Kent County Cricket Club Timeline
An advertisement in The Postman referred to the earliest recorded match in Kent giving notice of a ‘match of cricket’ between 11 gentlemen of west Kent against as many of Chatham for 11 guineas a man at Maulden (Malling).
The first real contests between counties. In three matches against Sussex, Kent were the winners, thereby earning the title given to them by cricket historian H.S. Altham of “Kent, the first Champions”.
The first properly organised match between Kent and “All England” was played in the Artillery Ground, London and Kent won by one wicket.
The first recorded inter-county match between Surrey and Kent at the Laleham-Burley Ground near Chertsey, followed by a return match at Bishopsbourne Paddock, near Canterbury.
Both were won by Surrey, the return match by the then overwhelming margin of 153 runs. However, a third match between the two sides played on The Vine at Sevenoaks later in the season, and Kent got some measure of revenge with a win by six wickets.
To this day, contests between Surrey and Kent are dubbed as “The Oldest Rivalry in world cricket”.
During the first Canterbury Week the Beverley Club was reconstituted as the official ‘Kent Cricket Club’, although only as one of two clubs playing under the name of “Kent”, the other being the Beverley Kent Cricket Club.
The newly formed Kent Cricket Club, faced early financial difficulties and in 1859 a further County Club was formed at Maidstone, not as a rival to the existing one, but to support its efforts.
In 1870, the two representative Kent sides successfully amalgamated, and the two clubs were merged into what then became, and has remained thereafter, as the Kent County Cricket Club.
In 1875 the Fourth Lord Harris Captain, a position he held until 1889, and in his first year as Captain he was also appointed President.
As a player and administrator he was to dominate Kent Cricket for more than 50 years, serving as Honorary Secretary from 1874 to 1880 and Chairman from 1906 until his death in 1932.
He persuaded many top-class amateurs to play County rather than Country House cricket, he put the County’s finances on a firm footing and was largely instrumental in the introduction of Benevolent Funds for Kent cricketers. He was a strict disciplinarian and ruled the players, amateur and professional alike, with a rod of iron.
Outstanding among the amateurs of this period were Frank Penn, described as a fine batsman, Stanley Christopherson, a fast bowler, and E.F.S. Tylecote, a notable batsman and wicket-keeper. There was also Ivo Bligh who led the England team to Australia in 1882 which won back the Ashes, and J.R. Mason and C.J. Burnup each of whom played leading roles in the County’s successes in the early 1900s.
Of the professionals, the side relied throughout this period on the Hearne brothers: George and Alec, both good all-rounders, and Frank, an outstanding batsman and fielder. One feature of this period was the success of the County against the Australians. Between 1884 and 1899 there were seven match against the tourists. Kent won five and lost two of those matches.
However, in the Championship results were generally unimpressive and although in 1900 and 1904 the County finished in third place, they were rarely in serious contention for the title, with Yorkshire and Surrey being the dominant counties. The big drawback was the shortage of good class professionals and only when the better amateurs were available was the batting up to the required standard.
The founding of the Tonbridge Nursery by Tom Pawley, an ex-Kent cricketer who was also manager of the Rose & Crown Hotel, was to prove significant to the County’s success in the early 1900s, is described in “Barclays World of Cricket” as ‘this astonishing institution’. By 1914 it had produced many fine cricketers.
The coach was Captain William McCanlis who was a moderate player in the struggling years of the 1860s and 1870s and who played in 46 matches for Kent. He is described in “Scores and Biographies” as ‘a fine and powerful hitter and likewise a good field’.
During his time at the Nursery he developed the great talents of Blythe, Seymour, Hardinge, Hubble, Humphreys, Fielder, Woolley, Collins and Freeman. As a result of the nursery, Kent, for the first time had a nucleus of good professionals.
The working day was structured with care, a start being made at 10.30am. The youngsters had 15 minute spells of batting when one fault was worked on at a time, and bowling with the emphasis being on finding a good length.
Special emphasis was placed on catching and throwing, and great trouble was taken to ensure that the developing talents were not put under strain. Extended lunch and tea intervals were taken. The young players were required to bowl to members under supervision and they gained experience by local clubs offering the opportunity for them to play in their matches.
Kent achieved its first County Championship success. Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack of 1907 said: “that they played the finest cricket of the year and fully deserved the distinction they earned was admitted on all hands.
