Kent Spitfires’ unbeaten start to the Vitality Blast season ended as Gloucestershire won by five runs at Bristol.
Superb spells from Carlos Brathwaite (2/30) and Mitch Claydon (1/26) restricted the hosts to 184 for seven on a good batting pitch before the Spitfires fell just short.
Heino Kuhn (44) and Sean Dickson (32) found the boundaries at either end of the innings but regular wickets interrupted the chase.
After winning the toss and opting to field first, New Zealand paceman Adam Milne removed the aggressive opener Miles Hammond for 11, caught at backward point by Joe Denly.
Denly, fresh from signing a long-term contract, made in-roads in the middle overs as he claimed captain Michael Klinger’s scalp, caught at long-on by Alex Blake.
The dangerous Ian Cockbain was clean bowled by the leg-spinner after two big LBW shouts were denied.
Calum Haggett trapped Gareth Roderick LBW in his first over as they slipped to 82-4 at the halfway stage.
Kieran Noema-Barnett (31 off 15) and Ryan Higgins (22 off 19) counter-attacked superbly to give the innings momentum before Carlos Brathwaite removed the pair.
Jack Taylor hit four fours and two sixes in a cameo of 42 off 23 balls that proved the difference between the sides as he punished the Spitfires’ death bowling.
In reply, both openers fell early: Denly was bowled the slow left arm of Graeme van Buuren, who took a comfortable catch on the boundary to remove Bell-Drummond off the bowling of Ryan Higgins.
Heino Kuhn (44 off 34) tried to play the anchor role but lost a succession of partners. Skipper Sam Billings smashed three superb sixes before being bowled by Tom Smith.
Blake blasted a Higgins full toss to Hammond at cover before Brathwaite was castled by Matt Taylor.
Kuhn, looking to accelerate, punched a superb slower ball by Noema-Barnett back to the bowler before Dickson (32) and Haggett (20) added 49 in 28 balls to give the visitors hope.
Milne (17* off 8) hit three late boundaries but was left stranded as Dickson attempted an unlikely second run and Claydon played and missed the final ball, needing six to win.
See the Spitfires at Beckenham on Friday (13 July, 5.30pm) and at The Spitfire Ground against Surrey (20 July, 7pm) and Sussex Sharks (27 July, 7pm).