Match Report: Somerset vs. Kent

Match Report: Somerset vs. Kent

Kent took on Somerset in the Vitality County Championship at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

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Day Four Report:

Kent were unable to force a positive result on day four of their Vitality County Championship match with Somerset at Taunton, despite posting the biggest score of the match and their third-highest ever total at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

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Matt Renshaw hit an unbeaten 82 as Somerset moved into second place in the First Division.

Kent battled their way to 564 all out in their second innings from an overnight 409 for five, Joe Denly leading the fight with 67 off 129 balls before being last man out. Grant Stewart hit 6 fours in contributing 37, while Josh Davey recovered from illness to take two for 40.

That left Somerset to make 189 for victory in a minimum of 54 overs. Renshaw hit 6 fours in a 122-ball innings and Andy Umeed made 73 not out to help their side to the win by 8 wickets.

Earlier, Harry Finch made 20 and helped Denly take the total to 455 before Josh Davey, who had not bowled on day two because of a sickness bug, took up the attack from the River End and had him caught behind edging a defensive shot.

Having switched ends, Davey struck again with the score on 480, pinning Joey Evison lbw for 17 and leaving Kent 104 ahead with three wickets remaining. Denly batted throughout the morning session with few mishaps, but lost another partner on the stroke of lunch when Beyers Swanepoel edged to Overton at second slip off Pretorius.

If Somerset thought the job was almost done, Denly and Stewart proved them wrong with a stand of 59 at the start of the afternoon session, Stewart opting to counter-attack and taking 3 fours off a Davey over.

The patient Denly went to a trademark fifty off 110 balls with a nick through the slips for four. It was one of few false shots amid stubborn resistance and Somerset were struggling for another breakthrough when skipper Lewis Gregory took responsibility for wrapping things up.

Stewart had faced only 41 balls when playing one big shot too many and getting an inside edge onto his middle stump, having helped Kent extend their lead to 177. With only last man George Garrett left at the other end, Denly was forced to open up and gave wicketkeeper James Rew his sixth catch of the game when advancing down the pitch to a short ball from Gregory.

With Garrett still missing from their attack because of a groin injury sustained while bowling in the first innings alongside Nathan Gilchrist with a back complaint, Kent faced a huge task to make inroads into Somerset’s top order. But they struck with the score on 24 when Sean Dickson, on six, chased a wide leg-side delivery from Swanepoel and glanced a catch to wicketkeeper Finch.

Tom Lammonby moved briskly to 30 off 24 balls before his brimming confidence led to an error, skying off-spinner Marcus O’Riordan to deep mid-off where Zak Crawley took a comfortable catch.

Tea was taken immediately with Somerset 60 for two and Renshaw unbeaten on 24.

With the sun still shining brightly over the Cooper Associates County Ground, Renshaw’s fourth boundary took him to a 76-ball half-century, his third of the season. Umeed progressed carefully to his first Championship fifty for Somerset.

Kent had given their all after a well below-par first innings batting effort, but could not prevent unbeaten Somerset building on their start of the summer.

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Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “We lost the game in both first innings. It wasn’t a 500 pitch when Somerset batted or a 175 one when we did.

“Having bowled well this season, we couldn’t find the right lines and lengths. Perhaps 300 would have been a par score, but to let them get past 500 was very disappointing.

“First innings batting has been a problem and it’s one we need to address. Things don’t get any easier with Essex as our next opponents.
“Having said all that, there were certainly positives to be drawn from the character the players showed to take the game into late on the final day. Zak Crawley’s innings was amazing and Joe Denly batted well in both innings.

“If he and Grant Stewart could have stayed together for another half hour today we might have had a chance. But four-day cricket is full of ifs and buts and that was certainly the case for us in this game.

“We found ourselves two bowlers light today. Nathan Gilchrist has a sore back, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but George Garrett will miss the next game with his groin injury.”

Day Three Report:

England opener Zak Crawley returned to form with a superb double century to lead a stirring Kent fightback on the third day of the Vitality County Championship First Division match with Somerset at Taunton.

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There were three wickets each for Craig Overton and Migael Pretorius as the visitors were bowled out for 178 in their first innings Joe Denly, with 61, offered resistance and his side followed on 376 runs behind.

But it was a different story in the second innings as Crawley and Ben Compton (65) put together an opening stand of 194 in 42 overs. Crawley, who had mustered 67 runs in seven previous Championship innings this season, fell shortly before the close for 238, having faced 267 balls and hit 31 fours and 4 sixes.

Skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond made 62. At 409 for five, Kent’s lead at stumps was only 33, but they had given themselves a fighting chance of salvaging an unlikely draw on day four.