In only 2 matches out of 22 that season was Kent defeated and those two defeats came in the first five matches at which point, the middle of June, there seemed little likelihood that the title would come to the County.
The turning point came in the match against Surrey at the Oval on 14th and 15th June, which Kent won by just one wicket, inflicting on Surrey its first defeat of the season.
This was the match in which Frank Woolley confirmed his outstanding promise as an all-rounder. Going in at number 8 he scored 72 out of a total of 200 in the first innings, and in the second, with Kent requiring 128 to win he held on to be undefeated with 29 runs. His combined batting and bowling won the match with eight wickets to his name, three in the first innings and five in the second.
The return match with Surrey, at Blackheath at the end of July, was no less remarkable. Kent started their second innings with arrears of 83 and lost their first three wickets for 58 runs before recovering to a total of 327. That left Surrey with 245 to win, but superb bowling by Colin Blythe who took 5-25 in 20 overs gave Kent victory by 164 runs, setting them up for two wonderful wins during the Canterbury Week. The first of these against Sussex resulted in victory by an innings and 131 runs after Kent had scored 568 in 120 overs. The second victory, against Lancashire and was even more emphatic with Kent winning by an innings and 195 runs after scoring 479 and Arthur Fielder taking 11 wickets in the match for 130 runs. This is the match which was the subject of the famous painting by Albert Chevellier Tayler a copy of which hangs in the Chiesman Pavilion at Canterbury.
The climax came on 25th August when Kent secured victory over Worcestershire at Canterbury at the same time as Yorkshire were suffering that single run defeat at Bristol. With two matches remaining, the title was still not certain and although Kent defeated Middlesex at Lord’s, they still needed to avoid defeat against Hampshire in the final match. Not only did they do so, they won by an innings with another mammoth total, on this occasion scoring 610 runs in 130 overs. This was the team’s twelfth successive victory.
In those years, the determining of the County Championship was based on an entirely different formula to that which is now the case.
Counties did not all play the same number of games. In 1906, Northamptonshire played the lowest number (16) whilst Surrey and Yorkshire both played the largest number (28). The MCC laid down that one point would be awarded for each win, and one deducted for each defeat. Drawn games were not counted for points.
Consequently, the side which obtained the greatest proportion of points, in effect losing the least number of matches, would be the champions.
Further successes in the Championship followed in 1909, 1910 and 1913 and on four other occasions in the period the County finished runners-up twice and in third position on two occasions.
During this time, of 188 Championship matches played, just 27 were lost and in the eight seasons from that first championship success to the outbreak of the first world war, Kent’s lowest position in the Championship was third.
Outstanding among the bowlers in those eight seasons was Colin Blythe, who took 1,328 wickets, his best return being 185 in 1909 with his lowest 138 in 1911. In only two of those seasons did he bowl less than 1,000 overs. His smallest “work rate” (if it can be so described) was in 1912 when he bowled just 920 overs but still picked up 178 wickets. This comes despite some 40 to 50 batsmen were scoring well over 1,000 runs in a season and a third of those close to or above 2,000.
For Kent, the reputation for exciting and entertaining batting prevailed through the whole of this period, with both amateurs and professionals contributing equally impressively.
It was the performances of Frank Woolley which were attracting the attention of a wider audience as one of the country’s outstanding all-rounders. In every season from 1907 to 1914 he exceeded 1,000 runs, with 2,102 in 1914 and in three of those seasons he also took over 100 wickets.
The first world war took its toll of Kent players with twelve losing their lives whilst serving their country.
Most notably, Colin Blythe who took more than 2,500 first-class wickets at only 16.81, and Kenneth Hutchings, who played a huge part of Kent’s maiden Championship title of 1906 in his first full season with the county side. Aged only 23, Hutchings scored the most runs in the Championship that year, with 1,358 at an average of 64.66. At the time of his death during the Battle of the Somme, Hutchings had scored over 18,000 career runs.
The names of those twelve casualties, together with the thirteen who died on active service in world war two are commemorated on the Colin Blythe Memorial which stands at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence in Canterbury.
In the season immediately prior to the war, Kent introduced to the side A.P. “Tich” Freeman, who was to become a legendary figure in the inter-war years.
He was another product of the Tonbridge Nursery, and made his debut at the relatively advanced age of 26.
He went on to serve the County for 22 years retiring in 1936 at the age of 48.
