Match Report: Kent vs. Somerset

Match Report: Kent vs. Somerset

Kent’s first match of the 2024 Vitality County Championship was the visit of Somerset to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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Day Four Report:

Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond both hit centuries as Kent survived a mid-morning scare to earn a draw with Somerset in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury.

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Kent were in trouble on 10 for two and again at 70 for three, until a partnership of 222 for the fourth wicket took the sting out of the contest and they closed on 290 for four declared.

Denly beat his partner to three figures, posting 110 from 142 balls including 11 fours and a six, while Bell-Drummond made 107 from 169, with 14 fours.

Earlier Kasey Aldridge hit 57 before Somerset were bowled out for 403, a lead of 119. Nathan Gilchrist had Kent’s best bowling figures with 64 for three.

Aldridge, who was on 50 overnight, drove the first ball of the day for four before he was brilliantly caught at mid-wicket by Jack Leaning off Gilchrist.

Bell-Drummond then ran out Ned Leonard for one, throwing down the stumps from short mid on.

Jake Ball hit his first ball as a Somerset player for a six into the lower Frank Woolley Stand and a third batting point was secured when Josh Davey flicked Wes Agar to third man for a single, but the innings was wrapped up when Ball played on to Gilchrist.

Somerset clearly felt they had a chance as their batters sprinted for the dressing room and the more nervous home supporters were soon worried. Kent had a minimum 87 overs to navigate and both openers had gone in the first five.

Ben Compton went in the fourth, strangled by Ball to a delivery he clearly didn’t think he’d hit and Tawanda Muyeye then swatted Davey to Tom Banton at point.

Bell-Drummond and Jack Leaning calmed the situation by batting though till lunch, at which point it was 68 for two.

Somerset’s hopes soared again when Leaning perished in the second over of the afternoon, bowled by Lewis Goldsworthy for 32, but Denly joined Bell-Drummond and quickly wiped out the deficit.

Denly, who’d also scored a century in his last red-ball innings for Kent in the final game of the 2023 season, clearly felt attack was the best form of defence. He raced to 50 from 53 balls, bringing up his half-century when he glanced Lewis Gregory for four.

Bell-Drummond passed the same landmark when he took a single from the same bowler and by Tea it was 228 for three.

Denly’s century arrived with an edge for two off Goldsworthy that flew over the slips and Bell-Drummond’s followed soon afterwards, when he hit Goldsworthy back over his head for four.

Denly was out in the final over when he edged Goldsworthy to Matt Renshaw in the slips, but with any hopes of a win for either side long gone, Kent declared at 4.50pm and the teams shook hands on a draw.

Kent take 12 points from their opening match.

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Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “There was scoreboard pressure and only one team could win it so we just had to weather that storm, but once I got myself in I had good partnerships with Jack and Joe and managed to cash in.

“It definitely means a lot (getting his 17th first class ton) especially my first one as captain. I got hit on the head early on as well, which woke me up and was very much needed! Any ton’s special but especially when you have to work hard. I was on nine for about 45 minutes so it was good to get over that hurdle and try to wear them down.

“They’ve got a good attack and some good young bowlers but it was a nice wicket to bat on. Joe’s approach was massively important. He and Jack played some really counter-attacking knocks. It wasn’t just a question of batting time, we needed to score runs, so while I was just trying to grind it out and find my rhythm it was really important to have those two as partners. Jack started well, but especially Joe. He’s in excellent form and he went at nearly a run a ball. It took them by surprise a bit and it showed his international pedigree.”

“George (Garrett) bowled extremely well on debut, getting his first wickets for us and ended up with some tidy figures. He’d been showing signs in pre-season but it’s a weird one, he probably didn’t think he was nailed in on the team sheet, but he’s earned his place one hundred percent.

“We locked Matt in from one end and I think he’s going to have to get used to that but we had some great signs from him. He had some really nice dismissals, especially Renshaw and he’s got a massive role to play for us, so it’s great that he can get some confidence in Kent colours.”

