Match Report | Kent v Essex

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Kent v Essex | Specsavers County Championship | The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury

Kent team | Daniel Bell-Drummond (23), Sean Dickson (58), Joe Denly (6), Sam Northeast (17), Darren Stevens (3), Sam Billings† (7), Will Gidman (42), James Tredwell (15), Matt Coles (26), Mitchell Claydon (8), Hardus Viljoen (77)

Essex team | Varun Chopra (6), Nick Browne (10), Tom Westley* (21), Daniel Lawrence (28), Ravi Bopara (25), Adam Wheater† (-), Kishen Velani (8), Will Rhodes (-), David Masters (9), Paul Walter (22), Matt Dixon (30).

Umpires | Russell Evans & Graham Lloyds

Toss | Uncontested, Kent to bat

Day Four | Close of Play Report:

Champions Essex rounded off their season with a draw in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash against runners-up Kent at Canterbury.

It was a turgid afternoon’s play though as Kent reached 288 for 5 with Sam Northeast unbeaten on 178 before relief from what had become a drab encounter when the captains shook hands on the draw.

For Essex supporters, the chief attraction was the presentation of the Championship trophy, after matters on the field were concluded, with the champagne corks popping and with the full Essex squad in attendance.

At the start of the day and with the new ball taken immediately, the visitors had required a further three runs to avoid the follow-on. The last wicket pair of David Masters and Matt Dixon completed the task when Masters collected a single off the seventh ball of the day leaving Dixon to gather the 2 runs from the very next delivery.

However, having now carried the total onto 292, Dixon then picked out Mitch Claydon at mid-off to end his innings worth 14 runs and leaving Maters 9 not out in his final first-class innings.

Masters who started his career with Kent and recently announced his retirement from the game, was given a guard of honour when he went out to bat and later led the Essex team onto the field at the start of the final session of play.

With a lead of 149, Kent lost a wicket without a run on the board when they started their second innings with masters trapping Daniel Bell-Drummond in the crease.

Two more wickets fell by the time the total had reached 36. Will Rhodes accounted for Sean Dickson and Matt Dixn removed Joe Denly to collect his sixth wicket of the game.

Four runs later, Sam Billings steered a ball from Rhodes into the gloves of Adam Wheater but any hopes of an Essex win to end their tenure in the second tier of Championship cricket t were ended by Northeast.

First of all he teamed up with Darren Stevens for a stand of 63 and when Stevens fell to Masters with the help of a another catch by Wheater – the wicket-keeper’s sixth catch of the match – Will Gidman accompanied Northeast to an unbroken stand of 185 runs against the nine bowlers used by Tom Westley.

Northeast’s fifth first-class century of the summer and his second of the season against Essex spanned 119 balls with 15 boundaries and by the close, he had batted for 4 hours and ten minutes striking 3 sixes and 25 fours.

Gidman meanwhile ended on 63 not out whilst Masters signed off with figures of 17-9-32-2.

Day Four | Tea Report:

Kent arrived at tea on 211 for 5 representing an overall lead of 360 with one session of play remaining. Sam Northeast is unbeaten on 116 and Will Gidman is 48 not out.

The home side resumed after lunch on 71 for 4 but it was to prove a turgid afternoon’s play for the spectators basking in the sun at Canterbury as the game progressed to an inevitable and laborious draw with no sign of a declaration.

Darren Stevens was the only wicket to fall in the session when he presented wicket-keeper Adam Wheater with the opportunity to claim his sixth catch of the game when steering a delivery from David Masters behind the wicket.

Stevens had contributed 18 out of a fifth wicket partnership worth 63 in 15 overs and his departure brought Gidman to the middle to join skipper Northeast.

Gidman, who was dismissed for a first ball duck in the first innings prospered second time around  as he and Northeast rebuffed the Essex attack.

Northeast produced a series of well-timed drives to arrive at his century from 119 balls and it was completed with the 15th boundary of his innings.

Day Four | Lunch Report:

Kent reached lunch on 71 for 4 which represented an overall lead of 220 runs with two sessions remaining for play in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash between runners-up Kent and Champions Essex at Canterbury.

