Kent hosted Gloucestershire in the return of LV= Insurance County Championship cricket to Canterbury.
Day Four Report:
Kent have recorded their first win of the LV= Insurance County Championship season, beating Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Canterbury.
Jacob Duffy took five for 65 on his Kent debut, while Matt Quinn claimed two for 37 and George Linde two for 52, as the hosts lifted themselves out of the Division One relegation zone.
Glenn Phillips led Gloucestershire’s resistance, batting for over three hours to make 59, but the visitors were all out for 213, setting Kent a target of just 88.
The hosts eased to 91 for two in 22.4 overs, with Ben Compton making 30 to leave him on 988 runs for the season. Kent take 22 points and basement side Gloucestershire six.
Gloucestershire started day four on 37 for five, still 89 behind the hosts’ first innings total of 564 but facing a Kent attack minus Matt Milnes, who was being rested as a precaution.
Miles Hammond was on nought when he clipped Duffy to George Linde in the first over of the day, but the chance went down and for the next 40 minutes Gloucestershire chipped away at Kent’s lead, until Chris Dent tried to drive Duffy and edged the ball to Jordan Cox at second slip. Cox could only parry the chance, but a diving Sam Billings took the rebound, removing Dent for 32.
Linde then produced a violently spinning delivery to bowl Hammond for 41, the ball pitching almost a foot outside off before crashing into the stumps.
Ryan Higgins took two from Jack Leaning to nudge the visitors into the lead and Linde couldn’t hold a difficult caught and bowled chance from Higgins in the final over before lunch, at which point Gloucestershire were 16 ahead.
Higgins had survived half an hour of the afternoon session when he played on to Matt Quinn and was bowled for 30 and Daniel Bell-Drummond then had Ollie Price caught by the sub fielder Will Harby for three at square leg, from just his third delivery.
An elegant cover drive saw Phillips past 50, but he eventually fell to a juggling slip catch by Cox off Linde, leaving Zafar Gohar unbeaten on seven and the visitors rueing their decision to send in three nightwatchers at the end of day three, when they lost five wickets in the final session.
Ollie Robinson began the run chase as if in Blast mode, cracking 20 from the first three overs, before he fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Hammond, while attempting to drive Gohar.
Ben Compton, who needed 42 to become the first county championship player to make 1000 runs this season, was initially more measured, taking Kent to within five runs of victory before he was lbw to Phillips.
Jack Leaning finished on eight not out after driving Phillips for four to level the scores and then hitting the same bowler to the cover boundary to clinch the win, while Bell-Drummond was unbeaten on 20.
Kent’s Jacob Duffy said: “It was awesome. First of all it was awesome for me to get a taste of the county grind. I’ve been a fan, from a distance, for quite a while so to get a taste was pretty cool. Kent have been very welcoming and it’s been awesome to be here.
“The spell last night was just one of those things. I’d struggled, massively, on day one. A lot of things weren’t clicking I guess, so it was nice to correct that on day three. It was just one of those moments when everything happens for you. I think we talked about getting one or two wickets and that would have been fine, but you just take what you can get in those situations and luckily they kept sending in nightwatchmen, so you play what’s in front of you. We were lucky enough to hold our catches and take our chances.
“It was a bit of a relief to get the five-wicket haul. I’m only here for a couple of games and you want to put your best foot forward and help Kent because we’re in a bit of a sticky situation down near the bottom of the log. There was a bit of relief, especially after day one.
“I came here with the New Zealand team as part of their extended squad and once they cut it to 15 for the test, so I was actually hanging around in holiday in Bristol. I played a couple of club sessions and managed to get in touch with the Kent guys. They obviously need bowling at the moment, so it just worked out beautifully.”
Day Three Report:
Kent are scenting a first win of the LV= Insurance County Championship season at Canterbury, after a late salvo by Jacob Duffy reduced the Gloucestershire to 37 for five after Day Three, still 89 behind the hosts’ first innings total of 564.
Matt Quinn started the visitors’ collapse when he removed George Scott for 10 and New Zealander Duffy then took four for eight, to leave Gloucestershire reeling at stumps.
Earlier Jordan Cox made 158 and Jack Leaning 128 in a record Kent stand for the fourth-wicket against Gloucestershire.
After two and half days in which the bowlers struggled to make any impact, Tom Price took a hat-trick career-best figures of five for 53, but wickets continued to tumble through the evening session, with Chris Dent and Miles Hammond clinging on at the close of play on eight and nought not out respectively.
Kent began day three on 232 for three, needing another 57 to avoid the follow on, a landmark they sailed past despite Gloucestershire taking the new ball after the first over.
Leaning carved Tom Price for four through backward point to pass 50 while Cox reached his half-century with a nudged single off Zafar Gohar.
