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Mon 10 September
Middlesex
Middlesex
-
Kent
Kent

Specsavers County Championship Division Two
Venue: Lord's
Duration: 4 days

Result: Kent won by 3 wickets

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DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY

MATCH RESULT - KENT WIN BY 3 WICKETS

Middlesex 161 & 186

Kent 192 & 157/7

Kent 19 points

Middlesex 3 points

A captain’s cameo innings of 31 not out by Sam Billings helped Kent to a nervy three day, three-wicket win over Specsavers County Championship rivals Middlesex at Lord’s.

The Kent skipper wrapped up his side’s ninth win of the Division 2 campaign with a streaky inside-edged boundary to fine leg to secure a nervy 19-point win that moves the Hop County above Warwickshire and into the temporary leadership of the promotion fight.

Resuming under floodlights on their tricky overnight position of 104 for four and requiring a further 52 runs for victory, Kent added only two runs before suffering their first loss of the season, that of Daniel Bell-Drummond.

The former England Lions opener, whose technical difficulties have led to his demotion to No5 in the order, battled bravely for 28 runs for his contribution to a 52-run fifth wicket stand with Kuhn before he shuffled across his stumps against Ethan Bamber to become the 14th lbw victim of this low-scoring encounter.

Sam Billings, the Kent captain, marched to the crease to get underway with a crisp on-driven boundary against Steven Finn as he and Kuhn added a vital 30 runs for the sixth wicket before Kuhn, playing across a shooting off-cutter from James Fuller, went for 39 from 73 balls before adding to the leg-before tally.

Stevens, Kent’s ageless all-rounder, opened his boundary account with a clipped four through mid-wicket against Fuller to reduce the visitor’s target to 14 before he and Billings survived a run out scare after initially setting off for a single to cover point.

Teenage seamer Ethan Bamber and Fuller, at The Pavilion End, ramped up the pressure with a brace of maidens before Billings moved up to 20 with a straight drive for two but, only for Stevens to become the latest leg before casualty.

Playing across a near yorker-length ball from Fuller, the 42-year-old departed only three short of his 15,000thcareer run and with Kent 12 shy of their target.

Billings eased the tension by taking seven off the first over of the day from Middlesex debutant Martin Andersson before clinching the win with his fourth boundary.

Harry Podmore, the former Middlesex paceman who took match figures of six for 70 on his return NW8, was the other unbeaten player with just a single.

Middlesex, having lost their fourth defeat of the summer, are now effectively out of the race for championship promotion.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - CLOSE OF PLAY

Kent 104/4

A thrilling third day finish could be in prospect at Lord’s where Division 2 rivals Kent and Middlesex continue to cross swords in an action-packed Specsavers County Championship match.

After the loss of 19 wickets on day one, this low scoring clash continued with a further 15 falling on an enthralling second day that ended through bad light at 6.20pm with Kent on 104 for four – requiring another 52 runs with six, second innings wickets intact to secure their fourth successive championship win.

With a potential 39 overs remaining in the day, Kent looked to make an ultra-positive start to their run chase but paid the price with the loss of four cheap wickets.

Zak Crawley was superbly caught by Dawid Malan off Ethan Bamber, then an over later, Matt Henry - promoted to ‘pinch hit’ at No3 - skewed his second ball to mid-off to gift his wicket to Steven Finn.

Sean Dickson and Joe Denly added 33 for the third wicket until Denly went leg before to James Fuller, then Dickson’s stay for 32 ended when he prodded at the first ball of a new spell from Bamber to be caught low at second slip.

The umpires took the players off nine balls later for a 20-minute break for bad light, after which Daniel Bell-Drummond and Heino Kuhn emerged to add 50 runs in positive fashion before the gloom descended again.

Kent took a stranglehold on proceedings during the mid-session when New Zealand strike bowler Henry bagged four for 40 to inspire a Middlesex collapse that saw the hosts lose eight wickets for 88 runs.

In taking five victims in this game Henry, the championship’s leading wicket-taker, took his season’s tally to 66 at less than 15 apiece as Middlesex succumbed in 60.2 overs.

It was Kent’s 42-year-old all-rounder Darren Stevens who started the home demise by breaking a useful opening stand worth 59 between Sam Morgan and Nick Gubbins.

Robson and Gubbins rode their luck under the floodlights as Henry and Harry Podmore beat the outside edge on numerous occasions. Yet, within 10 overs, Middlesex had wiped out the first innings deficit of 31 as the pair went on to record only their third 50-run first-wicket stand of the championship summer.

Stevens, fresh from signing a one-year contract extension to keep him at Kent for a 14th season, then struck at the double. Robson edged an away-singer to second slip then, four runs later, left-hander Max Holden fell leg before to an in-swinger that pitched on leg and middle to beat Holden’s airy, leg-side flick.

Middlesex lost three wickets for one run in the space of 13 balls after lunch after resuming on their interval score of 98 for two. Gubbins, off balance and working across the line, departed lbw to Podmore, then Henry swung the very next delivery back in to end Dawid Malan’s innings of 32.