Day Three Report:

A frustrating seventh wicket partnership for the visitors saw chances of victory for either side lengthen on the third day of Kent vs. Somerset in the Vitality County Championship.

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Tom Lammonby hit 90 and Matt Renshaw 66 as the visitors survived an early evening wobble to overhaul Kent’s first innings score of 284.

Kent debutants Matt Parkinson and George Garrett took three for 31 and two for 61 respectively, but the aforementioned stand of 101 between Kasey Aldridge and James Rew gave Somerset a potentially useful lead of 90.

Aldridge was unbeaten on 50 at stumps while Rew made 57.

The draw always looked the most likely outcome after 119 overs were lost to the elements on Days One and Two.

Earlier on, Sean Dickson was on four when he edged Wes Agar between second and third slips, but both Daniel Bell-Drummond and Jack Leaning went for the catch and neither managed to hang on.

Dickson failed to cash in, edging Garrett to Leaning for 17, but that was the only bright moment for the hosts during an otherwise joyless morning session that ended with Somerset on 108 for one.

Lammonby played with restrained elegance, although he reached his fifty with a streakily edged four off Garrett.

Renshaw was then on 58 when Joe Denly couldn’t hang on to a spectacular diving chance from Parkinson at mid on. Parkinson, however, broke through in his next over, conjuring a ball that pitched outside off and spun viscously back into Renshaw’s middle stump.

If that was the only wicket of the afternoon session, Parkinson’s unbroken 25-over spell at least offered home fans hope that this season might offer something more than the toil of the previous campaign.

He lobbed in the occasional bad ball but always looked like making something happen and in the second over after tea he duped Lammonby into a swipe that was grabbed by Ben Compton at square leg.

A mini-collapse ensued as Tom Banton smacked Garrett for six but was caught behind off the next ball for 28 and Lewis Goldsworthy fell to the new ball, driving Nathan Gilchrist to Joey Evison at extra cover for 35.

Lewis Gregory made just one when he cut Wes Agar to Daniel Bell-Drummond and at that point Somerset were on 255 for six, but Aldridge and Rew exploited some average fielding to push Somerset into the lead score-wise.

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Kent’s George Garrett said: “It was a cool feeling today getting that first wicket. A lot of hard work’s gone into that. After the uncertainty of being released by Warwickshire, I came to Kent and they gave me a chance, so to get that first wicket under my belt is awesome.

(On his second wicket) “Banton hit me for six the ball before and I thought ‘oh jeez I’m on it here,’ but I just rolled my fingers down it and managed to nick one. It’s one of those wickets where it’s hard work for a bowler, especially with the Kookaburra ball, you’ve got to really stick in for long periods of time, so credit to Somerset because they bounced back.

“Division One cricket is hard and I’m remembering what it’s like. There are a lot of good sides out there and you’ve got to play until 6.30. Tomorrow we’ve got to come back and knock them over. I think they’re going to come hard at us first thing to get their bonus points and I think we can get a couple too, so it’s a cliché in cricket but I think that first hour is massive.

“The guy were surprised when I said it was only my fifth first-class game. Warwickshire didn’t hand me that much of an opportunity and some of that through no fault of my own I fell, so it’s good to be here and apart of a squad where I know I’m going to be valued and I’m going to play.

“There’s always nerves but I’m 24 now, I’ve got a bit of experience and speaking to Deebs (Daniel Bell-Drummond) at mid-off, he’s a very calming influence. When you’re under the pump you’ve got to stick to what you’re good at so when that ball went to Jack it was a nice relief.”

Day Two Report:

Kent were bowled out for 284 by Somerset on a fluctuating second day in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury.

Joey Evison hit 85 and Harry Finch 54 as the hosts recovered from 114 for five.

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Somerset captain Lewis Gregory’s first over went for 20, but he rallied to take four for 66, including the key wicket of Evison at the end of the innings, but bad light stopped play before Somerset had the chance to reply, with 23 scheduled overs remaining.

The weather had wiped out the first day at The Spitfire Ground and conditions were still so blustery on Saturday morning that the advertising hoardings had to be stacked safely away from the boundary.