It was 337 for three at lunch and Cox won the race to three figures with a flamboyant reverse-sweep for four off Hammond. In the next over Leaning, who’d been ahead of his colleague for most of the session, scrambled a single to bring up his seventh first-class hundred.
A cut shot from Cox off Ajeet Dale saw Kent move into the lead, and the duo then passed the previous fourth-wicket record of 233 set by Colin Cowdrey and Brian Luckhurst in 1962, before the stand finally came to an end when Leaning pulled Gohar to Ollie Price at square leg.
Having reached 468 for four at tea, Kent had moved to 511 when they lost two wickets from two balls. Price had Cox caught behind and then sent George Linde’s off stump flying. After a maiden over from Gohar, Price returned to trap Grant Stewart lbw for his hat-trick, but Kent regained the initiative when Matt Milnes joined Sam Billings and the duo put on a rapid 53.
Milnes’ 37 included successive sixes and a four from Gohar in the final over before the second new ball was taken, but he then hit Price to Hammond. Price then sent Duffy’s middle stump cartwheeling for a second ball duck, but when Billings also bowled middle stump by Dale for 43 it left Gloucestershire with a dicey nine-over spell to survive before stumps.
Scott subsequently edged Quinn to Cox at second slip and Billings took a brilliant diving catch down the leg side from Duffy’s first delivery to remove Bracey.
Duffy then charged down the wicket to catch night-watcher Zak Chappell for eight and his next delivery had Dale caught by Ben Compton for a golden duck. Tom Price survived the hat-trick ball, but the next delivery clipped his bails to leaving Kent in a euphoric mood at the close.
Kent’s Jack Leaning said: “Jordan’s having a good year isn’t he? I think he’s right at home batting at five and opening the batting last year has probably stood him in really good stead to go and play now. He obviously got a lot of confidence from that, although he doesn’t need it! He tends to exude that. He’s flying across all formats and showing what a good player he is.
“We were stood in the dressing room thinking hopefully we can get a lead of 150, 170 and hopefully not have to bat again. We lost a couple of quick wickets at the end but the complexion has completely changed with the way we bowled there. We’ve had a couple of tough games this year, so to get into a position like that is great fun. Everyone’s leaping about and everyone’s enjoying it.
“We’re in a great position as a team. Hopefully we can out tomorrow firing as a team and get our first win.”
Kent’s Jordan Cox said: “It was amazing, wasn’t it, it was great to watch and great to be out there. To get them five down tonight should make tomorrow a lot easier, but to get five and to bowl like that was incredible and it was great for us to show that we could do that, as we’ve had teams do that to us, so to show that we can do that we can do that to other teams is really, really impressive.”
“Jack’s been injured so for him to score those runs was key for him personally and for the team, it was great to see him back out there in full flow.
(On the race for the hundred.) “I was looking up, I’m not going to lie to you, it was like our partnership two years ago (against Sussex in August 2020) I always had my eye on the board every now and again!”
Day Three Report:
Kent fought back on Day Two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Gloucestershire, reaching 232 for three at stumps, a deficit of 206.
In a contest so far dominated by the bat, Daniel Bell-Drummond made 89 and Ben Compton 80, leaving Kent needing another 57 to avoid following on against their Division One rivals, with Jack Leaning and Jordan Cox unbeaten on 24 and 21 respectively at Stumps.
Bottom-of-the-table Gloucestershire were earlier dismissed for 438, having added 50 to their overnight score, Ollie Price going for 51 and Zafar Gohar 49, while Matt Milnes finished with four for 93.
In front of a crowd swelled by 960 children, attending as part of the Club’s Schools Day Out initiative in aprtnership with Countrystyle Recycling, Gloucestershire resumed on 388 for seven. Although they lost Ollie Price early when he was caught hooking Milnes to Jack Leaning at square leg, Gohar took them past the 400 mark, before falling one run short of his half-century when he edged Jacob Duffy behind.
Sam Billings then took a smart, diving catch off Grant Stewart to dismiss Zak Chappell for nine and wrap up the innings.
Chappell struck an early blow when he bowled Ollie Robinson’s off-stump for three, but Compton dropped anchor, batting through the afternoon session while Bell-Drummond scored more freely at the other end, glancing Zafar for a single to reach his 50.
Well over an hour later Compton nudged Phillips to point for a single to reach the same landmark in the final over before tea, at which point Kent were 151 for one.
Cabin fever seemed to set in. When an appeal for caught behind off Compton was turned down, Gohar collapsed so theatrically that the entire ground, including his fielders, burst into laughter.
The partnership was finally broken when Bell-Drummond was caught behind off Ryan Higgins, while Compton’s eventual departure was the latest in a string of luckless dismissals. Attempting to reverse sweep Gohar, the kneeling Compton hit the ball into the ground, with replays suggesting it either bounced up off his pad or off the wicket before it was caught by Glenn Phillips, but Cox and Leaning ensured there were no further alarms.
Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “It was a good day for us, it was good to get them out quite early on, the bowlers did a good job and I think we got off to a good start with the bat. The game’s still in the balance, I think Gloucester battled hard in the field and were very competitive, but I think we’re pretty happy with the way things are right now.
“We need to deal with the second new ball, I think that’ll be a key period in the game and then we’ll try and push on from there. We’ve been in these positions before this year and sometimes we haven’t taken advantage, so first and foremost see off the second new ball and then look to go past them.
“I really enjoy batting with Ben [Compton, he’s awesome to bat with and he’s had an unbelievable year so far. I’m always learning lots off him and everyone loves him in the changing room, for obvious reasons. He’s really great to bat with and we compliment each other well.”
Day One Report:
Kent took seven wickets as Gloucestershire posted 388 runs on the first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.
The rock-bottom visitors recovered from being put in and reduced to 46 for three to reach Stumps on their score of 388/7.
On a warm day, Kent won the toss and elected to bowl first, however they were soon in charge with Matt Milnes claiming three early wickets to reduce the visitors to 46 for three.
Fresh from their Friday night fireworks in the Vitality Blast at Hove, the visitors raced out of the blocks, tucking into some loose bowling from Kent’s new signing, New Zealand seamer Jacob Duffy in particular.
George Scott set the tone with a clip off his hips to the rope from the very first ball, and there were already 35 runs on the board from 34 balls when Milnes had Scott trapped leg before for 27.
Making the most of the early conditions, with some cloud cover and a touch of movement, Milnes looked a constant threat thundering in from the Nackington Road End and five deliveries later he had James Bracey (1) caught behind by Sam Billings, making his first red ball appearance since his Test appearance in Hobart in January.
Milnes claimed his third scalp when he had Chris Dent, back in the Shire side after injury, lbw for 11 to leave the visitors teetering on 46 for three.
Only 43 scoring shots were played in the first session but the visitors converted them into a lunchtime score of 114 for three, thanks in large part to 19 fours in the opening session.
It was Miles Hammond and Phillips who steadied the Gloucestershire ship and after the interval they brought up three figures for the fourth wicket from only 154 deliveries.
Hammond, who averaged less than 26 in his 11 County Championship innings this season, brought up his half-century from 90 deliveries while Phillips followed suit from just 71 balls soon after.
Kent got the breakthrough they were desperately seeking when Grant Stewart got Hammond to feather one to Billings for an eye-catching 66, featuring a dozen fours, to break a stand of 138 with Phillips and make it 184 for four.
Phillips was unperturbed and reached his seventh First Class century from 124 deliveries, which featured 13 fours and a delicious straight six off South African spinner George Linde.
He and skipper Ryan Higgins added a breezy 69 for the fifth wicket to steer their side past 250 before Duffy – switching to the Nackington Road end where he tightened up significantly – claimed his first Kent scalp, getting Higgins (24) to edge to Billings, who had missed the chance to stump him moments earlier.
Batting on his 21st-birthday, Oli Price helped the score on to 288 for five before Phillips eventually holed-out to his tumbling countryman Duffy off the bowling of Stewart for 125.
Tom Price joined his younger brother in the middle and the runs continued to flow until Tom mis-timed a pull to Jack Leaning in the deep for a brisk 39 to end a 62-run partnership and give Duffy his second scalp.
Zafar Gohar cracked his side’s 50th four of the day, becoming the eighth man to find the ropes as the shadows lengthened and is unbeaten overnight on 24 after sharing an unbroken 38 for the eighth wicket with Oli Price.
Kent’s Ollie Robinson was awarded Men’s Cap No.222 during the lunch interval.
Ollie Robinson, who will open the batting for Kent in their reply, said: “I felt like we started the day well. It was a bit of deja vu from our home games this season, we got three early wickets and then weren’t able to break that middle partnership.
“They got away from us a little bit but we clawed it back a little bit towards the end. It’s a simple one. We need to knock them over early in the morning and try and put a big one on the board and then hopefully bowl them out again. That’s the plan. The blueprint for the game has been dictated to us. We have to get 500-600 to stand a chance of winning.
“I thought the boys stuck at it well to get the wickets we did.
“It’s a big game, we need a positive result and we need to pick up our points but if the pitch doesn’t allow us to get a positive result then so be it. We’re going to give ourselves the best possible chance.
“I’m back up top, it’s a good opportunity for me. If you get yourself in it’s a pretty nice top to bat on so hopefully I can get in in the morning and cash-in later on.”
On being capped, Robinson said: “I have poured my heart and soul into this club since I was 10 or 11 so it’s nice to have that 13 years rewarded, you go down in Kent’s history which is a lovely moment and it was nice to share it with my family too. It was a very proud day.”