Match Report: Kent v Essex


Kent v Essex

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


Team News:

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

Essex: Nick Browne, Dean Elgar, Tom Westley*, Jordan Cox, Matt Critchley, Michael Pepper+, Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Match Details:

Umpires: Tom Lungley & Mark Newell
Match Referee: Jason Swift
Toss: Essex won the toss and elected to bat
Result: Essex won by an innings and 96 runs

Scorecard: View Here

Day Four Highlights

Day Four Report

Essex have routed Kent by an innings and 96 runs in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury.

Simon Harmer took four for 32 and Shane Snater three for 15 as the visitors skittled Kent for 109 in their second innings, to cut the gap to championship leaders Surrey to just two points.

Joe Denly’s 23 was Kent’s highest score and the hosts are destined to finish this round of fixtures at the bottom of the Division One table if Lancashire avoid defeat against Warwickshire at Old Trafford.

Kent were 197 behind going into the final day and home fans were hoping that a combination of the grit shown on day three and a biblical weather forecast might see them escape with a draw.

They were severely disappointed. There was torrential rain almost everywhere else in the county but play began on time and Kent endured a gruesome morning session, the tone for which was set when Zak Crawley survived just four balls before he was lbw to Snater.

Essex threw the ball to Harmer after just 12 overs and he struck with his third delivery to get Ben Compton lbw for 12. Marcus O’Riordan was next to go, making nine from 25 balls before Harmer had him caught at short leg by Nick Browne.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Matt Critchley for 20 in the next over, the 20th and Harry Finch inexplicably tried to reverse sweep Harmer while on 4 and was lbw, although in mitigation he seemed to have been hit outside the line.
Kent were 64 for five at lunch, after which there was a mere 10-minute delay for rain.

Denly and Joey Evison at least offered some resistance, but having dealt with the spinners fairly comfortably Evison was lbw to Snater for 16. Snater then sent Grant Stewart’s off stump cartwheeling for one to claim his hundredth first class wicket for Essex.

Denly tried to drive Harmer but was caught by Aaron Beard for 23 and with Wes Agar unable to bat the victory was confirmed when Critchley got Parkinson lbw for 10 in the 58th over.

Day Three Highlights

Day Three Report

Kent fought back on day three of their Vitality County Championship derby with Essex on Canterbury, surviving till the final over of the day before they were after being bowled out for 349 in the final over.

Joe Denly 87 hit and Harry Finch 85 to boost the hosts’ chances of batting out a draw after they were dominated on the first two days.

Matt Critchley took five for 88, but Essex laboured without Sam Cook, who’d pulled up injured on day two.
The hosts’ morale had taken a battering on day two and they’d closed on 118 for four, still 473 in arrears, but they weren’t about to surrender without a fight.

Conditions were blustery and overcast at 11 am but the forecast rain failed to materialise and Denly and nightwatcher Matt Parkinson batted through the entire morning session.

There were occasional alarms, such as when Dean Elgar couldn’t cling on to a violently drive from Parkinson when he was on 31, but the spinner passed his previous first-class best of 39 with a single off Harmer and had made it to 45 at lunch, at which point Kent were 203 for four.

Denly then drove Snater for four to bring up his fifty, but Parkinson was denied a maiden red-ball 50 when Jamie Porter trapped him lbw.

Finch was on four when he pulled Beard to the boundary, but Critchley couldn’t pull off a tumbling catch and the drop proved expensive.

The only other wicket to fall in the session came when Denly, who looked destined for a century, misjudged a Critchley delivery and was caught by Aaron Beard at long on.

Successive byes from Critchley allowed Kent to get a third bonus point with four balls to spare in the 110th over and it was 302 for six at tea.

Finch glanced Beard for four to bring up his half-century and as the evening session dragged on Essex’s increasing frustration started to show with an embarrassing appeal for a catch against Joey Evison from a ball that had clearly been driven into the ground.

They finally broke through when Evison tried to sweep Tom Westley and was bowled for 29. Westley then had Finch lbw and with Wes Agar hurt after injuring his shoulder on day one Arafat Bhuiyan was sent out with Kent still 78 runs short of the follow on target and six overs remaining.

Grant Stewart played conservatively by his standards, but still managed to dump Westley for six over cow corner, only for Critchley to bowl Bhuiyan at 5:45pm, with two scheduled overs remaining.

Agar duly walked out needing to survive for three minutes to spare Kent an awkward over following on and he duly blocked out five balls to at least spare the hosts the dilemma of weather or not to send in a nightwatcher to open.

With the field in, Stewart then blasted Harmer for six in the day’s penultimate over, but Critchley pinned Agar lbw with the first ball of the last over, to set up a potentially fascinating final day.

Day Two Highlights

Day Two Report

Jordan Cox hit a double hundred for on his return to Canterbury as Essex dominated on day two of the Vitality County Championship game, declaring on 591-7 before they reducing Kent to 118-4 in reply.

Cox made a mammoth 207 on his first game back at the Spitfire Ground, in a 255-ball innings that included 21 fours and five sixes.

Shane Snater hit a career-best 83 not out and Michael Pepper made 82 before Matt Critchley took 2/19, including the key wicket of Kent’s top scorer Ben Compton, who made 41.