From 1920 onwards, he took in excess of 100 wickets in every season. For seven years in succession, from 1929, he took more than 200 wickets per season, and in 1928 he reached the 300 wicket mark (finishing with 304 in the season), the only bowler ever to have achieved that remarkable feat. Surely a record that will never be equalled.
He is the greatest wicket-taker that county cricket has ever known. Despite his outstanding record for Kent, he played in only 12 Test Matches.
That the County’s record in the years between the wars did not bring any rewards in terms of the Championship, was due to the side’s refusal to turn down a challenge.
Although there were no Championship successes, the County produced more than a few players who won international recognition.
In 1926 Leslie Ames, reckoned to be one of the finest ever wicket-keeper batsmen, played his first game for Kent. He was one of a trio of Kent players to have scored a century of centuries.
A.P.F. (Percy) Chapman, an adventurous left- handed batsman and outstanding fielder who played in 26 Test Matches and captained England on 17 occasions during which he led the side to recapturing the Ashes in 1926.
Arthur Fagg, the only batsman to have scored two double hundreds in the same match, and whose career spanned the pre- and post-war years.
Bryan Valentine, who toured India and South Africa in the 1930s, playing in seven Test Matches and finishing with a Test batting average second only to Sir Donald Bradman, Doug Wright, a brilliant leg-break bowler whose Test career covered the periods before and after World War 2, and Geoffrey Legge who scored 196 for England against New Zealand in Auckland in 1929/30 and captained Kent for three years, 1928-1930.
These, and many others, entertained large crowds throughout those years.
Bill Ashdown, who scored more than 1,000 runs in every season except one between 1926-1939 and who twice in his career scored triple hundreds, with “Wally” Hardinge, who played his first match in 1902 and his last in 1933, (and who lies second to Frank Woolley in aggregate runs for the County) shared almost 40,000 runs in the 20 seasons between the wars. And they both were competent all- rounders with Ashdown taking 595 wickets and Hardinge 370, although they were a long way short of Frank Woolley’s record of almost 48,000 runs and 1,680 wickets.
Among others who made their mark with the bat in this period were James Seymour, another whose career started in 1902 and extended to 1926 and who scored over 27,000 runs for the County, and Leslie Todd who was a talented all-rounder before and after World War 2. In his 13 pre-war seasons he scored over 12,000 runs and took 498 wickets. Those were the outstanding batsmen and all-rounders.
But it is rightly said that bowlers win matches and Kent had its fair share throughout the inter-war years and although lacking an out and out strike bowler, there was plenty of variety.
The first recorded Kent women’s match took place on 29th May against a Civil Service XI.
The Kent side featured the Blaker twins, Barbara and Joan, who would be pioneers of the women’s game in the south of England prioer to the Second World War.
On 2nd June, Kent women faced Australia Women at The Ball & Ball Ground in Gravesend, the first Women’s International played by Kent.
Although Australia won by 84 runs, the Kent side featured many top-class English women’s players of the period, including England’s first Women’s Test captain, Betty Archdale, and Barbara and Joan Blaker.
The legendary all-rounder’s 32-year playing career came to an end on 1 September at Dover against Nottinghamshire, after scoring 47,868 runs and taking 1,680 wickets in 764 first-class appearances for his home county.
Woolley remains to this day the Club’s highest first-class run scorer with the Club’s most first-class career appearances.
The report on the Club’s activities during the Second World War shows that the ‘St. Lawrence Ground’ was maintained in playing condition, with a remarkable 579 matches being played there between 1940-1945, and a great deal of money being raised for Service Charities.
For a large part of the war, the army occupied most of the buildings. The ladies’ lavatory at the Nackington Gate was used as an explosives store; a control room and air raid shelter were set up below the Woolley Stand and the Ames Stand was used as a petrol store.
Close on 150 incendiaries fell on the playing area causing negligible damage, but with their ingredients apparently being good for the grass! Twenty-one members of the 1939 playing staff were actively engaged in the services or essential work of whom eleven received decorations. The Roll of Honour included two of the 1930s captains: Flight-Lieutenant F.G.H. “Gerry” Chalk and Lieutenant-Commander G.B. Legge.
The Second World War deprived many of the playing staff of what may well have been their peak performance years and the performance of the side reflected this in the two decades immediately following.
The nucleus of the first eleven in those early post war years was made up of the players from the immediate pre-war years, notably Leslie Ames, Arthur Fagg, Leslie Todd, Bryan Valentine and Douglas Wright, all of whom were getting on in years.
