Match Report: Kent vs. Surrey

Match Report: Kent vs. Surrey

In the 250th Year since the oldest surviving completed scorecard of a match between two counties was recorded, Kent vs. Surrey took place yet again in the first-class game & was the crowning piece of the 171st Canterbury Cricket Week.

The Kent Spitfires will welcome Middlesex to ‘Fortress Canterbury’ in a floodlit, Friday night T20 match on 23 June.

Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment & lock in supporting your Spitfires now in an exciting Summer of white-ball cricket:

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Day Four Report:

Surrey rewrote history in the LV= Insurance County Championship on Wednesday, chasing down a target of 501 to beat Kent by five wickets at Canterbury.

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What threatened to be a pulsating final day instead turned into a one-sided procession as Dom Sibley and Ben Foakes batted mercilessly, eclipsing Surrey’s previous highest chase of 410, made at this venue in 2002, to finish on 501 for five.

Foakes made 124, while Sibley scored what’s believed to be the slowest ever century in the county championship over the course of 511 minutes and 368 balls.

He eventually finished on 140 from 415 balls, seeing Surry home with Jordan Clark after a magnificent feat of concentration and endurance.

Three days of violent momentum swings, luck, individual brilliance and human error had left the match almost perfectly poised at the start of day four, with Kent needing seven wickets and Surrey 238 runs.

It was the human factor that added the intrigue: without the dropped catches, the “poor” shots and the “bad” balls this would have been a torpid 700 v 700 bore draw.

The final day, however, offered almost none of the drama of the previous three.

Only once in the history of the county championship had a side chased over 500 to win: when Patsy Hendren hit an unbeaten 206 as Middlesex scored 502 to beat Notts by four wickets at Trent Bridge in 1925.

The reigning champions did it with a determination that belied everything that had gone before. Needing under three an over, they homed in on the target like an armour-plated milk float: slow but bombproof.

The morning session was almost ideal for Surrey. Foakes and Sibley saw off the new ball and scored predominantly in singles, at one point going ten overs without a boundary. Foakes survived an lbw appeal from Agar but they were otherwise unthreatened.

At lunch it was 335 for three and a Surrey win was looking as inevitable as an Arsenal title collapse. There was a fleeting moment of controversy when Kent were convinced Hamid Qadri had Foakes, on 73, caught behind, but it was an isolated outbreak of excitement during an almost catatonic afternoon.

Sibley finally reached three figures when he drove Joey Evison for four, beating the previous record, understood to be Jason Gallian’s 453-minute ton for Lancashire against Derbyshire at Blackpool in 1994. He just beat his partner to the landmark: Foakes took two from Jack Leaning in the next over to bring up a relatively quickfire hundred from 198 deliveries.

With the target now under a hundred, Surrey swapped the milk float for a Lamborghini. The 130th over went for 20 but Foakes then holed out to Joe Denly and was caught by Matt Quinn on the boundary, ending a partnership of 207.

It was 452 for four at tea, by which time Kent’s members had long been delivered from the hell of hope and the smattering of Surrey fans by the Old Dover Road entrance were savouring every minute.

Will Jacks was out for 19 caught by Agar off Arshdeep Singh but by then just 40 were needed. Clark sealed the win with a single off Denly and Surrey exited the field to a fully deserved ovation from home and away fans alike.

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Kent’s Jack Leaning said: “I’m not really sure where to start to be honest. The boys are just deflated really. Understandably when you put a score like that on the board you think you’ve got a really good crack at defending it and at worst coming away with the draw, so credit to Surrey.

“They’ve put on a real masterclass of how to chase a score in the fourth innings. They’re a very experienced team, they’ve got a lot of good players and I feel like they’ve won the game rather than us losing it.

“All I asked for at the start of the week was for the team to stick together through the thick and the thin of the four days, to back each other up and to do it as a collective. I can’t ask for any more than what the lads have done this week. We’ve put on two decent scores, set them 500 to win in the fourth innings and bowled as well as we’ve bowled all season without any reward.

“We’ve probably missed out on a couple of decisions that on another day could have gone our way and it would have been a very different story. We dropped a couple of catches yesterday afternoon which you can’t afford to do in a chase like that, especially against a good side so it’s obviously a little bit raw at the moment but we’re back to Twenty20 cricket in a couple of days time so hopefully we can carry on the form we showed against Hampshire.

