A Thorn in Essex’s Side


As the counties wait in hope for the opportunity to resume cricket activity, Essex will be guardedly eyeing any fixture list that might give Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens the opportunity to add to his success story in battles between the two old adversaries.

He has been a constant thorn in the Essex side for many a year producing a string of successful performances with both bat and ball across all three formats of the game that has made him the doughtiest of opponents.

If there is one player to have caused consternation and trepidation to Essex, it is the prospect of locking horns once more with the veteran who is now 44-year-old. And his career is littered with a host of sparkling performances in combat particularly against Essex in whom he seems to have a particular penchant for achievement with both bat and ball.

He issued a notice of intent in his fourth appearance against them in 2003 when he scored 149 at Southchurch Park, Southend when opening the innings for Leicestershire, his former employers ahead of a move to Kent.

And the switch of counties in 2005 brought further glories against Essex for the dependable and formidable stalwart. In 21 first-class matches, Stevens has struck 7 centuries and five half-centuries; four of his hundreds being achieved in front of the Chelmsford crowd.

Across all formats, he has aggregated more than 2,400 runs and he has also caused batsmen problems and headaches having claimed 70 wickets.

Arguably, his most memorable personal effort with the bat came in May 2012 at the County Ground. Kent had capitulated to 9 for 5 when Stevens was joined by Geraint Jones with his side deep in the mire and with the statisticians scrambling amongst record books in search of Kent’s lowest Championship score.

For those anoraks, Stevens ensured it was to be a futile effort when, making light of the parlous situation, he orchestrated a partnership worth 194 runs before the stand was broken by Charl Willoughby.

By then, Stevens had scored 119 as Kent went on to reach 225 all out.

Just one of many memorable Darren Stevens moments that have served to haunt Essex.