Of the amateurs who remained, only J.G.W. Davies (apart from Valentine) commanded a regular place in the side. But there were some useful newcomers, notably Godfrey Evans, who was to become the world’s leading wicket-keeper – and no mean batsman – and Fred Ridgway an opening bowler of considerable pace who took almost 1,000 wickets between 1946 and 1960.
Despite the shortage of top class players, the County finished in sixth place in 1946 and was fourth in 1947.
Thereafter, the highest position attained between then and 1964, when a gradual recovery began, was eighth in 1958.
But there was much entertaining cricket and many personal milestones to bring pride and satisfaction to the vast crowds who supported cricket in those years immediately after the war.
In 1946 the total paid attendance topped 125,000 and in 1948 for the match against the Australians which lasted only two days, the crowds at the ‘St. Lawrence Ground’ were estimated to be 19,000 and 25,000.
There was no more entertaining sight than Godfrey Evans keeping to the bowling of Doug Wright, the nimble footwork against the spinners of Leslie Ames, the running between the wickets of Evans and amateur Tony Pawson.
The personal milestones in this otherwise barren period included Ames’ hundredth hundred in 1950 at the age of 44, Wright exceeding 2,000 first-class wickets, and his appointment as Kent’s first professional captain, Arthur Fagg scoring more than 2,000 runs in four of the five early post-war seasons, and Todd reaching a career 20,000 runs.
Colin Cowdrey, the youngest ever Kent player at the age of 18 to be awarded a county cap, he was an established England player by the time he was 22.
He captained Kent for 15 seasons, until 1971 when approaching his 40th year.
It was around the mid-1950s that things started to change for the County. Although the playing record showed no significant improvement, happenings off the field were to have a dramatic effect on the Club’s fortunes and performance.
Not least was the appointment of Ames as secretary/manager, Colin Page as coach and then the appointment in 1957 of Colin Cowdrey as Captain.
This triumvirate brought together an outstanding, talented and formidable side which was to dominate the County Championship and newly created one-day competitions throughout the sixties and seventies.
Until this point every captain of the county had been an amateur.
Wright replaced William Murray-Wood in August 1953 as captain and was appointed formally after amateur Tony Pawson, the Kent Committee’s preferred choice, declined the position.
The great Don Bradman said he was “the best leg-spinner to tour Australia since Sydney Barnes”.
The first recorded women’s match at Canterbury took place on 22 June.
Kent defeated the Women’s Cricket Association XI by eight wickets, and boasted a side including: Cecilia Robinson, the first person born in Canterbury to play Test cricket, and Ruth Westbrook, Women’s Test cricketer that coached England Women to World Cup glory in 1993.
In front of a full-house at Lord’s, Colin Cowdrey’s Kent side won their first trophy in limited overs competition by lifting the Gillette Cup on 2 September.
Defeating Somerset by 32 runs, Brian Luckhurst top scored for Kent with 54, before Derek Underwood laid waste to Somerset’s lower middle-order, finishing the match with figures of 3/41.
In the 13 seasons between 1967 and 1979, eleven trophies were won.
The success in the Gillette Cup in 1967, was followed by the County Championship in 1970, in Kent Cricket’s Centenary Year.
Successes followed with the John Player League in 1972, a double success with the Benson & Hedges Cup and the John Player League in 1973, the Gillette Cup again in 1974, a further double of the Benson & Hedges Cup and the John Player League again in 1976, the County Championship once more in 1977, the Championship again the following year, to which was added the Benson & Hedges Cup.
In those same years, the runners-up spot was achieved in the Championship in 1967, 1968 and 1972; in the John Player League in 1970 and 1979, and the County were losing finalists in the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1977 and in the Gillette Cup in 1971.
During this time, Kent were able to field a side which would have compared well with any World XI.
Playing for England were Cowdrey (21 Test Caps in this time), Denness (28), Knott (89), Luckhurst (21) Underwood (72) and Woolmer (15). Asif Iqbal won 40 caps playing for Pakistan, whilst Bernard Julien (24) and John Shepherd (5) were West Indian stars.