Podmore’s slower ball off-cutter, which turned into a dipping, low full-toss, was scooped straight to mid-wicket by Eoin Morgan and the procession continued when Martin Andersson, in crab-like defence, played inside the line to Podmore’s in-ducker to be given lbw.

Stevie Eskinazi went in the same fashion to a shooting off-cutter from Stevens and Henry returned to polish things off with a 20-ball stint of three for seven. The slippery Kiwi got one to lift and leave Oli Rayner for a regulation catch at second slip then, in his next over, swung a full one away from Bamber for Sam Billings to snaffle a diving catch in front of slip.

Henry trapped Finn lbw for his 66th wicket of the championship campaign to leave Kent with a potential seven sessions of the match to secure their ninth win of the campaign.

The second day started with Kent completing their first innings. It lasted only another 11 deliveries as they added only three to their overnight score to miss out on a batting bonus point by eight runs.

Grant Stewart, the Australian-born all-rounder, was Kent’s last man to go for a battling 63, bowled by Fuller when playing across the line of a very full delivery. Fuller, the pick of the home attack, finished with four for 49 as Kent secured a modest 31-run lead.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - TEA

Middlesex 186 all out

Promotion chasing Kent may push for a two-day victory over Division 2 rivals Middlesex after taking eight mid-session wickets for 88 runs to skittle the hosts for 186 on another frenetic day of Specsavers County Championship action at Lord’s.

Kiwi paceman Matt Henry was again the Kentish hero with figures of four for 40, but Darren Stevens and Harry Podmore gave admirable support with three wickets apiece as Middlesex succumbed in 60.2 overs.

Kent took a firmer grip on events after lunch by taken three more wickets for one run in the space of 13 balls after Middlesex had resumed on their interval score of 98 for two.

Nick Gubbins, off balance and working across the line, departed lbw to Podmore, then Henry swung the very next delivery back in to Dawid Malan to end his stay for 32.

Podmore bagged a second scalp when his slower off-cutter, which turned into a dipping, low full-toss, was scooped by Eoin Morgan straight to mid-wicket to make it 102 for five.

The procession continued when Martin Andersson, in crab-like defence, played inside the line to Podmore’s in-ducker to be given lbw, then, Stevie Eskinazi’s 90-minute stay ended when he became the fifth leg before victim of the day, this time to a shooting off-cutter from Stevens.

Henry got one to lift and leave Oli Rayner’s push and take the outside edge through to second slip then, in his next over, Henry swung a full one away from Ethan Bamber for Sam Billings to snaffle a diving catch in front of slip.

It was Henry who duly finished it off, trapping Steven Finn lbw for his 66th wicket of the championship campaign to leave Kent with a potential seven sessions to score 156 for their ninth win of the campaign.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - LUNCH

Kent 192 all out

Middlesex 98/2

Ageless all-rounder Darren Stevens bagged two wickets to maintain Kent’s stranglehold on the match on the second morning of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Middlesex at Lord’s.

The 42-year-old from Leicestershire took his season’s wicket-tally to 34 as Middlesex went in at lunch on 98 for two - for a meagre overall lead in the match worth 67 runs.

Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins started the home second innings at 10.45am with the Lord’s floodlights already in full operation.

Responding to Kent’s 192 all out, the pair took only 10 overs to wipe out their side’s first innings deficit. Though Matt Henry and Harry Podmore beat the outside edge on numerous occasions, neither made the early breakthrough Kent might have expected when bowling in overcast, swing and seamer-friendly conditions in NW8.

After sending down five overs, Henry the championship’s leading wicket-taker, gave way at The Nursery End for Darren Stevens – who announced yesterday that he has signed a contract extension to keep him at Kent for a 14th season.

Robson and Gubbins continued to play and miss against Podmore, their former team-mate, who rested after seven luckless overs from the Pavilion End. While Henry switched ends, Gubbins and Robson marched on to post only their third 50-run opening stand of the championship campaign inside 17 overs.

Robson’s luck ran out with his score on 36 when, having been squared up by a Stevens’ away-swinger, he edged to Heino Kuhn at second slip to make it 59 for one.

Four runs later Stevens snared left-hander Max Holden leg before to an in-swinger that pitched on leg and middle to beat Holden’s edge as he aimed a leg-side flick.

Kent’s first innings lasted only another 11 deliveries at the start of the day as the visitors added only three runs to their overnight score to miss out on a batting bonus point by eight.

Grant Stewart, the Australian-born all-rounder, was last man to go for a battling 63, bowled by James Fuller when playing across the line of a very full delivery. Fuller, the pick of the home attack, finished with four for 49 as Kent secured a modest 31-run lead.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - CLOSE OF PLAY

Kent 189/9

Joe Denly and Nick Gubbins wasted England auditions as more unsung heroes came to the fore on a day when 19 wickets fell in the County Championship clash between Middlesex and Kent at Lord’s.

Denly and Gubbins, touted as possible tourists for England’s winter trips to Sri Lanka and West Indies, both missed their cue under the watchful eye of selector James Taylor.

