Match Report: Kent vs. Essex

Match Report: Kent vs. Essex

Kent welcomed Essex to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the first of their final three matches in this season’s competition.

Day Four Report:

Kent suffered defeat in the match before their Royal London Cup final next Saturday.

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The visitors took 4.4 overs to claim the remaining two wickets on day four, bowling Kent out for 149.

Jordan Cox was Kent’s top scorer with 65, who take one point from the match, while Essex claimed 23.

Torrential rain delayed the start until 12:38, with Kent resuming on 137 for eight in their second innings, needing a notional 272 to make Essex bat again.

In reality, with Milnes’ mobility drastically reduced due to a stress fracture in his back, Kent’s only hope of escaping with a draw was to bat for as long as possible and hope the rain returned.

Milnes, in what may be his final act as a Kent player before he moves to Yorkshire next season, lasted three overs before getting a bottom edge to Cook that was taken by a tumbling Nick Browne.

Although dark clouds were hovering, the rain stayed away and the victory was sealed when Cox edged Porter and fell to a juggling catch by Matt Critchley in the slips.

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Kent’s Matt Walker said: “I don’t think we deserved the rain to save us really, we haven’t played well enough over three days and if you’re hoping for rain to save you, you know you’re in a pretty tough spot. We fought hard last night to try and drag it out till today where we knew the forecast was a bit indifferent, but we didn’t deserve to get anything out of this game.

“The numbers are pretty stark. It was a good cricket wicket, there was a bit in it, it was a good toss to win and we didn’t make the most of those conditions early on. It wasn’t a terrible first session but we didn’t challenge them enough and they just showed us how to go about it and how to bowl on this wicket. It almost at times looked as if it was two different surfaces and that’s what happens when you do your basics well enough.

“Their ability to bowl the ball in the right areas over and over again caused us a huge amount of problems and we didn’t deal with it well enough, so it’s not just the bowlers. It showed what you can do on what was a pretty good cricket wicket. It certainly wasn’t a 573 wicket and it wasn’t a 164 wicket. It was somewhere in between.”

(On injuries and looking ahead to Hampshire): “It didn’t help losing Nathan Gilchrist on the morning of the game and then obviously Milnes and Billings who are certainly unlikely for the next game. As far as overseas players go, we could do with a body in the camp for the next game, but apart from that, everybody is available and we’ll have a big think after the Royal London Cup final about what we need to do. Whoever the XI is we’ve got to go in there believing we can win that game. We’ve got the personnel but it’s about more than that, it’s about delivering what’s required and whoever is it that final XI hopefully will be absolutely on board for what we need for those four days.”

Day Three Report:

Kent were left praying for rain after Day Three of their LV=Insurance match with Essex at Canterbury, having been reduced to 137 for eight in their second innings, a deficit of 272.

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Sam Cook took six for 33 in Kent’s second innings and has match figures of nine for 60, while Adam Rossington has seven catches so far, but Essex remain two wickets shy of victory, despite taking an extra half hour after the scheduled close of 18:33.

Kent’s top scorer, Jordan Cox, was not out on 53 at stumps, partnered by Matt Milnes who’s unbeaten on 12.

Earlier Ben Allison took four for 40 as Kent were dismissed for 164 in their first innings, 409 behind the 573 Essex made after they were put in on day one.

Kent were 74 for four when play began after a 10-minute rain delay and after some early resistance they rapidly faded.

Jack Leaning batted for 41 minutes with Cox, before Cook had him caught by a tumbling Feroze Khushi at square leg, and from then on no partnership lasted for more than five overs.

Billings batted despite a groin injury, with Ben Compton acting as his runner, but he was visibly struggling and lasted just nine balls before he nicked Allison to Rossington.

Allison then removed Grant Stewart, who edged the seventh ball he faced behind for two and Harry Podmore, who made 13 before he became Rossington’s fifth victim of the innings.

Allison then clipped the top of Cox’s off stump, bowling him for 34, before the rain returned, with Kent 145 for nine, ushering in an early lunch.

When play resumed Quinn tried to hit Shane Snater out of the ground and was bowled for seven, leaving Essex with a mammoth first innings lead.

