A forum for Kent CCC fans
Kent go into the day/night 'pink ball' game with Middlesex this afternoon with a significantly changed team following the epic win over Division 2 leaders Warwickshire at Tunbridge Wells last week (and with only 1 day 'off').

Rested for Saturday's RL Cup final are the two most successful bowlers, Matt Henry (49 wickets @ 13.4) and Darren Stevens (23 @ 18.1); Henry bowled a huge number of overs at Tunbridge Wells whilst Stevens had difficulty picking up the pink ball in last year's day/night game at Trent Bridge, so his omission is no real surprise. This does mean that Kent's attack will be made up from Harry Podmore (22 @ 22.95), Calum Haggett (3 @ 10.7), Grant Stewart (2 @ 26), Ivan Thomas (5 @ 56.4) and possibly Adam Riley (who hasn't taken a first class wicket in 2 games), plus Joe Denly(6 @ 30). Interestingly both keepers, Adam Rouse and Club Skipper Sam Billings are in the squad, suggesting one may play as a batsman.

[url]http://www.kentcricket.co.uk/news/kent- ... x-mon-2pm/[/URL]

Given the excellent weather today (& forecast all week) this should be an interesting encounter, though will the hours of play (14.00-21.00) actually help attract crowds? :think: This will be an interesting test...
Well, all over before 'lunch' (e.g. the first, longer, break in a 'day/night' game at 4pm) on Day 3, this was one of the stranger CC games I have ever seen. Even allowing for the fact that Middlesex were missing a clutch of good players (Finn, Roland-Jones injured; Morgan, Stirling international duty; Gubbins, Helm England Lions) they still had a good team & Kent also had rested their two best CC bowlers (Matt Henry, Darren Stevens - partly due to the RL Cup Final on Saturday, but also due to Stevens problems in seeing the pink ball at Trent Bridge last season).

Both sides clearly wanted to bat - so Kent duly did so on winning the toss. Midway through the second session they had slumped to 134-7 before Rouse (who kept the gloves despite Billings' return) and the tail (Podmore and esp. Stewart who made a career best 38 on his return to the side after injury) took it to 241. Only the second time this season we have scored any batting bonus points...although just 1 here! The Middlesex seamers - Murtagh, Harris, Cartwright and Fuller (on his first appearance since 2016) - bowled well.

After 'tea' (the second break), under lights (though it was still a very sunny day), Middlesex batted as if they had never seen a bat before. True the ball was swinging, especially for Stewart, but does that explain why they collapsed to 56-9? The last wicket fell at the same score early on day 2...also to Stewart who finished with a career best 6-22. Not surprisingly the follow on wasn't enforced and Kent batted again.

Kent's second innings didn't go smoothly - again the batsmen (except for Kuhn) failed and when the 9th wicket fell at 181, we were wondering whether we had enough. Thomas, not renowned as a batsman, joined Stewart. In just over an hour they added 100...of which Thomas made 1 (and there were 4 extras...). Stewart beat his previous best score to make his first 50, then finally a maiden 100 with 5 x6, reaching his century off about 75 balls. At one point there were 8, or possibly 9, fielders on the boundary! This was the highest score by a Kent No. 10 ever (beating A E Watt, 96 vs MCC in 1932) and only the second time in cricket history a century partnership occurred with one scoring only a single.

I think it's fair to say Middlesex were shell shocked when they started their second innings - the ball didn't swing but they lost 2 wickets for 22 overnight, and continued to collapse on the day 3. Batting looked quite possibly, but the procession of batsmen continues...22-2 became 81-9 with no-one getting beyond 13 until no. 11 Murtagh decided to slog every ball and hit a quick 40. After less than 2 hours on day 3 the game was over, Kent winning by 342 runs. Harry Podmore, who joined Kent from Middlesex before this season, took a career best 6-36.

So, a great game for Kent - taking them (temporarily, perhaps) - to the top of Div. 2. As for the pink ball, and the 2pm-9pm hours of play...I couldn't see any evidence that it increased the size of the crowd or led to more people coming in after work. Instead many people left around 7pm.
I was part of the 7pm exodus on Monday, or tea as it as designated. Not through lack of interest or that it was cold, it was a lovely evening and would have been happy to stay. No it was fear of the new train timetables, which are about as reliable as the Middx. batting, and wondering what time I may reach home. It is not the South East trains, but the new Thameslink service I need for part of the journey. As it was I got back to Dartford dead on time, but I was lucky as on leaving Higham it was announced the service would terminate at Dartford and not carry on to London and then Luton as due. Plenty of people left the ground when I did but here didn't seem to be anyone fighting against the tide to get in.
Well done to Grant Stewart, especially for his batting in the second innings. Keeping his end up like that and helping Ivan Thomas in that last wicket stand. Another important
game against Leicester for Canterbury week amongst the 20/20 matches and then the championship run in from late August. Will we still have Matt Hendry then? Can we finish in the top two?
After his long spell at T. W. & keeping him fresh for the Final may well have been the main reason for his missing this match. But it doesn't hurt sending a signal to the N. Z. authorities that he is being taken care of & not run into the ground. Perhaps don't push for the Leics. home game & hopefully get him back rested & ready to go for the last six games which are nicely spread out.
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