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RESULT - MATCH DRAWN

Kent 191 & 70/0 | Middlesex 269 & 169/1

Middlesex and Kent shared the Bob Willis Trophy spoils in Canterbury despite a late declaration that gave the dominant visitors a glimmer of hope at pulling off a fourth-day upset.

As it was, Kent’s unlikely pursuit if 248 ended just after 5pm with the hosts on 70 without loss and with first-bumps all-round – no handshakes allowed under Covid-19 protocols – to mark the draw.

Having shot out their south group hosts for a modest 191 at the start of the day, Middlesex had set about extending their 78-run first-innings lead through openers Sam Robson and Max Holden.

Accelerating after the lunch interval, they posted a 50 stand from 82 balls forcing Kent skipper Sam Billings to go on the defensive with his field placings in order to stem the run rate.

Robson should have gone for 23 but his edged cut against Fred Klassen was downed by Billings stationed at sole slip.

In slowing the over rate and stemming the flow of runs, Kent hoped to reduce the likelihood of Middlesex snatching a last gasp win. Even so, Holden reached a half-century off 60 balls with six fours and celebrated with a straight six off spinner Marcus O’Riordan.

The century opening stand came up in the 25th over and Robson posted his maiden 50 of the Trophy campaign from 96 balls and with four boundaries.

With the lead already over 200, the first-wicket stand ended for 143 when Holden, on 72, sliced an attempted lofted drive against O’Riordan to Denly at extra cover.

Inexplicably, Robson barely picked up the pace thereafter and had reached 82 not out from 143 when the players went in at tea. With his side 247 ahead, Stevie Eskinazi declared late in the interval, asking Kent to chase a nominal target of 248 in 32 overs at an asking rate of 7.75/over.

Batting again by 4.05pm, Kent resisted tinkering with the order or attempting any suicidal pursuit, allowing Daniel Bell-Drummond and O’Riordan to successfully see off the new ball bursts of Miguel Cummins and Ethan Bamber on what was a flat, fourth-day pitch.

O’Riordan reached a career-best 34 not out and Bell-Drummond was unbeaten on 31 when the status quo was formally agreed just after 5pm and with 18 of the scheduled overs remaining.

Kent had started the final day on 146 for five in their first innings and trailing in the match by 123 runs, but conspired to lose their last five wickets for 23 runs in the space of 11 overs with Cummins taking five for 62.

In his warm-up over the Bajan dangerman allowed Kent’s night watchman Matt Milnes to clip two leg-side fours to move smoothly into double figures. But, with his score on 16, Milnes went back in defence to the speedy West Indian and dragged the ball onto off stump.

Joe Denly moved to within 11 runs of a century when his near three-and-a-half hour stay with 14 fours came to a surprise end. Shouldering arms to a James Harris off-cutter, Denly appeared bemused when the ball grazed off stump to dislodge one bail.

Four runs later, Darren Stevens meekly followed a Martin Andersson away-swinger to steer the ball off the bat face to second slip with a shot more akin to pre-match slip-catching practise.

Three balls later, Grant Stewart, in aiming to leg against Harris, looped a chance to point off a leading edge to be well caught, overhead by a leaping Max Holden.

Cummins returned to claim his fifth wicket by dismissing Hamidullah Qadri from a sliced, back-foot steer caught at third slip, and ensure Kent missed out on a batting bonus point by nine runs.

Cummins, easily the fastest of the bowlers on display here, finished with five for 62, his best figures for Middlesex and for the past three seasons, while Andersson and Harris bagged two apiece.


TEA DAY FOUR - Middlesex 269 & 169/1 | Kent 191

Middlesex look set to leave their attack with just 32 overs in order to dismiss Kent and secure an unlikely victory in the final session of their rain interrupted Bob Willis Trophy match in Canterbury.

Visiting skipper Stevie Eskinazi seemed likely to declare his side’s second innings at tea on the fourth and final day with Middlesex sitting pretty on 169 for one – potentially leaving Kent to score a nominal victory target of 248 off the game’s 32 remaining overs.

Having shot out their south group hosts for a modest 191, Middlesex, Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Max Holden set about extending their 78-run first innings lead.

Accelerating after the lunch interval, they posted a 50 stand from 82 balls forcing Kent skipper Sam Billings to go on the defensive with his field placings in order to stem the run rate.

