Tough day for Kent as rain affects play at Chelmsford

Wednesday 9th May 2012

Men’s First Team

Tough day for Kent as rain affects play at Chelmsford

Only 9.4 overs were possible on the first day at Chelmsford but that proved enough time for Charl Willoughby to produce a devastating spell that left Kent in trouble at 17 for five in the LV= County Championship Division Two duel against Essex.

The 37-year-old left-arm medium-pace man has so far taken four for eight in 4.4 overs as he quickly made up for lost time after rain had delayed the start until 2.45 pm.

With the floodlights on, initially it was David Masters, playing against one of his former counties, who placed Kent on the back foot by striking with his second ball of the match.

Scott Newman sparred at a delivery that left him and only succeeded in presenting wicket-keeper James Foster with a straightforward catch.

It was a dismissal that paved the way for Willoughby, recruited from Somerset during the winter, to fully justify Foster's decision to put his opponents in to bat.

Making the ball seam appreciably, the top-order seemed at a loss how to deal with him, his first reward arriving in his second over when Ben Harmison was trapped lbw.

Willoughby then struck twice in his third over beginning with the wicket of Kent captain Rob Key who was undone by a beauty that pinned him back on his stumps to trap him leg before and two deliveries later, Willoughby was celebrating the removal of Michael Powell.

The former Glamorgan player edged a ball that left him to be caught by Foster and he was soon followed back to the pavilion by Brendan Nash who had his off-stump knocked out of the ground as he attempted to drive leaving Kent on nine for five.

At that point, Willoughby had claimed his four wickets in the space of nine deliveries at a cost of just one run as Kent lost half their side for nine runs.

Geraint Jones was to bring some respite by driving his first delivery from Willoughby to the boundary and take Kent in to double figures, while Darren Stevens also found the boundary, this time at the expense of Masters.

However, Kent's suffering was spared by the return of the weather, initially when bad light forced the players off the field after just 45 minutes of play before the rain arrived soon after with a vengeance and play was called off for the day at 4.35 pm.

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Photo: Sarah Ansell