Match Preview: Essex v Kent



After the manic madness of Vitality Blast Finals Day on Saturday, a more sedate four days beckon at Chelmsford from tomorrow, as the LV= Insurance County Championship makes its return to The Cloud County Ground.

Neighbours Kent, connected across the Thames by the Dartford Bridge, are the visitors for the first dose of home Championship cricket for Essex since a win over Warwickshire all of three weeks ago.

That had followed a 196-run home triumph over Somerset a fortnight before, and Anthony McGrath’s men have since made it three on the bounce with a nerve-shredding 46-run win against Lancashire in Blackpool last week.

Needing 430 to win on the final day, Lancashire went close through Rob Jones’ century, but with just ten balls of the day remaining, Jones nicked Doug Bracewell to Lawrence at slip and sent Essex up to second in Division One.

McGrath’s side now trail leaders Surrey by just 13 points with five matches remaining, but next opponents Kent are having a far tougher time of it this season, sitting eighth and just 11 points above the drop zone.



Essex have named a 14-man squad for this fixture, with Adam Rossington returning to be the sole addition to an otherwise unchanged group.

Dan Lawrence will take part in the game from the beginning of Day Two following his commitments with England on the first morning of the fourth Ashes Test in Manchester.

The Opposition:

Kent squad: Jack Leaning (c), Arafat Bhuiyan, Arshdeep Singh, Ben Compton, Jordan Cox, Joe Denly, Joey Evison, Harry Finch, Hamid Qadri, Tawanda Muyeye, Matt Quinn, Grant Stewart.

Kent’s last match, at the time of Essex’s sterling victory on the Fylde coast, was a humbling home defeat to Warwickshire by an innings and 46 runs.

Despite that crushing loss, in their previous outing prior to that it was the Canterbury outfit that dished out a thrashing, as they saw off fellow strugglers Northamptonshire at Wantage Road by an innings and 15 runs.

However, it is their clash with Surrey a month ago that will stick in the memory, the most with the Brown Caps successfully chasing 500 in the fourth innings, the second-highest County Championship run chase in history.

The visitors are shorn of the injured Daniel Bell-Drummond, who has hit 490 runs this season, with the onus instead now on Ben Compton (501 at 33.40), Joey Evison (410 at 34.16), and Tawanda Muyeye (409 at 45.44).

Furthermore, Kent are also without leading wicket-taker Wes Agar, who has returned to Australia, and the weight on Matt Quinn’s (14 wickets at 28.14) and Evison’s (14 at 42.21) respective shoulders is now somewhat heavier.

Division One Standings:

CC_League Table

Last Time We Met:

The most recent First-Class edition of the Battle of the Bridge came at Canterbury in April this year, with the match ending in a rain-affected draw despite Tom Westley and Nick Browne both hitting sparkling centuries.

Opting to bat first, the visitors piled up 451/5 before declaring with maximum batting points, as Browne amassed 159 and Westley plundered 148, with the duo putting on 265 for the second wicket.

Michael Pepper also contributed with a fluent run-a-ball 52 and Alastair Cook forewent his usual conservative style to notch a 30-ball 39, as Agar and on-loan Surrey bowler Conor McKerr took two wickets apiece.

In reply, England opener Zak Crawley hit 170 but received little support, with Compton’s 46 the hosts’ next highest score as Simon Harmer took four wickets, though the weather put paid to any chance of a positive result.

Kent CCC vs Essex CCC 22-04-23 - 02414

Essex’s previous visit to the Spitfire Ground before that, in September last year, was considerably more productive as they came away with 23 points off the back of an innings-and-260-run win.
Feroze Khushi struck 164, while Cook (78), Westley (54), Matt Critchley (90), and Ben Allison (53) all made half-centuries as the visitors racked up 573 all out.

Allison then continued his impressive showing with figures of 4-40 in Kent’s first innings and Sam Cook picked up three of his own as the visitors, having totalled just 164, were made to follow on at 409 runs in arrears.

From that point on, though, it was the Little Chef show, as Cook the seamer precipitated another home collapse with figures of 7-33, completing a match haul of 10-60, to bowl Kent out for 149 and complete a crushing win.

How To Watch:

If you are unable to make it to The Cloud County Ground in person, all four days will be streamed live and available to watch via the Essex Cricket Matchzone or on the Essex Cricket TV YouTube channel.

Live updates will also be provided on the Club’s own social media channels, while highlights will be available after each day’s play via the Essex Cricket website and social channels too.


Members need only to show their valid card at the gate to gain entry for any and all of the four days, while all general admission tickets to LV= Insurance County Championship matches are on an unreserved basis.

These are priced at £14 for adults if bought in advance, or £17 at the gate on the day, while young adults aged between 18 and 25 can buy at any time for £11, and under-18 tickets cost just £5.

In addition, tickets are now on sale for Essex’s four home games in this season’s Metro Bank One-Day Cup, with McGrath’s men set to welcome Notts Outlaws, Middlesex, Yorkshire Vikings, and Surrey to Chelmsford, while England Women will visit in September for an IT20 clash against Sri Lanka.

All tickets can be purchased by visiting the link below: