Match Report: Kent vs. Sussex

Match Report: Kent vs. Sussex

Sussex were the visitors to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence to face Kent for the 169th Canterbury Cricket Week, in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

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Day Four Report:

Kent’s new-look side held on for a draw in their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Sussex, after an engrossing final day at Canterbury.

Jack Carson took three for 87 and Sean Hunt two for 48, but despite a cluster of wickets in the final hour, Sussex were unable to polish off Kent’s tail.

Hastings-born Harry Finch made 115 from 212 balls against his home county as Kent closed on 257 for seven, after Sussex had declared on 332 for four, 40 minutes into the morning session.

The visitors began day four on 277 for three, and Matt Quinn, who finished with three for 118, took the only wicket to fall when he had Oliver Carter caught by Marcus O’Riordan for 18.

Travis Head reached 49 not out when the visitors declared, setting Kent a target of 349 to win. The hosts’ reply got off to a desperate start when Ollie Robinson had Joe Gordon caught behind for a duck in the first over, but O’Riordan and Finch batted through to lunch, with Kent on 52 for one.

O’Riordan was dropped thrice before he was finally run out in bizarre circumstances for 47. Chasing a single, he nearly ran into his batting partner Finch. As he veered sideways to avoid a collision, the ball was gathered by Tom Haines, who ran him out with a direct hit.

Henio Kuhn faced 27 balls before he was bowled by Carson for four, leaving Kent on 139 for three at tea. Finch reached three figures with a glance off Carson that just eluded leg slip before nestling against the rope, but Kent’s outside hopes of a win dimmed when Dan Lincoln was out for 41, caught by Robinson off Carson.

Conversely, Sussex’s hopes surged when Carson then had Harry Houillon caught by Danial Ibrahim for nine.

Hunt had Finch caught behind and when he subsequently trapped Hamid Qadri LBW for 4 there were still five overs remaining, but Harry Podmore and debutant Bailey Whiteman survived a taught final spell to finish not out on 36 and nought respectively.

The result means Sussex finish bottom of Group C while Kent are fifth, leaving both sides in the third tier when the championship resumes in late August.

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After the match, Harry Finch said: “I’ve played in quite a few games like this and if you go from the first ball trying to chase it you can end up losing the game, so for us it was taking it each session at a time. I think once we got to tea the wicket started to go up and down, started to spin a bit more. We were just going to play for that first hour and then we did lose a couple of wickets, so that put it (the chase) on hold. Obviously you’d love to try and chase that down and win in front of the crowd, but I think we made it a more interesting than we should have done at the end there. I was pretty gutted when I got out because if I think if we’d gotten through those three overs with me and Podders we probably would have just shaken hands.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting (a call-up) when I was playing club cricket (for Hastings Priory) on Saturday. I just played an awful shot, had come off and was quite angry with myself. Then I got a bit of good news. I wasn’t expecting it at all so it was a nice bonus. It’s just nice to take my chance in this game. I wasn’t really thinking about the game (on Saturday night), it was more about getting the paperwork done. I had to rush back to Mum’s get my clothes and sort everything out.”


Day Three Report:

Ali Orr’s maiden first-class century gave Sussex a commanding, but not conclusive, lead on Day Three of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Kent at Canterbury.

Orr hit 119, including 19 fours, as Sussex advanced to 277 for three, but they were stifled for long periods by the hosts, who trail by 293 going into the final day.

Orr’s opening partner Tom Haines was out for 94 just before stumps to Matt Quinn, who took two for 88.

Earlier Jamie Atkins took career-best figures of 5-51 as Kent were dismissed for 165, Hamid Qadri finishing on 30 not out, his highest first-class score.

Kent began day three on 122 for seven and lost Bailey Wightman in the first over when he was bowled by Atkins, but Quinn hung around for 38 minutes, providing useful support to Qadri, before he was caught behind off Ollie Robinson for 11.

By the time Jas Singh was LBW to Hunt for two, Sussex’s lead had been chopped to just 16, but Orr and Haines steered the visitors to 53 for nought at lunch and batted through the afternoon session. Kent never really looked like taking a wicket, but they were tight and disciplined, slowing the run rate to under three and limiting Sussex to 147 for no wicket at tea.

Orr reached three figures when he glanced Harry Podmore to third man for four and was finally out when he cut Singh to backward point and was caught by Dan Lincoln, having faced 254 balls over nearly five hours.

Harrison Ward made six when he drove Quinn to Heino Kuhn, who took a two-handed catch at point and the scoring rate actually slowed to 2.8 during the evening session, only nudging back over three when Travis Head hit sixes from successive balls in the 90th over, followed by two fours. Quinn then had Haines LBW in the third last over of the day, ending a painstaking innings of 233 balls and 354 minutes.

Head and Oliver Carter were unbeaten on 29 and 15 respectively at stumps, but Sussex face a potentially awkward decision over the timing of any declaration on day four.

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Kent captain Heino Kuhn said: “It was a tough day, out on the park, I thought the guys did very well. It’s a young bowling attack, there are some new guys in the team and I thought we stuck to it very nicely. They batted very well and played to their strengths, but we got some wickets at the end so we’re happy.

“I asked them to do a job and they did it pretty well. Obviously being new every now and again they get it wrong, but we’re only human and all in all I thought they did a very good job. Hamid loves his batting and has got a very good technique. To get us only 16 behind was a great effort. The pitch looks like a good pitch to bat on, it keeps you humble, it still does a bit. I think at the moment they’re a little bit ahead but if we get some wickets tomorrow and restrict them I’m sure we can chase it down.”


Day Two Report:

Kent moved to 122/7 on Day Two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Sussex at Canterbury, cutting the visitors’ lead to 59 on a day when just an hour and 20 minutes of play was possible.

Jamie Atkins has four for 31 after taking one of the two wickets to fall, while Sean Hunt has one for 23 after removing Kent’s top scorer, Harry Podmore, for 37.

Kent’s already depleted squad endured another withdrawal when first-team bowler Nathan Gilchrist, who took two for 24 during Sussex’s first innings, was told to self-isolate, earning a call-up for Bailey Wightman, who became the sixth Kent debutant of the match.

The start was delayed until 14:15 thanks to a damp outfield, by which point dark clouds were already rolling in.

After a chaotic start to Canterbury Week on Sunday, when 14 members of the first-team squad were forced to isolate after an unnamed player tested positive for COVID, the hosts resumed on 69 for five, trailing by 112.

They lost Harry Finch to the third ball of the day, LBW for 24 to Atkins, but rallied, thanks to a stand of fifty for the seventh wicket between Podmore and Hamid Qadri.

Podmore was dropped on seven and 14, but responded with a controlled but punchy innings of 37 that included a six over cow corner before he was caught by Oliver Carter off Hunt.

Qadri had moved to 12 not out from 46 balls when bad light stopped play at 15:35, with Wightman unbeaten on nought, having faced four balls.

With rain falling and no prospect of improvement, the umpires abandoned play for the day at 16:50.

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Day One Report:

Sussex reduced a new-look Kent side to 69 for five on Day One of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Canterbury, leaving them 112 behind the visitors’ first innings score of 181.

Jamie Atkins took three for 21 and Ollie Robinson two for 21, as Kent’s makeshift top order failed to build on their best red-ball bowling display of the season. 19-year-old debutant Jas Singh took four for 51 and Harry Podmore three for 49, while James Coles was Sussex’s top scorer with 36.

Singh was only selected after a positive PCR test forced 14 members of Kent’s first-team squad into isolation.

Kent’s preparations for Canterbury Week were thrown into chaos when an unidentified member of the Vitality Blast side that beat Surrey on Friday tested positive for COVID. As his team mates were all identified as close contacts, Heino Kuhn was named captain of an improvised eleven that included five debutants: Singh, Joe Gordon, Harry Finch, Dan Lincoln and Harry Houillon, joined regular first-teamers Harry Podmore, Matt Quinn, Nathan Gilchrist and Marcus O’Riordan, while Hamid Qadri was selected for the first time this season.

The start was delayed until noon to allow Kent to register their new players and after winning the toss and choosing to bowl they entered the arena to warm applause.

Sussex’s openers Ali Orr and Tom Haines made 50 without loss, but the former cut Singh and was brilliantly caught by O’Riordan for 21.

Singh then had Haines caught for 25 in his next over, held by Kuhn at first slip after the ball was parried by Finch, leaving Sussex on 51 for two at lunch.

Gilchrist trapped Harrison Ward for four and Travis Head then drove Singh to Kuhn for 12. Singh claimed his fourth wicket when he had Oliver Carter caught behind for 32, making him Houillon’s maiden first-class victim.

Qadri got Coles LBW with his first ball, Gilchrist had Ibrahim caught behind for six and Podmore swept away the tail, getting Ollie Robinson caught behind for 21 before trapping Sean Hunt LBW and bowling Jamie Atkins, both for nought.

However, Kent’s batters struggled to emulate the bowlers’ heroics.

Gordon was LBW to Robinson for eight, before Atkins had O’Riordan LBW for 18. The latter then bowled Kuhn for eight and Lincoln for nought. Robinson had Houillon LBW without scoring before bad light stopped play at 18:50, with Finch 24 not out and Podmore unbeaten on three.

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Kent’s Head Coach Matt Walker said: “I think actually after the England situation happened we spoke to the group at Lancashire to take a step back, to go back to where we were last year at the start of the season, when COVID was around us, to limit their access to people outside the group, to avoid busy areas like pubs, bars, coffee houses and just make sure we’re doing everything we can to be careful. Ironically a few days later we had our first case.

“The results came back to us at 7 last night. Obviously it turned out to be a positive test and the mad scramble started to happen, it was all hands on deck from everyone involved. We were prepared in a way that if that test was positive, we had a few players on standby which made things a little bit easier. Trying to organise everything logistically was a bit of a headache, but we got there in the end and managed to get a game on.

“Fortunately half the side weren’t at The Oval so that gave you half a team. We didn’t want to cancel the game, that’s for sure. As much as it was going to be a challenge to get 11 players we felt we could do it. It’s Canterbury Week, it’s festival week and I think we had a duty to put a team together. It was late to bed, that’s for sure. The phone didn’t stop ringing and pinging with texts until midnight, but as soon as the phone went off I went to sleep very quickly! For all the downside of having a squad isolated you get a chance to see what these young players can do.”


NEXT HOME MATCH

Sussex Sharks are the visitors to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence for Kent Spitfires’ final home match of the 2021 Vitality Blast South Group

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Be in with a chance of winning Darren Stevens’ signed match-worn Vitality Blast shirt by buying any piece of Samurai Sportswear Kent Cricket merchandise online or in-store before 18 July.

The lucky winner will be announced LIVE on Kent Spitfires’ Live Stream against Sussex Sharks on Friday 18 July.

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