Match Report: Kent Second XI vs. Essex Second XI

Match Report: Kent Second XI vs. Essex Second XI

Alex Blake scored his second double century of the season for Kent Second XI in their drawn Second XI Championship match with Essex at The County Ground, Beckenham.

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In total, 1435 runs were scored in the three innings played.

Blake, who hit 208 in the Seconds’ opening Championship match away to Sussex, was again in imperious form as he hit a magnificent 239 in Kent’s 606 for 8 declared, replying to the Essex first innings score of 497 for 8 declared.

The 33-year-old left-hander smashed 29 fours and six sixes and enjoyed a six wicket partnership of 178 runs with triallist, 19-year-old Amrit Basra, who was 157 not out on Kent debut, having previously played for Northamptonshire’s Second Team. His excellent innings included 18 boundaries and one six.

Former Kent Academy scholar Joe Gordon scored a half century 50 opening the innings. Nav Divivedi took 3 for 131 for Essex.

There was a double century maker for the visitors in their first innings, Josh Rymell, was undefeated on 203 not out, with 27 boundaries, and Feroze Khushi scored 103 with 12 fours and a six.

Youngster Jas Singh was the pick of the Kent bowlers with 4 for 73, and Harry Podmore took 3 for 54.

With a first innings lead of 109, the Second XI were hoping to build on their advantage and force a victory, after reducing Essex to 20 for 2 in the first 10 overs of their second innings. But on the final day of the match, on a typical batter-friendly Beckenham strip, they were only able to take four wickets in the days play, and the sides shook hands on a draw, when Essex batsman, Jamel Richards reached his century 100 not out, with 14 fours and a six in his sides 332 for 6 declared, to comfortably steer clear of defeat.

The Kent bowlers found it a difficult day in the field with Jas Singh and Marcus O’Riordan bowling 48 overs between them for little reward, Singh taking 1 for 64 and O’Riordan 2 for 92. Harry Podmore, 2 for 23, had match figures of 5 for 78, a sterling effort in the conditions.

Alex Blake, Kent’s white-ball specialist has been playing in the early season Second XI four day matches to get time out in the middle and pick up some form before the First XI’s Vitality Blast competition starts against Somerset, on May 25, and it could not have proved more successful as he has been in top form with the bat.

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Kent Second XI’s scheduled away Championship match with Yorkshire, which is in the fixture list to start on Sunday May 8, has been postponed and moved to the middle of September.

The next match for the Second Eleven heralds the start of their T20 competition in the Southern Group, when they take on Middlesex, at Polo Farm, Canterbury, on Tuesday, May 17.

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By Peter Burrowes

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