Starting the final day requiring three runs to avert the follow-on, the visitors last wicket pair successfully completed the mission when Matt Dixon collected 2 runs from the 8th ball of the day before being dismissed to the next delivery.

Kent took the new ball immediately and after a maiden over by Darren Stevens to Dixon, Matt Coles conceded a single to David Masters before Dixon struck the next ball into the offside for two runs taking the visitors to 292 for 9.

However Dixon, who was now on 14, then drove the next ball to mid-off where Matt Claydon took a catch on the run leaving Masters 9 not out.

With a lead of 149, Kent’s second innings got off to a poor start when they lost a wicket without a run on the board when Masters trapped Daniel Bell-Drummond in front of his stumps.

Joe Denly made his intentions clear with a couple of boundaries but then picked out Nick Browne at cover when he had scored 9 to give Dixon his sixth wicket of the match.

That left the hosts 13 for 2 which became 36 for 3 when Will Rhodes had Sean Dickson well-caught at first slip by Varun Chopra for 14 and the same bowler struck again to collect his second wicket in three overs when Sam Billings (2) steered the ball into the gloves of Adam Wheater.

Kent skipper Sam Northeast together with Darren Stevens then carried the home side through to lunch; Northeast has 28 and Stevens will resume on 15.

Rhodes has taken 2 for 14 from 7 overs, Dixon has 1 for 19 and Masters, on his final day on the first-class circuit, 1 for 25.

Day Two Review | McGrath looking to avoid the follow-on but pleased with season’s performance:

 

Day Two | Close of Play Report:

Essex will start the final day requiring a further 3 runs to avoid the follow-on after reaching the close on 289 for 9 in reply to Kent’s 441 all out in the Specsavers County Championship match at Canterbury.

Dan Lawrence topped the list of Essex runs scorers with 88 and during that innings, he passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season. However, no other batsman managed to pass 36 despite most at least getting a start without going on to achieve the significant support for the 19 year-old.

Lawrence prevailed following a testing start, which included a ‘life’ when he was dropped by Will Gidman at third slip off Stevens having scored 5, and he progressed to provide a composed performance with a number of sweetly-timed drives on both sides of the wicket.

He was involved in two half-century stands, one of 64 with Ravi Bopara who made 22 and then one of 51 with Paul Walter for the eighth wicket. That ended when Lawrence drove to long-on facing spinner James Tredwell and his departure left the visitors 265 for 8.

Adam Wheater scored 21, Kishen Velani 22 and Will Rhodes 3 before the departure of Lawrence bought David Masters to the crease. Playing his final match of a fine career, he was given a guard of honour by the home players on his sentimental return to his former stomping ground.

He soon lost the company of Walter who was bowled by Tredwell for 28 leaving Masters and Matt Dixon to pursue the 25 runs required to avert the follow-on. Dixon, who had earlier achieved a maiden 5-for with the ball, clubbed a couple of lusty blows to reach 12 not out at the close with the steady Masters 7 not out and both set to face the new ball that is available first thing in the morning.

The Essex openers had launched the innings with a half-century stand but then Varun Chopra, who had played solidly, was trapped on front of his stumps by Darren Stevens for 25 that included 2 in boundaries, and before lunch, Tom Westley was also dismissed having scored 8 when he was caught at square leg.

The visitors went into the interval on 68 for 2 and twelve balls into the afternoon session, Nick Browne who had looked so comfortable in reaching a 43-ball 36 with 6 fours, fell to a tumbling catch by wicket-keeper Sam Billings to give Mitch Claydon his second wicket.

At the start of the day, Kent resumed on 389 for 7 and soon collected their fifth batting point before they lost Matt Coles to Masters for 32 with the total on 403.

The same bowler then had Hardus Viljoen picked up by Westley in the slips before Dixon ended the excellent innings by Darren Stevens who added a further 29 runs to his overnight score before being caught by Rhodes at backward square leg for 136.

It gave Dixon final figures of 5 for 124, Masters ended with 2 for 74 and Rhodes 2 for 80.

Day Two | Tea Report:

Essex lost three wickets in the post-lunch session to arrive at tea on 185 for 5 with Dan Lawrence on 57 and Kishen Velani 6 not out.

Resuming the afternoon’s play on 68 for 2, the visitors soon lost Nick Browne who had added another 5 runs to his lunch score when he was caught by wicket-keeper Sam Billings off the bowling of Mitch Claydon for 36 to the 12th ball of the session.

Lawrence joined Ravi Bopara in the middle with the scoreboard now showing 73 for 3 and the teenager enjoyed some good fortune early in his innings when he was dropped at third slip by Will Gidman off the bowling of Darren Stevens.

At that stage, Lawrence had scored 5 but he gradually grew in confidence using his feet impressively to unleash a number of well-timed drives on both sides of the wicket.

Together with Bopara, 64 runs were added in 17 overs but then Bopara, having scored 22 during an hour and a quarter’s stay, attempted to steer a delivery from Hardus Viljoen to third man but was caught by Billings.

Lawrence continued to exhibit some impressive strokeplay and together with Adam Wheater, carried the total onto 169 before Wheater was removed for 21 when he pulled a ball from Matt Coles to Sean Dickson at square leg.

Lawrence though continued to frustrate the Kent attack arriving at an 87-ball half-century that included 7 boundaries shortly before the tea interval.

Day Two | Lunch Report

Matt Dixon was left celebrating a 5-wicket haul as Kent were bowled out for 441 before Essex reached lunch on 68 for 2.

The 24 year-old bowler from Western Australia had taken four wickets on the second day when Kent reached the close on 389 for 7 but Dixon ended the innings when he added to his list of victims with the dismissal of Darren Stevens who was caught in the deep by Will Rhodes for 136.

The home side soon added the eleven runs they required to notch their full haul of batting bonus points but then lost Matt Coles who edged a ball from David Masters into the gloves of Adam Wheater to give the wicket-keeper his fourth catch of the innings.

Masters, playing in the final game of his career, then had Hardus Viljoen caught by Tom Westley in the slips for 10 before Dixon brought the innings to a close with Essex able to claim three bowling points. The bowler left the field to warm applause from his team mates and Essex supporters in the crowd and was able to reflect on final figures of 28.1-3-124-5.

The visitors were left with 15 overs to face before lunch and Varun Chopra and Nick Browne soon found the boundary with Chopra steering his third delivery to the ropes when facing Coles.

Browne then straight drove his first ball for four against Stevens and the two openers continued to play with ease to post the half-century stand in 12 overs.

With 51 on the board, the partnership was broken when Stevens found enough movement to trap Chopra leg before for 25 that included five boundaries.

Then Westley, having scored 8, drove the fourth ball of the final over before lunch to square leg where Sean Dickson accepted the chance.

Browne will start the afternoon session on 31 having collected 5 fours from the 37 balls faced.

Day One Review | Matt Dixon takes four wickets on his Essex return

Day One | Close of Play Report:

Champions Essex picked up two bowling points after Kent reached 389 for 7 at the end of the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Canterbury.

The visitors most successful bowler was Matt Dixon who had not played in the completion since the second match of the season. The pace bowler from West Australia ended with 4 for 89 and his most successful figures for the county.

For the hosts, three batsmen completed half-centuries and once again, Darren Stevens was to prove a thorn in the Essex side.

He produced an outstanding effort with the bat striking an untroubled solid yet attractive unbeaten century to frustrate the visitors hitting the ball cleanly on both sides of the wicket with some fine timing. At the close he was 107 not out.

Captained by Tom Westley for the first time, Essex took the field after an uncontested toss on a pitch.

The home side lost both openers by the time 50 had been raised with Rhodes accounting for Daniel Bell-Drummond (32) and Dixon gaining his first victim when he had Sean Dickson caught behind by Adam Wheater for 16.

That was just reward for the bowler who had two loud and passionate appeals against the batsman turned down in his first over, one a shout for leg before and the second a catch at second slip.

Denly and Kent captain Sam Northeast then frustrated the visiting attack composing a partnership worth 109 runs in 25 overs.They had carried the score onto 159 when Rhodes gave his side their first bowling point when Northeast, who had struck a 70-ball fifty that included 7 boundaries, had added another 6 runs when he attempted to shoulder arms and was bowled off the face of the bat.