Instead it was 42-year-old Darren Stevens who starred with ball (4-44) then bat (64) for the visitors, while James Fuller 37 not out and 3-47 underlined his all-round value to the Lord’s tenants.

It all meant Kent closed 28 ahead with their last pair at the crease.

In the era of the uncontested toss, being stuck in on a sporty September pitch against the country’s leading wicket-taker Matt Henry didn’t look to bode well for a Middlesex team who’d gleaned just nine batting points from 11 games this season – and so it proved.

Henry made the initial incision aided by a poor shot from Gubbins (17) who swished one into the hands of Sean Dickson at first slip.

Thereafter, it was the evergreen Stevens who took centre-stage, trapping Sam Robson LBW with his first delivery.

Middlesex’s next wound was self-inflicted, Max Holden, promoted to No 3, throwing his wicket away setting off for a run which was never there, Henry running out the youngster with a direct hit from point.

Stevens was then at it again dismissing Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan in quick succession and there was still time for former Middlesex quick Harry Podmore (3-35) to strike two further blows, Stevie Eskinazi and debutant Martin Andersson the men to fall, leaving the hosts 80-7 at lunch.

On the resumption Middlesex’s tail found the resistance which had eluded their top order, Fuller sharing stands of 39 with Ollie Rayner (19) and 41 with last man Steven Finn (27) allowing them to scramble up to 161 all out.

Not for the first time this season Middlesex took the field with too few to defend and without leading wicket-takers, James Harris (groin) and Tim Murtagh (ill).

Ethan Bamber made an early breakthrough pinning Dickson in front and Steven Finn, back from injury, cut short Denly’s chance to impress when he too had an LBW shout upheld.

Then it was Fuller’s time to shine, the all-rounder emulating Stevens’s feat from earlier in the day trapping Zak Crawley LBW.

Dander up the former Gloucestershire man then found the edge of Daniel Bell-Drummonds bat, wicketkeeper Eskinazi pulling off a stunning one-handed catch away to his right.

Skipper Sam Billings soon became Fuller’s third victim and when Anderson scattered Heino Kuhn’s stumps the visitors had crumbled to 53-6.

Again, though an interval came to the batting side’s rescue as Stevens came out on the offensive producing a spate of boundaries as Middlesex bowled too short.

Podmore didn’t last long playing a Finn long hop to Morgan at deep backward point, but Grant Stewart, who scored a maiden first-class century against Middlesex in the reverse fixture back in June, provided strong support.

The 50-stand was raised before Steven’s ninth boundary via a top edge over the keeper took him to his half century in 62 balls.

The fun ended at 64 when Anderson rearranged his furniture, but Stewart’s third first-class 50 steered Kent to a precious lead.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - TEA

Middlesex 161 all out

Kent 54/6

James Fuller led Middlesex’s charge for early wickets as the hosts fought back on the first afternoon of their County Championship clash with Division Two title contenders Kent.

The Seaxes’ seamer claimed three wickets in a fiery spell as the visitors stumbled to 54-6 in reply to Middlesex’s 161 all out.

Fuller (3-16) struck with his first ball, trapping Zak Crawley LBW before having both Daniel Bell-Drummond and Kent skipper Sam Billings caught behind, the former to a stunning catch by wicket-keeper Stevie Eskinazi.

His trio of victims came after Ethan Bamber made the initial breakthrough getting Sean Dickson LBW and the same fate befell Joe Denly, Steven Finn the successful bowler.

And there was a first wicket in Middlesex colours for Martin Anderson who bowled Heino Kuhn for 19.

Earlier, Fuller (37 not out) and Finn (27) shared a last-wicket stand of 41 as the hosts recovered from 80-7 despite 4-44 for the evergreen Darren Stevens.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - LUNCH

Middlesex 80/7

Nick Gubbins wasted his latest England audition as Middlesex collapsed on the first morning of their County Championship fixture against promotion-chasing Kent at Lord’s.

With England selector James Taylor in attendance at the Home of Cricket looking for possible successors to Alastair Cook, the left-hander made just 17 as the hosts plummeted to 80-7 at lunch.

Gubbins’ loose drive at the country’s leading wicket taker Matt Henry sparked a collapse by a Middlesex top order with just nine batting points in 11 matches so far this season.

Sam Robson was pinned LBW by the evergreen Darren Stevens’ first delivery and the hosts then pressed the self-destruct button again when Max Holden, promoted to No 3 was run out by Henry’s direct hit from point after setting off for a single which simply wasn’t there.

Skipper Dawid Malan was Stevens’ next victim, caught via an inside edge onto the thigh pad by Zak Crawley diving forward at third slip and Eoin Morgan’s wretched run continued when the evergreen seamer struck for a third time trapping him LBW for 1.

Insult was then added to injury when former Seaxe Harry Podmore picked up the wickets of Stevie Eskinazi and debutant Martin Andersson, the latter having been recalled from a loan spell at Derbyshire.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.

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