Robson should have gone for 23 but, with the total on 63, his edged cut shot against Fred Klassen was downed by Billings stationed in the sole slip position.

By attempting to slow the over rate and stem the flow of runs, Kent hoped to reduce the likelihood of Middlesex snatching a fourth day win in the final session of the match. Even so, Holden reached a half-century off 60 balls with six fours and celebrated with a straight six off spinner Marcus O’Riordan.

The century opening stand came up in the 25th over and Robson posted his maiden 50 of the Trophy campaign from 96 balls and with four boundaries.

With the Middlesex lead already up to 221, the opening stand ended for 143 when Holden, on 72, sliced an attempted lofted drive against O’Riordan to Denly at extra cover.

Inexplicably, Robson barely picked up the pace thereafter and had reached 82 not out from 143 when the players went in at tea.

Kent had started the final day on 146 for five and still trailing in the match by 123 runs, only to lose their last five first-innings wickets for 23 runs and in the space of 11 overs as Miguel Cummins snaffled five for 62.

The hosts set out their stall to bat positively as Joe Denly forced the first ball of the day from Martin Andersson off the back foot to the ropes at deep cover.

In the warm-up over from Bajan dangerman Cummins, Kent’s night watchman Matt Milnes clipped two leg-side fours to move smoothly into double figures. But, with his score on 16, Milnes went back in defence to the speedy West Indian only to drag the ball onto off stump.

Denly moved to within 11 runs of a century when his near three-and-a-half hour stay with 14 fours came to a surprise end. Shouldering arms to a James Harris off-cutter, Denly appeared bemused when the ball grazed off stump to dislodge one bail.

Four runs later, Darren Stevens meekly followed an Andersson away-swinger to steer the ball off the bat face to second slip. It was a shot more akin to pre-match slip-catching practise.

Kent’s demise continued three balls later when Grant Stewart, in aiming to leg against Harris, looped a chance to point off a leading edge to be well caught, overhead by a leaping Max Holden.

Cummins returned to polish the job and claim his fifth wicket by dismissing Hamidullah Qadri from a sliced, back-foot steer caught at third slip, to ensure Kent missed out on a batting bonus point by nine runs.

Cummins, easily the fastest of the bowlers on display here, finished with five for 62, his best figures for Middlesex, while Andersson and Harris bagged two apiece.


LUNCH DAY FOUR - Middlesex 269 & 34/0 | Kent 191

Middlesex enjoyed their best spell of a rain-ruined Bob Willis Trophy clash with Kent in Canterbury where the visitors went into lunch on the final day on 34 without loss for an overall match lead of 112 runs.

Having shot out their south group hosts for a modest 191, Middlesex’s opening partners Max Holden and Sam Robson made it though to the interval without alarm on 22 and 11 respectively.

Kent had started the day on 146 for five and still trailing by 123 runs, only to lose their last five first-innings wickets for 23 runs and in the space of 11 overs as Miguel Cummins snaffled five for 62.

Home top-scorer Joe Denly fell 11 runs short of a century when he shouldered arms to a James Harris off-cutter that grazed off stump to topple one bail.



STUMPS DAY THREE - Kent 146/5 & Middlesex 269 all out

West Indies paceman Miguel Cummins bagged three wickets as Kent were made to work hard for their first innings runs on day three of their Bob Willis Trophy clash with Middlesex in Canterbury.

Joe Denly top-scored for the hosts with an excellent unbeaten 70 as he and night watchman Matt Milnes (4*) made it through to stumps on 146 for five to trail the visitors by 123 runs going into the fourth and final day.

Kent lost makeshift opener Marcus O’Riordan and his partner Daniel Bell-Drummond within 13 overs as they started their response to Middlesex’s workmanlike total of 269 all out.

Bell-Drummond (14) fended at a lifter from former West Indies Test paceman Cummins to glove a catch through to the keeper, then, steaming down the Nackington Road slope, Cummins drew O’Riordan (11) outside off, fencing away from his body at another short one to be caught at fourth slip.

Soon after tea, and with the score on 57, last week’s double-century maker Jack Leaning (4) blotted his copybook by reaching on the drive at a wide one from Ethan Bamber to be caught at point.

Joe Denly, back in the Kent side after his exclusion from England’s Test squad, teamed up with Sam Billings to cash in on several loose deliveries from James Harris and Bamber in an attractive fourth-wicket stand worth 39.

Billings added 20 to the partnership before his loose back-foot waft against the extra pace of Cummins – one of the few overseas players on show this season – flew to the keeper to make it 96 for four.

Denly maintained a cool head down the other end to reach an attractive maiden Trophy 50 in two hours with a clipped four through mid-wicket against dangerman Cummins. The right-hander faced 83 balls and hit nine fours.

Denly combined with Oli Robinson to help see off Cummins after the Bajan claimed three for 41 from his three excellent spells but his replacement, Martin Andersson moved one late off the seam to have Robinson (17) held at slip by Stevie Eskinazi at the second attempt.

At the day’s start, reduced cloud cover and the softer, older ball, ensured seventh-wicket partners Robbie White and Harris found batting conditions far more favourable than their counterparts had during the opening two days.

The pair frustrated Kent for much of the opening session adding 93 useful runs as White posted a 151-ball 50 with eight fours scored in a shade over three hours and soon moved past his first-class career-best of 69 scored for Loughborough MCCU against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in 2017.

His near five-hour vigil spread over 220 balls was ended by the 11th delivery with the second new ball and an agonising juggled catch in the cordon. Prodding half-forward to a Darren Stevens away-swinger, White turned to watch as the outside edge flew to second slip where Leaming clung on to the chance at the third attempt.

Harris, the former Kent loanee, had reached a patient 41 from 128 balls when he too was out-foxed by Stevens. Prodding forward to a leg-cutter, Harris pushed inside the line to have his off stump plucked out.

Klassen came up with a near identical delivery to clip off stump and account for left-handed Cummins and give Kent their third bowling bonus point.

Stevens duly wrapped up his 28th five-wicket first-class haul by trapping last man Thilan Walallawita lbw low on the front pad with an in-swinger to end the innings after 108 overs. Klassen, with four for 44, recorded career-best first-class figures.


TEA DAY THREE - 57/2

Kent lost both opening batsmen inside 13 overs as they made a poor start to their reply to Middlesex’s workmanlike total of 269 all out.

Kent’s makeshift opening pair of Marcus O’Riordan and Daniel Bell-Drummond added 18 before the latter, with 14, fended at a lifter from Miguel Cummins to glove a catch through to the keeper.

Cummins then accounted for O’Riordan (11) who fenced away from his body to another shortish delivery to pick out Martin Andersson at fourth slip.

At the start of the day reduced cloud cover and the softer, older ball, ensured that visiting seventh-wicket partners Robbie White and James Harris found batting conditions far more favourable.

The pair frustrated Kent for much of the opening session in adding 93 useful runs as White posted a 151-ball 50 with eight fours scored in a shade over three hours and soon moved past his first-class career-best of 69 scored for Loughborough MCCU against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in 2017.

His near five-hour vigil spread over 220 balls was ended by the 11th delivery with the second new ball and an agonising juggled catch in the cordon. Prodding half-forward to a Darren Stevens away-swinger, White turned to watch as the outside edge flew to second slip where Jack Leaming clung on to the chance at the third attempt.

Harris, the former Kent loanee, had reached a patient 41 from 128 balls when he too was out-foxed by Stevens. Prodding forward to a leg-cutter, Harris pushed inside the line to have his off stump plucked out.

Klassen came up with a near identical delivery in the next over to clip off stump and account for left-handed Cummins, the former West Indies Test bowler, and give Kent their third bowling bonus point.

Stevens duly wrapped up his 28th five-wicket first-class haul by hitting last man Thilan Walallawita low on the front pad with an in-swinger to win the lbw appeal and end the innings after 108 overs. Klassen, with four for 44, also recorded career-best first-class figures.


DAY THREE LUNCH: Middlesexare 223/7

Middlesex rookie Robbie White missed out on a deserved maiden first-class hundred by just a single as the visitors found batting far easier on the third morning of their Bob Willis Trophy match with Kent.

White’s near five-hour vigil for 220 balls was ended by the 11th delivery with the second new ball and a juggled catch in the cordon but his 99 at least helped Middlesex into lunch on a much-improved 223 for seven.

Resuming on their overnight score of 123 for six having lost John Simpson to the penultimate ball of day two to a spectacular keeper’s catch by Oli Robinson, Middlesex found conditions much more to their liking against the older ball and with much less cloud cover than during the opening two days.