Somerset, who left out the England spinner Shoaib Bashir, chose to bowl and produced a torrid opening spell. Kent scored just 17 off the first ten overs from Josh Davey and Jake Ball, but when Gregory came on from the Nackington Road End the batters were initially able to cut loose.

Tawanda Muyeye took 24 balls and 39 minutes to get off the mark, but once the opening pair had been seen off he hit 33 from 55 balls before Gregory bowled him.

Gregory struck again in his next over when he had Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond caught at second slip by Kasey Aldridge and Jack Leaning then went for a golden duck James Rew caught behind down the leg side off Ned Leonard.

Matt Renshaw had Joe Denly caught by Gregory for 19 with the final ball of the session to leave Kent on 110 for four at Lunch.

The normally staid Compton tried to hook Gregory and was caught on the boundary by Leonard for 32 but Kent responded with a partnership of 93, Evison joining Finch to take the hosts past the 200 mark.

Kasey Aldridge then tilted the equation back in Somerset’s favour with two wickets in the 53rd over. Finch drove him to Tom Banton at mid-wicket and he then had Wes Agar caught for a duck in the slips by Gregory.

Sensing he might run out of partners, Evison went on the attack, swiping Renshaw for six over cow corner. He was dropped by Tom Lammonby, off Aldridge, on 51, but Goldsworthy then claimed his first ever first-class wicket when he bowled Nathan Gilchrist for just two, leaving Kent on 235 for eight at tea.

The hosts countered with a stand of 61 for the ninth wicket which was only broken when Evison tried to drive Goldsworthy, who deflected the ball on to the stumps at the non-strikers end and ran out Matt Parkinson for 25.

Evison then fell on the deep square leg boundary when he tried to hook Gregory and was caught by Goldsworthy.

Somerset’s openers Tom Lammonby and Sean Dickson made it as far as the middle when the umpires took a light reading and suspended play. With no improvement looking likely, the evening session was abandoned at 6:05pm.

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Kent’s Joey Evison said: “At 115 for five it’s obviously a tricky period and you want to get the team up to 150, 200, and 250, but we lost a couple of wickets in clusters. We did quite well to get up to 284, but I think we have left a fair few runs out there because it is a nice wicket to bat on.

“I think we would have liked 350 or more. We had some nice partnerships of 60, 70 and 80 but we would have liked them to be a hundred plus.

“At five down there was a lot of pressure on us but the ball was just getting older and older. There wasn’t much bounce and the ball was getting a bit softer. It was getting easier the longer we stayed out there and I always like batting with Finchy. He’s a calm, level-headed guy and Parky (Matt Parkinson) batted for over 60 or 70 balls there, which was crucial.

“All runs are key. The last five wickets we were able to get over 30 for a couple of partnerships and that was crucial to getting that batting point. We had a couple of unlucky dismissals but wickets in clusters is something we’ve got to look at. Hopefully that 350 mark will come in the next innings.

“It’s a new ball wicket, there’s not much bounce, so you do need to make early inroads as a bowling unit.”

Day One Report:

No play was possible on Day One of the Vitality County Championship match between Kent and Somerset at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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Kent Members & supporters will have to wait a little while longer for the start of the 2024 county season, with the outfield at Canterbury saturated by heavy overnight rain and inclement weather over the past few days.

Although the rain abated, there was no realistic prospect of the conditions improving and despite the unceasing efforts of the ground staff, the umpires decided to pull the plug at 1.40pm.

The forecast for Saturday is significantly better and 104 overs are scheduled, with an 11am start. Lunch will be at 1:10pm, & Tea will be scheduled for 4pm.

This morning, Kent Cricket opened its Multi-Faith Quiet Room at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

Club officials, local community leaders and leaders from multiple faiths, including MP for Gillingham & Rainham, Rehman Chisti, joined together at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on the opening day of the 2024 county cricket season to mark the formal opening of the new space.


Kent welcome oldest rivals Surrey to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the Vitality County Championship!

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