“It was a very good wicket today and I think it’s been a very good wicket all game to be honest. It’s not had excessive amounts of pace but it’s a good cricket wicket and they showed us how to bat fourth innings. I think it’s pretty good to focus on the fact that they won the game rather than us losing it. The boys gave everything, we tried every different plan, we went short, wide, full, slower balls, bouncers, spin from both ends over and round. They took everything in their stride and got the runs in the end, so fair play to them.

“It was always going to be a tough game and with the position we got ourselves in it’s disappointing to only come away with five points but I’d like to think if we play the way that we did consistently over the rest of the season we’ll be on the right end of many results.”

Day Three Report:

A brilliant century by Jamie Smith has given Surrey stand a chance of making history in the LV= Insurance County Championship: they need another 238 for victory against Kent and what would be their highest ever run chase.

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The leaders were 263 for three stumps and more than halfway to their target, with Dom Sibley on 61 not out and Ben Foakes unbeaten on 22, after Smith made 114 and Tom Latham 58.

Kent were all out for 344 just before lunch, a lead of exactly 500. Jordan Clark took 5 for 79, but only after Hamid Qadri had hit a highly entertaining 72 and put on 117 in a crucial stand with Joey Evison that looked to have batted Surrey out of the game.

However, having lost just two wickets in the last two sessions Surrey stand a chance of overhauling their previous highest run chase, which was against Kent at this venue in 2002 when they finished on 410-8.

Surrey began a pulsating third day with hopes of getting Kent’s final four wickets cheaply, but Qadri, who’d looked like he might get out with every delivery on Monday evening, was enjoying what’s known on the circuit as a “day out.” He survived a dicey early spell, smacked Sean Abbott for six over cow corner and brought up his fifty with a heave past the bowler, Gus Atkinson for four.

By the time Clark took three wickets for no runs in the space of five balls, Kent’s lead was already 445 and the seventh-wicket stand that exasperated Surrey only came to an end when Evison was caught by Smith off Clark for 42.

Clark then bowled Wes Agar, promoted up the order, for a second-ball duck and Qadri’s fun finally ended when he hit the same bowler to Jacks on the boundary, but the last-wicket pair of Arshdeep Singh and Matt Quinn put on 53.

Arshdeep hit fours off his first two balls and Quinn then hit 37 from 22 balls, including three sixes before Clark bowled him.

Just as it looked like Surrey’s morning couldn’t get any worse, in the two over mini-session before lunch Rory Burns managed to hit the first ball for four before edging the second to Jack Leaning at second slip and Latham was nearly run out.

He survived by an inch and the let off seemed to remind Surrey of the discipline they’d need as he and Sibley batted through the entire afternoon.

They only looked vulnerable when Qadri came on, but his earlier luck deserted him as he had Latham dropped twice, by Ben Compton and Agar, in the space of two overs.

He finally got his man when Daniel Bell-Drummond took a diving catch at mid-on shortly after tea but while Sibley continued to score steadily Smith then started flaying the bowlers. He was on 77 when he cut Quinn and Compton couldn’t hold a difficult catch and he reached three figures from 70 balls when he smashed Joe Denly’s first ball for six over long on.

A wave of relief went round the ground when Arshdeep sent his off stump flying to end a stand of 138 but with Ben Foakes joining Sibley and taking eight off the final over it left Kent members with long memories fearing something even worse than their defeat 21 years ago, when Ian Ward and Jimmy Ormond put on 97 for the eighth wicket to steer Surrey home by two wickets.

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Kent’s Hamid Qadri said: “When me and Joey were in yesterday they came hard at us for half an hour. We worked hard to get through that and survive the day, so today was about adding a bit of pressure on them, just trying to go out there, score runs and move the game forward. We did that and to get a lead of 500 was a great job from all the batters.

“It’s still a good wicket and we need to hold our chances but tomorrow’s going to be a good day.

“I earned the right to bat that way by surviving for half an hour yesterday evening. This morning I had a clear plan and knew if it was in my area I was just going to try and take it on. There was a bit of smart cricket around that and Joe was excellent at the other end.

“We put on a hundred which was an excellent effort. It was about having fun and playing smart cricket at the same time.

“We’ve got the new ball around the corner four overs in, so it’s just about staying disciplined for long periods of time on that wicket and then let them come to us.

“It will take a lot of effort from us, they have a lot of depth and the way James Smith played was an excellent innings. It’s going to be a fight tomorrow.”

