked immediately into white-ball mode in scoring 49 from just 42 balls, including seven fours and a six lofted through the covers off Leaning. He departed when upper-cutting Gilchrist to deep third man.

As the light started to deteriorate in the early evening, Critchley reached his ton from 168 balls, 20 slower than Elgar’s and with just four boundaries and a six.

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