Unbeaten on 32 overnight, Denly moved untroubled to a 70-ball half-century before a late order collapse. Joey Evison was bowled for 11 aiming to drive Pretorius. Denly responded with two boundaries through the covers off Lewis Gregory’s opening over, but started to run out of partners when Beyers Swanepoel played a strange shot to a wide ball from Gregory and edged to first slip.

Kent were 166 for seven and with only seven runs added Grant Stewart played back to Pretorius, falling lbw for a single. Somerset wicketkeeper James Rew then dived low to his left to hold an inside edge from Denly off Craig Overton.

When Gregory bowled Nathan Gilchrist, Kent had added 70 to their overnight total in 15.1 overs. With his bowlers still fresh, Somerset’s skipper had little hesitation in inviting the opposition to bat again.

Crawley, dismissed first ball by Overton the previous day, was 23 not out at lunch, with Compton unbeaten on 22 and the first innings deficit reduced by 47.

Warm afternoon sunshine greeted the players after the interval and Crawley was not about to waste ideal batting conditions, with the pitch having flattened out. The tall opener cracked two boundaries off Leach and then three in the next over from Overton.

The third took him to a half-century off 68 balls. He and Compton went on to dominate the afternoon session, barely playing a false shot as Gregory switched his bowlers and field placings to no avail. Compton went to an unblemished fifty off 67 deliveries, with 9 fours.

Crawley reached three figures with a pulled four off the left-arm seam of Tom Lammonby, his 18th boundary of a majestic innings. In desperation, Gregory turned to the occasional off-spin of Matt Renshaw and the Australian obliged with his tenth ball, earning a suspect lbw verdict against Compton with a delivery slanted into his pads from around the wicket.

Tea was taken at 197 for one, with Crawley on 117. There were still 43 overs remaining in an extended day’s play and the final session saw the England player survive a couple of scares when skying shots just beyond the reach of fielders.

By the time he lofted an Andy Umeed leg-break over the long-on rope to reach 200, Crawley had faced 242 balls and extended his boundary count to 29 fours and 2 sixes. With Bell-Drummond looking equally unruffled moving to a 90-ball half-century, Somerset appeared totally frustrated when Leach straightened two deliveries off a good length to lift spirits markedly.

They accounted for Bell-Drummond and Marcus O’Riordan, both lbw pushing forward. With Kent just 12 runs ahead at 388 for three, Somerset took the second new ball, knowing there were just six overs were left in the day’s play.

It accounted for Crawley, caught behind off Pretorius aiming a back-foot forcing shot through the off-side, and the nightwatch of Gilchrist, bowled by Pretorius off what proved the final ball of the day.

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Kent double centurion Zak Crawley admitted relief at posting such a big score after a tough start to the season.

He said: “To be honest, I have been hitting the ball well in the nets going into all the games, but a bit of bad luck and a couple of poor shots had seen me struggle for runs until today.

“Of course, any batter starts to question himself during a run of low scores and wonders why he is doing this or that. But I try not to get too down on myself these days.

“I trusted that a good score was around the corner and thankfully it came today.

“I love playing for England and always have, so of course I want to be part of things this summer. We have an environment where we are actively encouraged to enjoy our cricket, which is great.

“But it’s a mixture of emotions tonight because of the wickets we lost late in the day. I would love to have still be there at the close with the chance to help us further tomorrow.”

Day Two Report:

Kent lost vital wickets in their first innings with the bat to end day two on 108/5 replying to Somerset’s 554 at Taunton.

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The home side added 114 to their overnight first innings score of 440 for seven to post their highest ever first class score against Kent, skipper Lewis Gregory making 77 off 95 balls with 9 fours.

Craig Overton then pinned England’s Zak Crawley lbw for 0 as the visitors reached eight for one before the weather closed in just 11 balls into the innings.

Play resumed at 4.45pm and Kent reached stumps on 108 for five, Ben Compton top-scoring with 43 before Leach removed him and Harry Finch late in the day for figures of two for 22 from seven overs.

With George Garrett under treatment for a groin injury, Kent were a seamer light when Somerset resumed their first innings under heavily overcast skies at the start of the morning session. Gregory soon brought up a fifth batting bonus point with an on-driven four off Beyers Swanepoel.

The total had progressed quickly to 460 for seven when Migael Pretorius, on 19, edged a delivery from Grant Stewart (3-129) to slip where Marcus O’Riordan took an excellent two-handed catch diving to his left.

Six runs were added, with Josh Davey having joined Gregory before the first rain break of the day came with only 3.5 overs having been bowled. Play resumed at 11.50pm and Gregory moved to his third half-century of the season off 69 balls, with 6 fours.