Day Two Report:

Leaders Surrey were battling hard to avoid their first defeat of the season in the LV= Insurance County Championship, taking six wickets in the final session after Kent had built a significant lead on day two at Canterbury.

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The champions were all out for 145 in their first innings with Matt Quinn taking three for 22 and Wes Agar three for 32, while India’s Arshdeep Singh took his first championship wickets. Sean Abbott was their top scorer with 34.

Tawanda Muyeye then cracked a gleeful 79 and Daniel Bell-Drummond made 59 as Kent moved on to 197 for six in their second innings, a lead of 353, but a productive evening session gave the visitors hope going into day three, Dan Worrall claiming three for 53.

The 171st Canterbury Week continued at the Spitfire Ground and a crowd of 2431 attended on day two, bolstered by around 1100 schoolchildren and teachers, although the start was delayed by 45 minutes due to a brief but violent thunderstorm.

When play began Surrey, who were 18 for two overnight, batted with minimal conviction.

Tom Latham was on three when Matt Quinn had him caught by Muyeye at short leg and Quinn struck again when Jordan Cox took an acrobatic catch to remove Dom Sibley for 9.

Arshdeep Singh was rewarded for a spell of sustained menace with his first wicket in county cricket when he had Ben Foakes lbw for three and Quinn and Muyeye then produced an almost exact imitation of the Latham wicket to get rid of Jamie Smith for 6.

Surrey lurched to 60 for six at lunch and hadn’t added to the score when Agar bowled Will Jacks with the tenth ball of the afternoon session, with a delivery that sent his middle stump pirouetting.

Jordan Clark and Abbott put on the biggest stand of the innings with 48 for the eighth wicket, until both were dismissed by Joey Evison. Clark lingered for 25 before Evison hit his leg side bail and Abbott went for 34 in Evison’s next over, after a one-handed catch by Cox.

The Dans, Worrall and Moriarty, added 20 for the last wicket until the former tried to slog Singh, who ripped out his leg stump, leaving Surrey seven short of the follow-on target, although with 57 overs left and the St. Lawrence experiencing sweltering conditions it was no surprise when Kent chose not to enforce it.

They were 37 without loss at tea, and although Clark made the breakthrough with his first ball, getting Compton caught for 17 by Atkinson at point, Muyeye started to put on an exhibition.

He reached 50 by cutting Abbott for four, but not for the first time in his career he fell when a century looked there for the taking when he hit Atkinson to Latham.

It was a major disappointment for the majority of the crowd and a cluster of wickets followed.

Denly went for six to Worrall that was grabbed by a diving Foakes, Worrall produced an unplayable outswinger to get rid of Jack Leaning for one and Cox was on two when he gloved Abbott behind.

Bell-Drummond then fell in nearly identical fashion, leaving Evison and Hamid Qadri to bat out the rest of an almost interminable session, which finally ended at 19:37.

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Kent’s Tawanda Muyeye said: “The bowlers were pretty good today.

“We probably put them on the back foot early on and I think as a bowling unit you don’t get many days as perfect as that.

“They put it on a string today, it was pretty impressive to watch. I guess Arshdeep brought new energy, Wes is always just bubbly and with Quinny all three of them were pretty good and with Joey and Hamid they were very good as a collective.

“The pitch was good and when you have a big lead it’s so much easier to bat. We tried to capitalise on the wicket being flatter with the sun being out and obviously I enjoy batting with Daniel so it was good fun.

“I’m pretty chilled I guess, so having him out there being chilled as well was pretty good for us. I think it flattened out a bit and they bowled really well but I think we probably played just a little bit better so hopefully we can carry on tomorrow and get that 400 lead.”

Day One Report:

A stellar century by Jordan Cox rescued Kent on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Surrey at Canterbury.

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The hosts recovered from 41-5 to 301 all out, after losing five top order wickets for seven runs in the space of 31 balls.

Cox led the fight back with 133, exactly 100 of which came after he was dropped by Ben Foakes. He was also part of two crucial partnerships, putting on 121 for the sixth wicket with Joey Evison, who made 58, then exactly 100 for the ninth with Wes Agar, who made 51.

Surrey’s Sean Abbott took four for 52, but the visitors were 18 for two at stumps, trailing by 283 after Wes Agar claimed two late wickets.

The big news before the start of play was Kent’s decision to omit Sam Billings after what was described as “mutual discussions around form.” The captain had averaged 9.19 so far this season so this wasn’t a bombshell, but even this ritual sacrifice did little to improve the mood of a festival crowd during a torrid morning session.

