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Spitfires lose out in dramatic final over in Chelmsford

Thursday 21st June 2012

Men’s First Team

Greg Smith took five for 17 as Essex collected their first Friends Life t20 success of the campaign with a thrilling three-run victory against Kent at Chelmsford.

James Foster hit four sixes reaching 51 in 27 balls as Essex posted 158 for six, with James Franklin’s 39 the next best contribution.

Kent’s chase was going steadily until the start of the 17th over, at which point they were 118 for three. From that point, Smith’s five-wicket salvo in two overs saw Essex hoover up seven wickets for the addition of 37 runs, including three sixes.

A six-run penalty against Essex for a slow over-rate moved Kent’s chase closer but with four needed to win off the final ball, Graham Napier bowled last man Mark Davies.

James Fosters’ effort included four sixes and two fours before he departed in an eventful final over sent down by Kent paceman Matt Coles. It cost 24 runs including one delivery that cost eight runs when Foster despatched a no-ball for six. Foster also hit another six in the over, as did Adam Wheater before he was bowled.

Thanks to that onslaught, Essex amassed 53 from the final four overs, Coles conceding 46 from his full allocation.

James Franklin was Essex's other main contributor, striking six boundaries in his 39.

He was bowled by Adam Ball after sharing in a stand of 53 in eight overs for the second wicket with Graham Napier, who was run out in the same over for 20.

In David Masters’ third over, he bowled Rob Key for five and had Azhar Mahmood leg before with his next delivery.

That left the visitors on the backfoot on 23 for two and although they reached the halfway stage without further loss, they had progressed to 61.

Darren Stevens fell for 21 but opener Sam Billings and Brendan Nash brought about an acceleration with a fourth-wicket stand of 54 in seven overs.

Medium-pacer Smith then made a dramatic impact in the 17th over.

In it he removed Billings for 59, an innings containing four fours and two sixes and spanning 55 balls, and Nash with successive deliveries.

Billingswas caught in the covers by Mark Pettini and Nash was snapped up by wicket-keeper Foster for 26.

He then bowled Geraint Jones for a single but Kent made a tremendous effort to reach their target despite the clatter of wickets.

Sam Northeast hit two sixes while compiling 14 before he too became a victim of Smith, who also removed Matt Coles on his way to career-best figures.

Even the over-rate penalty imposed on Essex failed to deny the home side victory, which was achieved when Davies was bowled Napier.