Match Preview: Kent v Essex


Kent v Essex

Vitality County Championship
The Spitfire Ground St Lawrence, Canterbury
Friday 24 – Monday 27 May 2024, 11am start

Having secured an against-the-odds final-day victory over Warwickshire earlier this week, Essex head to rivals Kent in their final Vitality County Championship game before the Blast break.

Despite conceding a 235-run first-innings deficit against the Bears, Anthony McGrath’s side battled back to bowl the visitors out for a meagre 94 in their second dig.

That set the Eagles 330 to win, still a daunting target but one they achieved with simplicity, as Jordan Cox hit 112, Matt Critchley made an unbeaten 99, and Simon Harmer finished it off at the end.

The result kept Essex’s title ambitions alive, with the side now sitting third in the Division One table, 22 points off defending champions Surrey and just four behind second-placed Somerset.

Now, the return fixture against neighbours Kent beckons, with the Battle of the Bridge bragging rights still on the line following a draw at The Cloud County Ground six weeks ago.

It will be the final opportunity for Essex to gain precious Championship points before the competition breaks for the Vitality Blast, with no further red-ball action for the Eagles after Monday until 23 June.


The Opposition

After escaping relegation on the final day of 2023 by just seven points, Kent have again found themselves in a scrap at the wrong end of Division One.

The Canterbury outfit have won just one of their six matches so far this season, a seven-wicket victory over the only side below them in the table, Lancashire.

Their main problem has again been a lack of bowling penetration; not one member of the Kent attack has an average below 32, and all but three are taking their wickets at more than 40 apiece.

Matt Parkinson, a winter transfer from the Red Rose, is the county’s leading wicket-taker with 16, but his scalps have come at an expensive average of 49.81.

Meanwhile, Wes Agar and Nathan Gilchrist have had a little more joy, being two of the trio to average below 40 while taking 12 and 13 wickets, respectively.

Batting has been a little easier, with new captain Daniel Bell-Drummond’s 602 runs at 60.20 leading the way, while Joe Denly has amassed 429 at 39.00 and Ben Compton has ground out 387 at 32.25.

Kent squad: Daniel Bell-Drummond*, Wes Agar, Arafat Bhuiyan, Ben Compton, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Joey Evison, Harry Finch, Jack Leaning, Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Parkinson, Grant Stewart

Last Time We Met

There is no deep trip into the history books required to find the last time Essex met their biggest rivals in the red-ball arena, with this already being the second clash between the sides this season.

In the second Championship game of 2024, and the first at The Cloud County Ground, the Eagles dominated for three days but were ultimately denied by both a visiting rearguard and the weather.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, the hosts racked up a mammoth 530-7 declared, with Matt Critchley’s 151 not out leading the way and Dean Elgar making his first ton in Essex colours with 120.

Former Kent man Jordan Cox also posted 67, his second fifty in three innings, before his old side fought back as Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ben Compton both posted hundreds in their 413 all out.

Nathan Gilchrist’s frustrating 41 steered Kent past the follow-on target, a crucial act as, despite Cox then blitzing an eye-watering unbeaten 89-ball 116, the final-day forecast was alarming.

Cox’s stunning innings had helped the hosts to 257-4 declared, setting Kent 375 to win, but a truncated final day left Essex able to take only seven of the required ten wickets, forcing them to settle for a draw.

Division One Table

How To Watch

If you are not making the journey across the Dartford Bridge in person, the game will be streamed live on the EssexCricketTV YouTube channel and available to watch via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

A report will be published on the Club website after each day’s play, while live updates and daily highlights will be provided on the Club’s social media channels.


For anyone joining the Eagles in Canterbury, tickets for the majority of the ground are priced at £16 for adults, £7 for those aged 14-17, and £5 for 5-13-year-olds, with under-5s not requiring a ticket.

The exception is the upper tier of the Frank Woolley Stand, located behind the bowler’s arm at the Pavilion End of the ground, in which tickets are available at £5 extra on all the above prices – though under-5s remain free.

All seating is unreserved, and tickets can be purchased by visiting the link below:

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex return to shortest-format action in Chelmsford from Sunday 02 June.

Demand remains exceptionally high, and there are now only 15% of tickets remaining across all seven home fixtures, with two already sold out.

With the Eagles aiming to go one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Sunday 02 June, 4:00pm: Essex v Middlesex – buy here
Friday 07 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Glamorgan – buy here (LAST FEW TICKETS)
Friday 14 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Sussex Sharks – SOLD OUT
Thursday 20 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Hampshire Hawks – buy here
Friday 05 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Somerset – SOLD OUT
Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here