It may well be that, had it not been for this level of Test calls, Kent could have matched the achievements of Yorkshire, who dominated the Championship in the inter-war years, and Surrey, who did so in the 1950s. But it says much for the team spirit and talent that, having been deprived of these players through Test calls, those from the 2nd X1 were able to meet the challenge and ensure sustained success for so long. Another source of pride over this period was the amount of talent which came from within the County.
A further feature was the level of support which the Club enjoyed in this period and the respect won by the players not only in the County but in the much wider world.
Spectators remember joining queues in the early morning outside the ‘St. Lawrence Ground’ not just to gain a good vantage point from which to view the match, but to ensure entry before the gates were closed!
A close examination of the records of some who played a major part in the successes of “The Glory Years” justifies favourable comparison with those of that earlier period of success. Derek Underwood’s 2,224 first-class wickets, the 26,000 runs of Mike Denness and the 22,200 of Brian Luckhurst, making them the finest opening partnership in the County’s history, Colin Cowdrey’s 42,700 during which he became the third Kent player to complete a century of centuries, Alan Knott’s 1,260 wicket- keeping dismissals and 17,400 runs with an average of 30.47, and the all-round abilities of Graham Johnson, Asif Iqbal, Bernard Julien, John Shepherd, Bob Woolmer and Chris Cowdrey.
Particularly, it was the abilities of the all-rounders that were such an important factor in the success of this period.
In one other respect, the team gained a deserved reputation: in the field there was no more outstanding a side, and if one person shone through more than the others, and thrilled the crowd with his outfielding which had such an impact, it was Alan Ealham who led the side in 1978, the last time Kent won the Championship.
In those years of success there were more than 50 instances of batsmen scoring in excess of 1,000 runs per season, yet only 8 instances of bowlers exceeding 100 wickets in a season – a much harder game for them on covered wickets!
Yet it would be invidious to compare the talent of those who played such an important part in the successes of the 1960s and 1970s with that of the years when the Championship was won before the First World War, given the intense pressures under which the players found themselves in the latter period compared to that of the early part of the 20th Century.
Although there were three Championship successes, it was in the limited overs competitions that the teams of the time enjoyed such success. The Gillette Cup (now the Royal London Cup) was won twice, the Benson & Hedges Cup three times and the Sunday League also on three occasions.
In the three limited overs competitions from the start of what was the Gillette Cup in 1963 up to 1980, the County’s batsmen scored a total of 25 hundreds and there were well over 200 individual scores of more than 50.
The bowlers emphasised the all-round abilities of the side, with four wickets in an innings being taken on almost 100 occasions with 5 in an innings 15 times.
Outstanding among the batsmen was Brian Luckhurst, with 7 hundreds and 38 fifties, whilst among the bowlers, Derek Underwood took in excess of 450 wickets.
The best individual bowling performance for the County in this period was recorded by Alan Dixon in the match against Surrey in 1967 with a return of 7-15.
In 1975, Colin Cowdrey announced that it would be his last season of first class cricket. He had played for 26 seasons and had led the side for 15 of them, the final years with great success.
In his last season he was responsible for Kent’s first victory against the Australians in more than 75 years. Accepting the challenge of scoring 354 runs in the final innings at more than a run a minute, he finished on 151 not out, a knock described in the 1976 Annual as “an impeccable and chanceless display of batting which will long be remembered.”
Kent went on to be joint winners of the County Championship that year, with Asif Iqbal also captaining Pakistan concurrently.
Kent Women contest their first List A match in the Women’s Area Championship at Lyminge against Sussex, playing twice a year until expansion in 1986.
Despite the lack of team success, there were a number of outstanding individual performances. New record partnerships were created for the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth wickets involving Mark Benson, Chris Tavaré, Simon Hinks, Aravinda de Silva, Graham Cowdrey, Mark Ealham and Paul Strang, Neil Taylor scored his thirteenth first-class century at Canterbury (a record), Matthew Walker’s record score of 275 at Canterbury, Dean Headley taking three hat tricks in a season to equal the world record with a Martin McCague hat trick as well in one of those matches.
Runners-up in the County Championship in 1988, 1992 and 1997, in the Natwest Trophy in 1983 and 1984, the Sunday League in 1993 and 1997 and in the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1986, 1992, 1995 and 1997.
The Sunday League title was won in 1995, but that achievement was overshadowed by bottom place in the Championship.
But although there were so many ‘near misses’, the performance of the side over this period should not be dismissed as a failure.
To finish runners-up on eleven occasions in the four competitions at a time when the pressures and demands on players have been increasing to such an extent, is no mean achievement.
On 6 September, Kent win the Women’s Area Championship one-day competition for the first time, contesting the final against West Women at Harrow School.
Anne Stuart scored 99 opening the batting, and Julie May took 3/17, on Kent Women’s way to an 89-run win.
Although being the last county to adopt a nickname in the limited overs format, the Kent Spitfires were born ahead of the 1999 season, taking their name from one of the fighter planes that patrolled the skies over the County during the Second World War.
Kent’s first trophy win since 1995, the 2001 edition of the “National League” (today’s Royal London Cup) saw Kent lift the trophy for the fifth time in their history.
Paceman Martin Saggers starred in the tournament with 25 wickets from 13 matches at an average of only 16.56.
James Hockley was the Spitfires’ top-run scorer in the tournament, with 403 in 14 matches at 31.00, whilst captain Matthew Fleming averaged 34.50, scoring 345 runs in total, with 125 against Northamptonshire in Canterbury.
This was Kent’s first trophy win under the ‘Spitfires’ name.
The County Ground, Beckenham hosted Kent’s first ever foray into T20 cricket when they hosted a clash between Kent Spitfires and Hampshire Hawks on 16 June.
The Spitfires won by 6 wickets, with best figures of 2/31 from Matt Dennington and Andrew Symonds hitting a huge score of 96 not out from only 37 balls, with 14 fours and three sixes.
Symonds scored Kent’s first T20 century in 2004, scoring 112 runs against Middlesex at Maidstone in 34 balls, at the time a record for the fastest century in T20 cricket.
Weakened by fungus, the trunk of the famous Lime Tree at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence was broken in two by high winds on 8 January.
It is not known when the original tree was planted, but it was fully grown by 1847, when the ‘St Lawrence Ground’ was opened.
The cricket ground was built around the tree, which was located within the boundary ropes. As a result of the St Lawrence Ground being the only first-class ground with a tree in the playing area, special laws were enacted regarding the tree.
These laws may have been instigated pre-1910 where a Hampshire County Cricket Club batsman was claimed to be caught by a Kent County Cricket Club fielder off the tree. The laws stated that if the ball hit the tree, it was scored as a four even if it would have gone on to score six otherwise and no batsman could be caught out from a rebound off the tree.
It was viewed as a challenge to hit a ball over the tree; only four batsmen, Arthur Watson, Learie Constantine, Jim Smith and Carl Hooper, managed it.
After five wins and one no-result, an undefeated Kent Women side won their first ever County Championship title.
Charlotte Edwards was the tournament’s second highest run-scorer, with 335 runs in only four innings, including 139 against Lancashire at Beckenham.
Edwards was also the tournament’s highest wicket-taker, with 12 at 13.25.
Kent claimed only their third domestic title in 29 years with a thrilling four-wicket victory in an action-packed and controversial Twenty20 final against Gloucestershire.
Needing 13 off the final over, Darren Stevens crunched two boundaries off an overawed Carl Greenidge, but in chaotic scenes there was confusion over if the match had actually been won.
Appearances at Finals Day in 2007 and 2008 resulted in the Trophy coming to Canterbury in 2007 with runners-up spot the following year.
A Quarter Final appearance at the St Lawrence ground in 2009 saw the County make it three finals in a row in front of the biggest crowd since 1993 but unfortunately on this occasion the team was defeated in the semi-final by Somerset.
Although a second T20 Finals Day appearance in 2008 was a great achievement, defeat by Middlesex in the Final off the last ball.
2009 saw the County bounce straight back to the First Division of the Championship after relegation the year previously.
After setting the pace from the start of the season in Division Two, they finished with eight wins from their sixteen matches.
On 29 September Kent played the first county Women’s T20 matches at Reading against Sussex and Surrey after winning a third 50 over County Championship title earlier that summer.
On 4 September, Kent beat Berkshire at Beckenham to seal their first domestic ‘Women’s double’ and fourth County Championship.
Kent also won their first Women’s National T20 title, beating Berkshire by eight wickets at Shenley.
Laura Marsh top-scored for Kent in the tournament with 167 in six matches, averaging 33.40, whilst Alice Davidson-Richards topped “The Horses”‘ wicket-taking charts with 12 at only 10.25.
In December, Kent became the first county to have a single body for the development of all cricket from grassroots to elite level.