Kent won the toss, chose to bat in front of a festival week crowd and eased through 11 overs, only to lose four wickets for a single run in 13 balls.

Both openers fell to slip catches off Abbott in the 12th, Ben Compton for nine, edging the first delivery to Will Jacks at third and Tawanda Muyeye for 21, nudging the final ball to Dom Sibley at first.

The next three batters made ducks. Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Jordan Clark and at the start of the 14th Abbott bowled Joe Denly with a ball that nipped back.

Cox survived the hat-trick ball but when Clark had stand-in skipper Jack Leaning caught behind soon afterwards the natives were getting restless.

Evision’s arrival prompted a defiant yell of: “Come on Joey, they don’t like it up ‘em,” and he at least prevented further damage before lunch, at which point Kent were 80 for five.

It nearly got worse for Kent when Cox edged Abbott, but Foakes dropped a simple chance.

Evison completed his half-century by hooking the same bowler to the boundary and looked well set until he edged Dan Moriarty to Foakes.

Foakes then took a smart catch off Gus Atkinson to get rid of Hamid Qadri for five, flinging himself to the leg side, before Atkinson sent Quinn’s leg stump flying for 10, but Kent were on 211 for eight at tea, with Agar showing signs he could have been higher up the order.

The runs started to flow in the evening session. Cox reached three figures with an elegant reverse-swept four off Moriarty and although Will Jacks nearly had him caught on the boundary when he was on 123, Sibley had to step over the rope before completing the catch.

The new ball eventually did for Cox, who hit Abbott to Clark at mid on but the bowler was denied a five-wicket haul when Arshdeep Singh skyed the next ball and Burns couldn’t cling on.

That drop was less costly as Worrall had Agar caught by Sibley at first slip in the next over, but it left Surrey with 11 overs to navigate before stumps.

Singh’s first three overs in county cricket were all maidens but it was Agar who made the breakthrough, drawing Burns into a hook that was caught by Quinn at short fine leg for 15. Nightwatcher Atkinson then fell in almost identical fashion to the final ball of the day, leaving even Kent’s most pessimistic fans beaming.

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Kent’s Jordan Cox said: “We’re obviously very pleased because being 40 for four is not ideal, so to get a fightback with myself, Joey Evison and then Wes at the end showed great fight from the boys and to get them two down means we’re ahead of the game, which is very positive. I wasn’t great this morning but I felt like I needed to drop anchor and stay there.”

On getting dropped by Foakes: “I was actually about to walk. I think everyone knows Foakesie’s the best keeper in the world and that sums it up by today. He dropped one catch but he’s taken two unbelievable catches down the leg side to dismiss two of our batters.

“It was a real faint nick. It was wobbling and it flew through. Sibley was like running to celebrate, because obviously with Foakes under it everyone thought it was out, but it his hand and went pretty much where Sibley was, so I’ve got away with one there.”

“I’ve been dropped a few times this year in the white ball game, but luck goes your way. I can assure you when I nick it again he’ll catch it.”

On Sam Billings not playing: “I think most of the boys knew before. We’ve all been struggling for runs, I’m not going to lie, so it was all about scoring runs and I think, for the best interests of the team he was like ‘I’m going to step down for this game.’

“He might come in for the next game, but he was like, ‘for me, this is what I want to do, this is what I need to do’ and that’s proper from a captain. A lot of captains would just go ‘no, I’m the captain of the team, I need to play,’ but he was like ‘I want this for the team, I’ve not been playing well, I understand that. I know I’m captain of the club but it still means I can get dropped’ so he’s done that and it’s shown to the boys that we have to score runs and anyone can get dropped, even Joe Denly, who’s played 170 games.

On festival week: “There was a lovely little choir orchestra over there and it was beautiful. Having cricket week here is amazing, loads of supporters come and obviously you just want to put on a show for them really. Today we did.”

On Agar’s late wickets:“They  oper nuts.”

Friday night T20s are back soon!

The Kent Spitfires will welcome Middlesex to ‘Fortress Canterbury’ in a floodlit, Friday night T20 match on 23 June.

Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment & lock in supporting your Spitfires now in an exciting Summer of white-ball cricket:

Buy tickets now

Members do not need to pre-book their space at T20 matches as per last season – entry will be gained by scanning a valid 2023 Kent Cricket Membership card at the gate.