Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Essex Eagles


Kent Spitfires v Essex Eagles

Vitality Blast
Sunday 20 June
2:30pm start


Essex Eagles cross the water to take on Kent Spitfires in the Vitality Blast on Sunday at Canterbury for the latest chapter in the Battle of the Bridge.

The Spitfires have proved early pacesetters in the competition and go into Sunday’s contest having made an impressive start winning four of their five matches so far. Their latest success came in Cardiff when pace bowler Matt Milnes returned figures of 5/22 as the visitors successfully defended a total of 144-7 to win by 40 runs with Glamorgan bowled out for 104.

The Eagles have recorded one victory, three defeats and a total washout from their five fixtures so far. Due to meet Gloucestershire at The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday night, persistent rain throughout the day caused the match to be called off.



Kent Spitfires Squad:
Bell-Drummond (c), Billings (wk), Blake, Cox, Crawley, Denly, Gilchrist, Klaassen, Leaning, Logan, Milnes, Ahmad, Robinson, Stevens, Stewart.

McGrath’s View:

Head Coach Anthony McGrath admits that the form of the Eagles has been frustrating so far.

“After the excellent win against Somerset, we were hoping to use that as a platform for further successes in order that we could be amongst the pacesetters but obviously that has not happened and of course that’s frustrating for everyone,” he acknowledged.

“The main problem has been the lack of runs but we’ve now got Dan Lawrence back and so that should help.

“The teams that are winning games are seeing batters in their top four or five getting 70’s or 80’s and we haven’t had that. I don’t think anyone of our batters is really out of nick, there’s been some nice 20’s and 30’s, but we just need that match-winning performance from someone to galvanise the rest of the order.

“With 20 overs being such a short game, you need someone to step forward to give you that match-winning contribution.

“Obviously, things have not gone the way we would have hoped for. We’ve now had five matches and collected three points and that’s identical to the record we had at this stage in 2019 when we went on to win the competition so that does show that we still have a great opportunity to turn things around.

“There are plenty of games left and plenty of points to play for and hopefully, we can get a good run going and start putting points on the board to get us up the table.”

Injury/Absentees News:

Adam Wheater is named in the 14-man squad having not played since suffering a side strain in the opening match of the competition when the Eagles met Somerset at Taunton on June 9th.


Coach: Matt Walker
Captain: Daniel Bell-Drummond
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Daniel Bell-Drummond (423 @ 42.3)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Fred Klaassen (13 @ 28.76)
Overseas players: Qais Ahmed

Key Man: Fred Klaassen

English-born Dutch international Fred Klaassen has been amongst the wickets this year in T20 cricket. The left arm medium-fast bowler has 9 victims thus far @ 16.55 and an economy rate of 7.84.

Flies under the radar: Jack Leaning

The third-highest scorer last time out, he took 4/16 in a second XI warm-up against the Eagles and after a tough start seems to be improving with every week.

Blast Expectations:

The switch to the white-ball will come as a relief for a side bottom of their LV= Insurance County Championship group, despite Walker’s pre-season statement that this was the most excited he’d been about a group of players for a long time.

The 45-year-old Darren Stevens hasn’t played T20 for two years, but brings the kind of experience that might just see the Spitfires over the line, having hit the winning runs when Kent Spitfires won the tournament in 2007 – the last time they lifted the trophy.


When the teams met at the St. Lawrence Ground last year, the Spitfires emerged with a four wickets success with two deliveries to spare after Grant Stewart sealed the match with a six off a Jack Plom full toss.

Cameron Delport and Tom Westley got the Eagles off to an excellent start with 50 in 29 balls but the loss of Westley for 39 brought the downfall of three more wickets quickly including Delport for 28.

It was left to Ryan ten Doeschate to oversee the remainder of the innings posting a 32-ball half-century as the visitors closed on 167-9.

In reply, Kent Spitfires lost half their side for 80 with Plom enjoying figures of 3/10 at one stage but Alex Blake and Jack Leaning added 67 in 7.2 overs and nine runs were required from the final over.

Leaning found the boundary to reach an unbeaten 55 before a single passed the strike to Stewart who struck the winning blow.

The Eagles have won 15 and lost 18 of the 34 T20 matches between the two teams with one match abandoned.

How To Watch:

There will be a Live Stream service from Canterbury, which will be broadcasting ahead of play from 2:30 via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

Access via the Essex Cricket Matchzone is available here.