Sam Bllings joined Denly to accelerate the score with a 45 runs stand in nine overs before Bopara ended the alliance when he trapped Billings in front of his stumps for 16.

The initiative was passed to Essex when Dixon struck twice with the total on 208. He tempted Denly outside off stump to find the edge and give Wheater a catch that saw the batsman depart for 74 and the same partnership were again the architects when Will Gidman fell to his first delivery.

Stevens was joined by James Tredwell and together, they retrieved the situation fr their side.

Despite regularly rotating his bowlers, Westley was unable to unhinge the combination until the duo had added 108 runs and it was Dixon who found the breakthrough with the score on 316.

Tredwell had contributed 39 when he pushed forward, was struck on the pads and adjudged lbw.

The home side, who required five points from the match to clinch second place in the Division Two table behind title-winners Essex, were guided towards their target by the age-less Stevens and his responsible technique. He found an effective partner in Matt Coles, who was quick to pick off the loose deliveries.

He accompanied Stevens to his century that was completed in the final over of the day when he cut the ball off Paul Walter over the ropes. He had faced 125 balls that included 13 fours and two other sixes.

Coles will resume on 24 with the 8th wicket partnership having so far yielded 73 runs.

Day One | Tea Report:

Essex enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the afternoon session of play taking four Kent wickets to leave the home side 237 for 6 at tea on Day Two of the Specsavers County Championship clash at Canterbury.

The hosts resumed on 106 for 2 and Joe Denly and Sam Northeast carried the total onto 159 before Will Rhodes ended the partnership that had raised 109 runs.

Northeast, who had completed a 70-ball half century including 7 boundaries, attempted to withdraw his bat but only succeeded in playing the ball onto his wicket to end an innings of 56 runs spanning 77 deliveries.

Sam Billings joined Denly and the pair added runs at a brisk pace as Billings played freely until, with his score on 16 and the total on 204, he attempted to play a ball from Ravi Bopara into the on side and was leg before wicket.

Four runs later, Kent lost two wickets and it was Matt Dixon, who had impressed before lunch, who was the architect of the successes.

Denly had reached 74 when he pushed outside off and sent the ball into the gloves of Adam Wheater and the paceman struck with his next delivery when Wheater took the catch off the edge of the bat when Will Gidman – facing his first ball –  pushed defensively forward.

James Tredwell joined Darren Stevens to take Kent through until tea without further alarms. At tea, Stevens had scored 23 runs and Tredwell was 6 not out.

Dixon has so far taken 3 for 57 and Will Rhodes 2 for 39.

Day One | Lunch Report:

After the first day’s play was completely lost, the Specsavers County Championship Division Two match between Kent and Essex finally got underway in warm and sunny conditions and by lunch, the home side had reached 106 for 2 started.

After an uncontested toss the visitors, captained for the first time by Tom Westley, had to wait for 50 minutes before claiming their first wicket. Will Rhodes, who had replaced Paul Walter at the Nackington Road End, found the edge of Daniel Bell-Drummond’s bat and Varun Chopra accepted a catch at first slip.

The opener had scored 32 of the 44 runs on the board and six runs later Matt Dixon removed Sean Dickson.

The right-arm paceman from Western Australia and playing his first match in the competition since the second game of the campaign against Sussex at Hove, looked the best of the five bowlers used in the morning session.

Bowling from the Pavilion End, his forst delivery produced a passionate appeal for leg before wicket against Dickson turned down and then with his fifth ball, a plea for a second slip catch by Westley against Dickson was also rejected.

However, with the total on 50, Dixon was rewarded when Dickson edged a chance behind the wicket and gloveman Adam Wheater dived to his right to take the catch.

That was to prove the final reward for the Champions before the interval as Joe Denly and Sam Northeast composed an unbroken stand of 56 by lunch with Denly reaching the break on 26 and Northeast 25.

Rhodes has figures of 1 for 13 from 6 overs and Dixon 1 for 21 from 5 overs.

Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster are both sitting out the match out whilst Graham Napier is sidelined with injury.