Davey contributed a handy 27 before chipping a high catch to mid-wicket off Joey Evison with the score on 517. Gregory’s knock was ended by a brilliant diving boundary catch by Crawley off Evison, who finished with three for 92.

Lunch, which had been delayed with nine wickets down, was taken immediately and three overs were lost as another short shower prevented a resumption until 2.05pm. Compton took a couple of boundaries off the opening over of Kent’s reply, sent down by Davey, before Overton pinned Crawley leg before with a full delivery, which beat the inside edge.

Daniel Bell-Drummond survived a confident lbw appeal in the same over, but before it ended the rain began falling again and the heavy covers were brought on.

Tea was taken before play restarted with the floodlights on and a possible 31.1 overs left in the day. Compton played positively again, but Bell-Drummond had made only four when driving at Overton and failing to get to the pitch of the ball, wicketkeeper James Rew taking a good two-handed catch diving in front of first slip.

At 28 for two, Kent faced an uphill battle. O’Riordan joined Compton in looking to counter attack and hit 3 fours in moving to 20 before another loose drive saw his stumps scattered by Pretorius with the total on 55.

Leach was introduced into the attack at 76 for three, but after a tidy maiden saw his second over go for 14 as Compton hit him through the off-side for four and three before Joe Denly lofted a straight six. The skies had cleared to produce the best batting conditions of the day.

Compton looked in prime form. But, having faced 70 balls and cracked 7 fours he went to reverse sweep Leach and stood transfixed when judged to have feathered a catch through to Rew.

Finch looked equally perplexed to be given out lbw to Leach on five, having been struck in front possibly off a feint inside edge and Kent had lost half their wickets in 29 overs.

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Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “I think quite a lot went against us today, not just the conditions, but a few other things I can’t say too much about because I might get myself into trouble.

“I am disappointed with how it all panned out because I felt our boys scrapped really hard.

“A few things didn’t go our way and we just have to regroup for tomorrow, come back and use that energy to bat better than we did today.

“We have plenty of batting left in the camp and must hope for some lower order partnerships to form. There are runs out there for sure as Somerset showed by putting us under pressure with some really big stands.

“Compo showed what was possible by batting really well and hopefully tomorrow we can put partnerships together.”

Day One Report:

Wickets late in the day helped nurse Kentish wounds as Somerset put on 440/7 on the first day of the two counties’ Vitality County Championship match at Taunton.

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Tom Banton contributed a career-best 133, off 174 balls, with 19 fours and 2 sixes, while James Rew stroked his way to 114, off 145 deliveries, with 12 fours and 3 sixes.

The pair added 205 for the fifth wicket in 42.4 overs. Earlier, Tom Lammonby hit 69 as Kent’s seamers found it tough going on a belting batting surface at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

An entertaining morning session ended with Somerset 133 for three from 32 overs. Their innings got off to a poor start when Sean Dickson slashed at a wide ball from Beyers Swanepoel and edged through to wicketkeeper Harry Finch for a fourth-ball duck.

Soon Matt Renshaw and Lammonby were making batting look easier in warm sunshine, Lammonby striking 3 fours in a Swanepoel over, two of them to a very short boundary on the motorway side of the ground.

The pair brought the fifty up in the 12th over and Renshaw celebrated by pulling a six off George Garrett before, with the total on 75, he fell for 40, caught at mid-on mistiming a drive off the same bowler.

With the total on 116, Umeed edged a defensive shot off Swanepoel straight to Marcus O’Riordan at first slip and departed for 25. Lammonby was unbeaten on 54 at lunch, having been joined by Banton.

Both played positively at the start of the afternoon session, taking the score to 172 before Lammonby got a bottom edge onto his stumps, attempting to pull a boundary off Grant Stewart.

It proved the only success for the visitors before tea as Rew launched his innings with 3 fours in quick succession off Garrett, who had to leave the field after two balls of his 11th over, which was completed by Joey Evison.

By then Somerset were 209 for four and Kent, without Jack Leaning because of a hand injury, were forced to turn to the off-spin of O’Riordan.

The final session saw Banton survive a sharp chance to backward point off Stewart just after his stand with Rew went to three figures. Rew followed him to a hundred with his 12th four, clipped over mid-wicket off Stewart after Kent had taken the second new ball at 349 for four.

The left-hander had faced 128 balls, timing the ball sweetly. Banton departed shortly afterwards, caught behind attempting to uppercut a short ball from Stewart.

Rew also fell to the new ball, lbw to Evison, falling across his stumps to give Kent a second bowling point. Craig Overton was dismissed for a rapid 23.

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