Match Preview: Essex v Kent Spitfires


Essex v Kent Spitfires

Vitality Blast
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm

After the resumption of the Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground was kiboshed by a washout against Somerset, Essex will hope for better weather when Kent visit Chelmsford on Thursday.

Persistent rain put paid to any possibility of play against the West Country side last Friday, before the Eagles were defeated by Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens on Sunday.

The one point from the weekend’s two matches did not damage Anthony McGrath’s side from a standings point of view too much, with fourth place still Essex’s own.

Now, with the run-in looming large and quarter-final qualification the primary aim, the penultimate home game of the season for the Eagles is the eye-catching Battle of the Bridge.


Head Coach McGrath has named a 14-player squad which includes the welcomed return of Sam Cook following an injury and Eathan Bosch who is in line to make his T20 debut for the Club.

The Inside Line: Sam Cook

The Opposition

Despite winning this competition for the second time only three years ago, Kent have largely found themselves in the doldrums this season, as they currently lie eighth, five points off the quarter-final spots.

They did begin with a crushing 98-run win over Middlesex – played at The Cloud County Ground – but since then, have tasted victory just twice more, including a run of five without a win.

That has contributed to their being just one place off the bottom, though a narrow DLS win over Gloucestershire on Friday at least brought those five consecutive losses to an end.

Captain Sam Billings has led from the front with his 315 runs at 35.00 putting him in top spot, while leg-spinner Matt Parkinson’s 11 wickets make him the Spitfires’ most potent bowler.

Kent Spitfires squad: Sam Billings*, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joey Evison, Harry Finch, George Garrett, Nathan Gilchrist, Jack Leaning, Tawanda Muyeye, Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Parkinson, Tom Rogers, Ekansh Singh, Jas Singh, Grant Stewart.

Last Time We Met

Essex sealed a professional five-wicket victory the last time the sides met, at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence in this season’s reverse fixture a little under three weeks ago.

After Kent were invited to bat first, the trio of Simon Harmer, Ben Allison, and Matt Critchley all took two wickets each as the hosts were restricted to 156-7, with Sam Billings’ 38 off 20 the only score above 25.

Michael Pepper then blazed 76 off just 42 deliveries, with his knock including eight fours and four sixes, as despite Nathan Gilchrist’s three scalps, the Eagles knocked the target off with five overs to spare.

The match was Paul Walter’s 100th T20 for Essex, while the two wickets that Harmer took, those of Tawanda Muyeye and Marcus O’Riordan – both bowled – took him to a century of Essex T20 scalps.

South Group Table

How To Watch

If you are not able to make it to The Cloud County Ground, the match will be live-streamed on the EssexCricketTV YouTube channel and will be available to watch through the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

A report will be published on the Club website at the conclusion of the game, while live updates and highlights will be provided on the Essex Cricket social media channels.


There is extremely limited availability but a few tickets do remain, with prices starting at £30 for adults, £25 for young adults and students, and £7 for juniors.

The Kenton Group Stand at the Graham Gooch End of the ground is the designated family stand for this year’s Vitality Blast, with blocks 27-29 being alcohol-free and blocks 30 & 31 being the alcohol-tolerant family area.

The remaining tickets for tonight’s game are available on this link:

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

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex are now back in Vitality Blast action for 2024.

With the Eagles sitting in fourth, and firmly in contention for another knockout match as the group stage reaches its climax, demand for tickets remains exceptionally high.

As Essex continue to aim towards going one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here