In bright sunshine, White extended his score by picking up two rasping boundaries with back-foot forces to the ropes at backward point on his way to a 151-ball 50 with eight fours scored in a shade over three hours.

James Harris, the former Kent loanee, got off the mark with a sweetly-timed off drive against Fred Klassen and, as runs started to flow more readily, Kent turned to spin for the first time in the match for the 77th over in the shape of Hamidullah Qadri.

In a bid to hasten the availability of the new ball, Kent skipper Sam Billings opted for spin at both ends with the introduction of Joe Denly’s leg-breaks, but White dispatched a full-toss loosener for six over deep mid-wicket to move beyond his first-class career best score of 69 scored for Loughborough MCCU against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in 2017.

Denly was quickly replaced by Marcus O’Riordan who was powerless to prevent Middlesex from reaching 200 for their first batting bonus point in the 88th over.

Matt Milnes and Darren Stevens duly shared the second new ball but White, on 99, came unstuck when Stevens’s fifth delivery swung away, feathered the outside edge and flew to second slip where Jack Leaning clutched the chance at the third attempt. The dismissal also ended a gritty seventh-wicket stand worth 93 with Harris (27*).


CLOSE DAY TWO: Middlesex 123/6

Kent’s bowlers enjoyed the best of a second dreary day as visitors Middlesex stumbled to reach 123 for six after 61.5 overs of the first innings and at the mid-point of this rain-ruined Bob Willis Trophy clash in Canterbury.

Having lost 80.3 overs to bad light and showers on Saturday, the two south group sides sparred for runs and wickets throughout an overcast morning session before rain returned three overs after lunch to wash out another 46 overs from the match.

Resuming on their overnight score of 22 for one at 11am, Middlesex’s second-wicket partners Sam Robson and Stevie Eskinazi found runs hard to come by against the frugal new-ball attack of Matt Milnes and Darren Stevens.

The visitors garnered only 10 runs in the opening half-hour before visiting captain Eskinazi, on nine, groped for a Stevens away-swinger and edged low to keeper Oli Robinson, who took the catch in one glove diving away to his right.

A double bowling change led to the introduction of Grant Stewart and Fred Klassen, but Kent’s tactic to restrict the flow of boundaries continued to reap rewards.

In a tidy, seven-over stint down the Nackington Road slope Klassen, a 27-year-old left-armer making only his third first-class appearance, helped maintain the stranglehold on the run-rate as Middlesex mustered only three boundaries in the opening hour, one of which came via a thick outside edge to third man.

Having faced 86 balls for his 36 runs, Robson chipped a Klassen in-ducker to Daniel Bell-Drummond at short mid-wicket then, seven overs later, Martin Andersson mistimed an attempted on-drive to another Klassen in-swinger and clipped a firm return catch to the Netherlands’ bowler.

The clouds returned three overs into the mid-session and shortly after 2pm with the rain strengthening in intensity throughout the afternoon. But the torrent abated by 4pm and, after two inspections and tireless work by the groundstaff, umpires Nigel Llong and Neil Bainton decided play could re-start at 5.30pm with 16 overs remaining in the day.

The joust between bat and ball continued under blue skies and in bright sunshine after the resumption, yet Middlesex needed 8.3 overs to record their first boundary of the evening session with four leg byes to fine leg.

Nevertheless, fifth-wicket partners Jack Davies and Robbie White dug in to take their partnership to 40 before Davies (13), off-balance and working to leg across an in-swinger, went lbw to Stevens.

With the penultimate ball of the day Klassen ran one across left-hander John Simpson (10) and found the outside edge for another spectacular tumbling catch by Robinson.

Klassen improved his career-best first-class figures to finish the day with three for 19 while Stevens closed with two for 32.


Lunch Day Two: Middlesex 91/4

Dutch international seamer Fred Klassen bagged two for 14 as Kent’s pace attack continued to set the Middlesex top order a tough examination on day two at an overcast Canterbury.

The visitors limped into Sunday’s lunch break on 91 for four after struggling to cope with Sussex-born Klassen’s seven-over stint down the Nackington Road slope.

