Match Report: Kent vs. Essex

Match Report: Kent vs. Essex

Kent faced cross-Thames rivals Essex for the second time this Summer in the Vitality County Championship at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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Day Four Report:

Kent’s final match before the start of the Vitality Blast ended in defeat to Essex at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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Simon Harmer took four for 32 and Shane Snater three for 15 as the visitors dismissed Kent for 109 in their second innings, to cut the gap to Championship leaders Surrey to just two points.

Kent were 197 behind going into the final day and endured a gruesome morning session, the tone for which was set when Zak Crawley survived just four balls before he was lbw to Snater.

Essex threw the ball to Harmer after just 12 overs and he struck with his third delivery to get Ben Compton lbw for 12. Marcus O’Riordan was next to go, making nine from 25 balls before Harmer had him caught at short leg by Nick Browne.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Matt Critchley for 20 in the next over, the 20th and Harry Finch inexplicably tried to reverse sweep Harmer while on 4 and was lbw, although in mitigation he seemed to have been hit outside the line.

Kent were 64 for five at lunch, after which there was a 10-minute delay for rain.

Denly and Joey Evison offered some resistance, but having dealt with the spinners fairly comfortably Evison was adjudged lbw to Snater for 16. Snater then sent Grant Stewart’s off stump cartwheeling for one to claim his hundredth first class wicket for Essex.

Denly tried to drive Harmer but was caught by Aaron Beard for 23 and with Wes Agar unable to bat the victory was confirmed when Critchley got Parkinson lbw for 10 in the 58th over.

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Day Three Report:

Kent fought back on day three of their Vitality County Championship derby with Essex on Canterbury, surviving till the final over of the day before they were after being bowled out for 349 in the final over.

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Joe Denly 87 hit and Harry Finch 85 to boost the hosts’ chances of batting out a draw after they were dominated on the first two days.

Matt Critchley took five for 88, but Essex laboured without Sam Cook, who’d pulled up injured on day two.

The hosts’ morale had taken a battering on day two and they’d closed on 118 for four, still 473 in arrears, but they weren’t about to surrender without a fight.

Conditions were blustery and overcast at 11:00 but the forecast rain during the day failed to materialise and Denly and nightwatcher Matt Parkinson batted through the entire morning session.

There were occasional alarms, such as when Dean Elgar couldn’t cling on to a violently drive from Parkinson when he was on 31, but the spinner passed his previous first-class best of 39 with a single off Harmer and had made it to 45 at lunch, at which point Kent were 203 for four.

Denly then drove Snater for four to bring up his fifty, but Parkinson was denied a maiden red-ball 50 when Jamie Porter trapped him lbw.

Finch was on four when he pulled Beard to the boundary, but Critchley couldn’t pull off a tumbling catch and the drop proved expensive.

The only other wicket to fall in the session came when Denly, who looked destined for a century, misjudged a Critchley delivery and was caught by Aaron Beard at long on.

Successive byes from Critchley allowed Kent to get a third bonus point with four balls to spare in the 110th over and it was 302 for six at tea.

Finch glanced Beard for four to bring up his half-century and as the evening session dragged on Essex’s increasing frustration started to show with an embarrassing appeal for a catch against Joey Evison from a ball that had clearly been driven into the ground.

They finally broke through when Evison tried to sweep Tom Westley and was bowled for 29. Westley then had Finch lbw and with Wes Agar hurt after injuring his shoulder on day one Arafat Bhuiyan was sent out with Kent still 78 runs short of the follow on target and six overs remaining.

Grant Stewart played conservatively by his standards, but still managed to dump Westley for six over cow corner, only for Critchley to bowl Bhuiyan at 5.45pm, with two scheduled overs remaining.

Agar duly walked out needing to survive for three minutes to spare Kent an awkward over following on and he duly blocked out five balls to at least spare the hosts the dilemma of weather or not to send in a nightwatcher to open.

With the field in, Stewart then blasted Harmer for six in the day’s penultimate over, but Critchley pinned Agar lbw with the first ball of the last over, to set up a potentially fascinating final day.