After enforcing the follow-on, Essex claimed an early victim when Robinson edged Cook behind for 15, before a second rain delay wiped out 19 overs.

Kent’s best hope of salvaging a draw lay in batting out the day and hoping a grim weather forecast for day four would prove accurate, but when play resumed Cook hadn’t even completed his over before he’d removed Daniel Bell-Drummond for a second ball duck, again caught behind.

In Cook’s next over he took wickets with successive deliveries, first getting Compton caught at second slip by Matt Critchley for seven, then getting Leaning caught for a golden duck by the same fielder.

Cook claimed his fifth wicket of the innings when Denly tried to pull him and instead got a top edge that floated to Nick Browne at third slip. Stewart tried to drive Cook and was caught by Browne at mid off for six.

Podmore lingered for 46 balls for 10 before he was bowled by Jamie Porter and Essex looked like wrapping up the win inside three days when Billings chipped the same bowler to Tom Westley, but Cox pulled Snater for four to pass 50 shortly before the scheduled close and although the extra half hour was taken, the players went off for bad light at 18:59.

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Kent’s Jordan Cox said: “We’re disappointed, obviously in how we batted. 160 something’s not good enough but we knew the wicket had something in it. Unfortunately our bowlers didn’t hit the right spots and there’s did and they bowled very well to be fair to them. They got 500 and it seems a long way off. There’s a bit of fatigue for the first couple of wickets and then you’re into the middle order straight away so it’s pretty disappointing, but we’ll try to bounce back.

“We had to try and get through tonight with me and Milnesy and we managed to do so, so hopefully tomorrow it rains a bit as we need it to! Milnesy’s unfortunately pretty much done for the year with a stress fracture. He’s struggling to move at the minute but obviously he’s taken a few pills and is getting on with it. It was a case of him taking one end and me taking the other, which he thought was more comfortable to face. We decided that with about 15 overs left, so I stayed down one end for seven overs and they ended up calling it for light, which was handy.

“If the rain doesn’t come we’ll try and do our best to survive as long as we can, but we won’t go down without a fight, for sure.”

Day Two Report:

Feroze Khushi’s 164 was the highlight of a light-affected second day in the LV= Insurance County Championship at Canterbury, where Essex posted 573 before reducing Kent to 74 for four in reply.

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Khushi’s maiden first-class century came from 228 balls and included two sixes and 18 fours, while Matt Critchley made 90 and Ben Allison 53.

Sam Cook and Jamie Porter then claimed two for 14 and two for 30 respectively, against a Kent side hindered by injuries to captain Sam Billings and Matt Milnes.

Jack Leaning and Jordan Cox were the not out batters on 19 and one when the umpires brought the players off for bad light with six overs remaining.

Play began in autumnal conditions at The Spitfire Ground and although Khushi hit the first ball of the day, from Grant Stewart, through midwicket for four to bring up his half century, a soporific hour ensued.

The contest spluttered to life when Daniel Bell-Drummond, bowling because Milnes was struggling with a back issue, had Critchley caught behind by Ollie Robinson, who was keeping wicket because Billings suffered a groin injury on Day One.

Bell-Drummond then removed Adam Rossington, caught at cow corner by sub fielder Hamid Qadri for six and Harry Podmore had Shane Snater caught by Matt Quinn for 11, but the torpor returned as Essex advanced slowly to 408 for seven at Lunch.

Khushi reached three figures 40 minutes after the restart, cutting Joe Denly to backward point and leaping in the air as he completed the single, before removing his helmet and kissing the St. Lawrence wicket.

As Essex went through the gears, Allison reached 50 with a straight driven four off the same bowler, but after passing his previous highest first class score of 52, Denly then bowled him middle stump.

Khushi took Essex past 500 by hitting Denly back over his head for six and rapidly put on 69 for the ninth wicket with Cook, who made 38 before he holed out to Denly and was caught on the boundary by the sub, Joey Evison.

The innings finally came to an end when Khushi miscued a drive off Podmore and was caught by Jack Leaning, who held the catch despite a collision with the inrushing Stewart that left him rolling on the turf in manner that called to mind his lookalike, Bruno Fernandes.