Resuming on their overnight score of 22 for one following the loss of 80.3 overs to Saturday’s rain and bad light, Middlesex’s second-wicket partners Sam Robson and Stevie Eskinazi found runs hard to come by against Kent’s frugal new-ball attack of Matt Milnes and Darren Stevens.

The visitors garnered only 10 runs in the opening half-hour before Eskinazi, on nine, fished for a Stevens away-swinger to edge low to keeper Oli Robinson, who took the catch in one glove diving away to his right.

Despite a double bowling change and the introduction of Grant Stewart and Klassen, a 27-year-old left-armer making only his third first-class appearance, Kent maintained their stranglehold on the run-rate by conceding only three boundaries in the opening hour, one of which came via a thick outside edge to third man.

Kent’s ploy continued to work when Robson, having faced 86 balls for his 36 runs, chipped a Klassen in-ducker to Daniel Bell-Drummond at short mid-wicket to make it 54 for three.

Seven overs later, Martin Andersson mis-timed an attempted on-drive to another Klassen in-swinger and clipped a firm return catch to the Netherlands bowler.


CLOSE OF PLAY DAY ONE - MIDDLESEX 22/1

Bad light and persistent heavy rain restricted play to just 57 balls on the opening day of Kent’s Bob Willis Trophy clash with south group rivals Middlesex in Canterbury.

After winning the toss, Kent, who decided to bowl first in overcast conditions, made their first breakthrough after 4.4 overs when Matt Milnes, following through off his own bowling, snaffled a bat-pad catch that looped up off the front pad and via the inside edge of Max Holden’s bat to make it 11 for one.

With the floodlights shining, rain stopped play after 9.3 overs forcing umpires Nigel Llong and Neil Bainton to invite the players to take an early lunch with the visitors on 22 for one.

Bad light and drizzle had already delayed the start to the match by 75 minutes with the loss of its first 11 overs. Despite a brief abatement to the showers and an umpires’ inspection at 2.45pm, the clouds and rain soon returned forcing play to be abandoned for the day at 3.30pm.

Earlier, Kent opted against giving a debut to Nathan Gilchrist, their loan signing from Somerset, electing instead to give Fred Klassen, the Netherlands left-armer, only his third first-class appearance. Milnes also returned under rotation to replace Harry Podmore.

However, Last week’s double-century maker Jordan Cox missed out after a breach of club Covid-19 protocols forced him to self-isolate for a week. He was replaced by Joe Denly following his release from England’s bio-secure Test bubble. Heino Kuhn was given leave of absence to be with his wife Trudie for the birth of their first child.


TEA DAY ONE - MIDDLESEX 22/1

Rain stopped play after only 57 balls were bowled in Canterbury on the opening morning of Kent’s Bob Willis Trophy south group game with Middlesex going in for an early lunch on 22 for one.

Heavy showers started during the interval ensuring there would be no play in the mid-session. Umpires Neil Bainton and Nigel Llong inspected at 2.45pm and concluded that tea would be taken at the usual time of 3.40pm with a view to a 4pm re-start, weather permitting. So far, 43 overs have been lost on the opening day.


LUNCH DAY ONE - MIDDLESEX 22/1

Rain stopped play after only 57 balls were bowled in Canterbury on the opening morning of Kent’s Bob Willis Trophy south group game with Middlesex going in for an early lunch on 22 for one.

After winning the toss, Kent, who decided to bowl first in overcast conditions, made their first breakthrough after 4.4 overs when Matt Milnes, following through off his own bowling, snaffled a bat-pad catch that looped up off the front pad and via the inside edge of Max Holden’s bat to make it 11 for one.

With the floodlights already shining, rain stopped play just before 1pm after 9.3 overs forcing umpires Nigel Llong and Neil Bainton to invite the players to take an early lunch.

Bad light and drizzle had already delayed the start to the match by 75 minutes with the initial loss of 11 overs. Kent opted against giving a debut to Nathan Gilchrist, their loan signing from Somerset, electing instead to give Fred Klassen, the Netherlands left-armer, only his third first-class appearance. Milnes also returned under rotation to replace Harry Podmore.

Last week’s match-winner opening batsman Jordan Cox missed out after a breach of club Covid-19 protocols forced him to self-isolate for a week. He was replaced by Joe Denly following his release from England’s bio-secure Test bubble. Heino Kuhn was given leave of absence to be with his wife Trudie for the birth of their first child.

Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network

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