The new-look Community Cricket Department led by Community Cricket Director Andy Griffiths were tasked with working towards a single strategy for the development of the game across the county.
The change of approach allowed the Club to accelerate the pace of progress across all aspects of the game, with an objective to deliver an increase in participation, an improved cricketing infrastructure, more efficient talent identification and development, and an increase in attendance at Kent matches.
With a team made-up largely of the successful 2011 side, Kent Women clinched another domestic double with County Championship & National T20 wins in 2016.
After eight years in Division Two, Kent Cricket secure promotion back to the First Division in first-class cricket, finishing in second position of Division Two after 75 wickets from overseas signing Matt Henry helped propel Kent back into the first division.
Kent’s 150th Year celebrations were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Instead of the County Championship, the 18 first-class counties contested a one-off Bob Willis Trophy, alongside the Vitality Blast.
Kent Women stars, past and present, were awarded County Caps in recognition of outstanding performances for club and country in their careers.
Women’s cricket in England was restructured, creating eight new ‘regional hub’ teams, with the intention of playing both 50-over and 20-over cricket.
South East Stars were one of the sides created under this structure, effectively replacing the Women’s Cricket Super League team Surrey Stars and representing the London & South East region, partnering with Surrey and Kent.
Kent Spitfires ended their 14-year wait for a piece of silverware as they beat Somerset by 25 runs to win the Vitality Blast 2021.
Homegrown 20-year-old Jordan Cox smashed 58 in 28 balls to fire the Spitfires over par with 167 for seven.
Cox’s outstanding fielding and spin twins Joe Denly and Qais Ahmed’s shared five for 50 stopped Somerset short and handed Kent their first Blast trophy since 2007.
Kent ended a run of eight consecutive defeats in one-day finals as they overcame favourites Lancashire to win the Royal London Cup decider at Trent Bridge.
Joey Evison, the 20-year-old all-rounder playing on what was still his home ground ahead of his move from Nottinghamshire to Kent, scored a brilliant 97, took two for 29 and held one of a number of excellent catches by his team.
Stand-in Captain Joe Denly lifted the trophy for Kent on what was Darren Stevens’ final appearance in a Kent shirt.
On 12 October 2023, Daniel Bell-Drummond was named the 36th Club Captain, and the first of Caribbean descent in Kent Cricket’s history.
Kent Cricket Captains from 1870: Name First Year Last Year Lord Harris 1875 1889 Frank Marchant with William Patterson at times 1890 1897 Jack Mason 1898 1902 Cuthbert Burnup 1903 C. H. B. Marsham 1904 1908 Ted Dillon 1909 1913 Lionel Troughton 1914 1923 Stanley Cornwallis 1924 1926 John Evans 1927 Geoffrey Legge 1928 1930 Percy Chapman and Bryan Valentine 1931 1935 Percy Chapman, Ian Akers-Douglas and Bryan Valentine 1936 Ronnie Bryan and Bryan Valentine 1937 Gerry Chalk 1938 1939 Bryan Valentine 1946 1948 David Clark 1949 1951 William Murray-Wood 1952 1953 Doug Wright 1953 1956 Colin Cowdrey 1957 1971 Mike Denness 1972 1976 Asif Iqbal 1977 Alan Ealham 1978 1980 Asif Iqbal 1981 1982 Chris Tavaré 1983 1984 Chris Cowdrey 1985 1990 Mark Benson 1991 1996 Steve Marsh 1996 1998 Matthew Fleming 1999 2002 David Fulton 2003 2005 Robert Key 2006 2012 James Tredwell 2013 Robert Key 2014 2015 Sam Northeast 2016 2017 Sam Billings 2018 2023 Daniel Bell-Drummond 2023 Present
Aidan Merivale Crawley
Alan Campbell Shirreff
Alan Edward Watt
Alan George Ernest Ealham
Alan Leonard Dixon
Alan Paul Igglesden
Alan Peter Wells
Alan Philip Eric Knott
Albert Charles Wright
Albert James Thornton
Alfred John Evans
Alfred Percy ‘Tich’ Freeman
Anthony Waldron Catt
Anthony William Haward Mallett
Arthur Edward Fagg
Arthur Frederic Bickmore
Arthur Henry Phebey
Arthur Houssemayne DuBoulay
Arthur Percival Day
Arthur Percy Frank Chapman
Squad No. 11
Squad No. 21
Ben James Trott