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Kent’s Joe Denly said: “It wasn’t too bad a day, on a surface that was quite nice for batting. They’ve obviously got two very good spinners and it was challenging at times, that’s for sure but I think to bat through the day and get 190 behind them going into day four on a pretty good surface, we’re backing ourselves and feeling confident coming back in tomorrow, assuming we follow on, and batting out the day.

“It started with myself and Parky this morning. We had a great little contribution from him, he works hard at his batting and it was great fun to bat with him, he loves getting into a scrap as well. Harry came in and played beautifully it’s just a shame one of us couldn’t get in and get a big one.”

“They will come hard and Surrey are going to potentially lose at Hampshire so they’ll be keen to win the game. They’ll be quite attacking but that will potentially create scoring opportunities for us and like I say, it’s a pretty good pitch to bat on when you get in, so it’s a good chance for a few of us to get in and get some good scores.

(On his form)

“It’s been good fun, it’s always nice to score runs and get a bit of consistency but as always I’d like to really kick on and get some really big scores and match-winning contributions. It’s a little bit frustrating not to have kicked on, I fell like I’ve left quite a few runs out there actually, so I’m hungry to put that right.”

Day Two Report:

Kent lost vital wickets in the evening session as Essex made big gains on day two of their Vitality Championship game, declaring on 591 for seven before they reduced Kent to 118 for four in reply.

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Jordan Cox made 207, in a 255-ball innings that included 21 fours and five sixes.

Shane Snater hit a career-best 83 not out and Michael Pepper made 82 before Matt Critchley took two for 19, including the key wicket of Kent’s top scorer Ben Compton, who made 41.

Joe Denly and nightwatcher Matt Parkinson were not out on four and 10 at stumps, with the hosts trailing by 473.

With Essex on 287 for four, Wes Agar was unable to bowl after injuring his shoulder yesterday.

There was polite applause when Cox reached his hundred with a cover-driven four off Parkinson and he celebrated with vigour in front of his former Members and supporters.

Kent then took two wickets in nine balls. The breakthrough came when Pepper slashed at Arafat Bhuiyan and was caught by the sub fielder Jaydn Denly at slip with a neatly made double-handed grab at head height.

Simon Harmer then holed out to Parkinson for six, caught at the second attempt by a juggling Joe Denly on the deep cover boundary, only for Snater to come in and joined Cox for the biggest partnership of the innings, taking Essex to 449 for six at lunch.

Cox took a single off Bhuiyan to reach 150, then hit the same bowler for successive sixes, before Snater reached 50 with a single off Denly.

As Cox neared 200 Kent put every single fielder on the boundary, but he still found the backward square leg boundary to get to 199. The field duly came in and he drove Evison for a single.

When Cox was bowled by Marcus O’Riordan, Essex immediately declared.

Zak Crawley immediately went on the attack, but made just 16 from 12 balls when he edged Sam Cook to Dean Elgar at first slip.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was on 0 when he was dropped by Aaron Beard, but the fielder atoned when he strangled Bell-Drummond for 16 in the penultimate over before tea, leaving the hosts on 48 for two at the end of the session.

Sam Cook limped off injured after pulling up during a run-up and O’Riordan seemed to be coping well until he was lbw to Critchley for 30, the bowler celebrating the wicket with a Cristiano Ronaldo-like leap.

Ben Compton was perhaps unlucky to be adjudged lbw for 41, trying to sweep Critchley, leaving Matt Parkinson to come in as the nightwatcher with over five overs left, a dangerous spell which he survived.

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Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “Obviously the situation isn’t ideal and we’ve been here before a little bit. We’ve got 16 wickets to keep intact and try and get out of this game with a draw. It’s probably a bit similar to some other games, I know the guys can do it and we’ve got some good players in the dressing room to come.

“We’ve got to try and think positively and do what’s required. It’s quite slow and low, a good wicket to bat on but yeah, doing four and half sessions in the field they came out with momentum and made it tough for us.

“I think we should hopefully go well tomorrow and the last day and hopefully make something out of this game.

“It’s been tricky, we really haven’t had the rub of the green with injuries and Wes going down now means there’s probably five or six bowlers down with injuries but that’s the situation we’re in and we’ve got to make the best of that. “

“They definitely tried really hard on day one and there were some great efforts there to restrict the run rate to three an over but I think it caught up with us this morning and in the afternoon, with a bowler down on a decent wicket to bat on they played well, as they have all year. It’s a bit frustrating but we’ve got to look forward now to the last two days of the game.”

Day One Report:

Essex recovered from an early evening wobble to reach 287 for four at stumps on day one of their Vitality County Championship derby with Kent at Canterbury.

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Openers Dean Elgar and Nick Browne scored 77 and 65 respectively, putting on 146 for the first wicket.

Joey Evison took two for 38 for a Kent attack weakened by injuries, but after reducing Essex to 224 for four, they were unable to shift either Jordan Cox or Michael Pepper, who were unbeaten on 51 and 35 at the close.

A healthy first day crowd of 1,200 watched on as Essex the toss and elected to bat first.

Browne was on nought when he drove at Stewart and Joey Evison couldn’t cling on to a tough chance at mid-on, and Elgar reached 60 after a misfield from Zak Crawley, who sprinted 50 yards and clawed the ball back from the boundary, only for it to ricochet off his trailing arm and go back over the rope for four.

An already injury-hit bowling attack was weakened further when Wes Agar injured his shoulder while fielding just before lunch, at which point it was 102 for nought.

Browne reached 50 with two off Evison, but Matt Parkinson finally broke through in the 46th over, when Elgar charged down the wicket and was stumped by Harry Finch.

Evison then produced a beauty that swing back in and bowled Browne middle-stump.

Jordan Cox took ten balls to get off the mark and then hit Parkinson back over his head for six. At that point Cox looked like he was going to “go hard or go home”, but he reined himself in the face of some miserly Kent bowling and it was 185 for two at tea.

Tom Westley flashed at Arafat Bhuiyan and was caught at first slip by Crawley for 21, but Grant Stewart couldn’t hold on to a violent return catch offered by Cox when he was on 15.

Matt Critchley survived a strong lbw shot from Evison, only to be trapped in front by the same bowler in his next over for 13, but Kent opted not to take the new ball due to Agar’s ongoing absence.

Cox continued to play watchfully while Pepper injected some aggression to tilt the contest back in Essex’s favour. They made an unbroken stand of 63 during the day’s final hour and Cox brought up his half-century with successive fours off Parkinson in the final over.

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Kent’s Joey Evison said: “I think it’s fairly even. Obviously it’s a slow wicket and quite nice to bat on but it felt like in the middle session we held the rate really well and then got a couple of rewards, which helped us to keep controlling the rate. When we weren’t taking wickets we weren’t going for many runs.

“It’s all still there to play for tomorrow. If we start well and get a couple of early wickets who knows what can happen. Canterbury’s always a lovely place to bat and there wasn’t too much lateral movement off the wicket but there was a fair amount of swing so we tried to get as much swing as we could. They batted nicely but we didn’t go for many runs so the scoreboard is still well within our reach.

(On the ball that got Browne out).

“I started swinging it in that spell really and that one just came out a bit nicer. It was really full, which kind of did him really. It’s always a nice feeling (to scatter the stumps). It doesn’t happen to me often but every wicket, I’ll take.

(On keeping the rate down.)

“That’s my role I the team. We’ve got Parky at the other end and he’s the wicket taker so obviously they try to attack me but if I can keep the runs down as much as possible I may get a couple of wickets that way. On that sort of wicket it’s about being as patient as possible., which I thought I did pretty well today.

“We don’t know what sort of state Wes is in but he landed on his shoulder. It does put some more responsibility on us seamers but we’ll come back tomorrow fit and firing. The first hour’s crucial, it could go either way. They could be 350 for four or five still or they could be seven or eight down if we get Cox and Pepper out.

“There hasn’t been too much chat out there. Obviously he (Cox) plays for a different county, so he’s an enemy but he’s also a good mate.”


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