In Kent’s reply, Ben Compton had made just two when Jamie Porter bowled him behind his legs, sending his leg stump flying.

Robinson then cracked Porter to Allison at point and was out for 14, and Bell-Drummond fell to a smart one-handed catch by Rossington off Cook for 18.

Denly hung around for 45 balls before Cook had him caught behind for 11 but play was abandoned officially at 17:27.

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Kent’s Harry Podmore said: “It’s been tough. We bowled well in patches, but I think we’re all honest enough to know there were more than a couple of overs when we let them off the hook a bit. We beat the bat quite a lot actually with very little reward.

“When they bowled tonight they had one bowled behind the legs and one caught at point and I think Daniel Bell-Drummond was the only one who got a pretty good nut from Cook, but it’s just one of those games and we’ve got a big job to do tomorrow.

“I was padded up and ready to go in. It’s been 17 weeks since I bowled more than ten overs so 32 was a bit of a shock to the system. I’m looking forward to going to sleep tonight! We’re all professional cricketers and we’ve all been in situations that haven’t necessarily favoured us so it’s up to us to turn it round and really dig it out. Jack and Jordan enjoy batting together and I know Jack’s hungry to bat for a long time, having been away with The Hundred and not played a game. He’s said he’s happy to be back and playing, so hopefully he capitalises on that.”

Day One Report:

Essex have reached 327 for four at stumps on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship with Kent at Canterbury.

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Matt Critchley posted Essex’s highest score with an unbeaten 80, after Sir Alastair Cook had made 78 and Tom Westley 54.

Grant Stewart had Kent’s most economical figures with one for 48, but the bowlers struggled to make inroads in a game that could be pivotal for their hopes of avoiding relegation.

The contest had looked even when Essex were reduced to 219 for four, but Critchley’s unbroken partnership of 108 with Feroze Khushi, who was unbeaten on 46 at stumps, tipped the momentum back in the visitors’ favour.

Kent chose to bowl after winning the Toss, but Essex were 82 without loss at Lunch and enjoyed a break early in the afternoon session when Cook was put down in the slips after edging Stewart, when he was on 44.

The opening stand of 101 ended when Matt Quinn took a sharp return catch to remove Nick Browne for 45, but Cook and Westley put on 58 for the second wicket before the former edged Stewart to Ollie Robinson at first slip.

Dan Lawrence made nine before his off stump was yorked by Daniel Bell-Drummond but Jack Leaning was then denied a wicket when Critchley was dropped by Ben Compton at short leg, leaving Essex 207 for three at tea.

Westley was almost casually run out soon after the resumption, after Critchley had steered Harry Podmore towards third man. Having comfortably strolled two, Westley inexplicably set off for the keeper’s end and was inches short when Sam Billings gathered Joe Denly’s throw and broke the wicket.

At that point Kent were well in the game, but the visitors responded with another substantial century stand, Khushi joining Critchley and comfortably seeing off the new ball before batting through the close.

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Kent’s Matt Walker said: “It was a long day. The shift back into four-day cricket is always a challenge. It had promise, that was the main thing. We started ok and I think conditions actually suited us, I think that wicket had more than it’s had in it all season actually and we just didn’t quite utilise the new ball as we’d have liked. There was an opportunity there to make some early inroads and they never got away from us, but we never quite managed to build up the pressure and get enough momentum.

“We beat the bat a few times and but never quite put it all together. I thought Matt Quinn was excellent, we just couldn’t quite back it up enough to create more chances. We stuck with, the effort was there, but at 220 for four, just before the new ball, if we could have nicked a couple there it would have set us up really nicely for the second new ball. The second new ball didn’t really go our way at all. We didn’t look the threat were in that first hour or two of the day. From that point to the end of the day, it was disappointing. Seven down is probably where we would have liked to have been but they got away from us with that partnership at the back end of the day. There was a lot of huff and puff and some good effort, but not the outcome we would have liked.

“Sam Billings has got a soft tissue injury, which is very unusual for him, he doesn’t really suffer with those sorts of injuries but he felt a pop and we’ll just have to monitor it and see where he is tomorrow morning. It’s not particularly promising unfortunately.”

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