Joe Denly and nightwatcher Matt Parkinson were not out on four and 10 at stumps, with the hosts still trailing by 473.

With Essex on 287 for four overnight both sides felt the first hour would be crucial and it unfolded exactly as the majority of the crowd feared it would. It quickly became obvious this was going to be exactly the sort of day Kent supporters have endured too often this season and the news that Wes Agar was unable to bowl after injuring his shoulder yesterday did nothing to improve morale.

Cox had averaged just 24.06 in 2023, his final season for Kent, but he was averaging 66.66 coming into this game and having already scored a century in the fixture at Chelmsford there was an air of inevitability about his march to three figures this time round.

There was polite applause when he reached the landmark with a cover-driven four off Parkinson and he celebrated by gyrating his hips like a middle-aged uncle who’d accidentally wandered into a rave.

Kent then enjoyed a spasm of hope when they took two wickets in nine balls. The breakthrough came when Pepper slashed at Arafat Bhuiyan and was caught by the sub fielder Jaydn Denly at slip.

Simon Harmer then holed out to Parkinson for six, caught at the second attempt by a juggling sub fielder Joe Denly on the deep cover boundary, only for Snater to come in and joined Cox for the biggest partnership of the innings, taking Essex to 449 for six at lunch.

𝟖𝟑*Cox took a single off Bhuiyan to reach 150, then hit the same bowler for successive sixes, before Snater reached 50 with a single off Denly.

As Cox neared 200 Kent put every single fielder on the boundary, but he still found the backward square leg boundary to get to 199. The field duly came in and he drove Evison for a single, also bringing up Essex’s biggest seventh wicket partnership against Kent, beating the 152 set by Nadheem Shahid and Derek Pringle in 1992.

When Cox was finally bowled by Marcus O’Riordan Essex immediately declared and as much as it must have hurt the home fans to see a homegrown talent torment them, he walked off to applause from every section of the ground.

Zak Crawley immediately went on the attack, but he’d made just 16 from 12 balls when he edged Sam Cook to Dean Elgar at first slip.
Daniel Bell-Drummond was on 0 when he was dropped by Aaron Beard, but the fielder atoned when strangled Bell-Drummond for 16 in the penultimate over before tea, leaving the hosts on 48 for two at the end of the session.

Cook left the field after feeling his hamstring whilst bowling and is being assessed by the Club’s medical team. O’Riordan was Matt Critchley’s first wicket of the match after being out lbw for 30, .

Ben Compton marked his 15th scalp of the season, again lbw for 41, trying to sweep Critchley, leaving Matt Parkinson to come in as the nightwatcher with over five overs left, a dangerous spell which he just about survived.

Day One Highlights

Day One Report

Essex recovered from an early evening wobble to reach 287 for four at stumps on day one of the Vitality County Championship derby with Kent at Canterbury.

Openers Dean Elgar and Nick Browne scored 77 and 65 respectively, putting on 146 for the first wicket.

Joey Evison took two for 38 for a Kent attack weakened by injuries, but after reducing Essex to 224 for four, they were unable to shift either Jordan Cox or Michael Pepper, who were unbeaten on 51 and 35 at the close.

When Essex won the toss and chose to bat a collective groan was uttered by the Spitfire Ground die-hards, who came in hope rather than expectation.

A healthy first day crowd of 1,200 watched a one-sided first session unfold as an undercooked attack toiled.
Browne was on nought when he drove at Stewart and Joey Evison couldn’t cling on to a tough chance at mid-on, but that was about as close as Kent came during a sterile opening session.

The hosts’ morning was summed up when Dean Elgar reached 60 after a misfield from Zak Crawley, who sprinted 50 yards and clawed the ball back from the boundary, only for it to ricochet off his trailing arm and go back over the rope for four.

An already injury-hit bowling attack was weakened further when Wes Agar injured his shoulder while fielding just before lunch, at which point it was 102 for nought.

Browne reached 50 with two off Evison, but Matt Parkinson finally broke through in the 46th over, when Elgar charged down the wicket and was stumped by Harry Finch.

Evison then produced a beauty that swing back in and bowled Browne middle-stump, which meant it was time for Cox to walk out at the St. Lawrence for the first time since his cross-Thames flit last year.

He was given diplomatic applause, took ten balls to get off the mark and then hit Parkinson back over his head for six. At that point Cox looked like he was going to “go hard or go home”, but he reined himself in the face of some miserly Kent bowling and it was 185 for two at tea.

Tom Westley flashed at Arafat Bhuiyan and was caught at first slip by Crawley for 21, but Grant Stewart couldn’t hold on to a violent return catch offered by Cox when he was on 15.

Matt Critchley survived a strong lbw shot from Evison, only to be trapped in front by the same bowler in his next over for 13, but Kent opted not to take the new ball due to Agar’s ongoing absence.

Cox continued to play watchfully while Pepper injected some aggression to tilt the contest back in Essex’s favour. They made an unbroken stand of 63 during the day’s final hour and Cox brought up his half-century with successive fours off Parkinson in the final over.

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Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here