Kent romp to Durham victory
Kent romp to Durham victory

Matt Henry claimed career-best match figures of 12/73 to guide Kent to a comfortable victory over Durham in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at Emirates Riverside.

The New Zealand seamer dominated with the ball in both of the home side’s innings. In the first he set the tone by dismissing Aiden Markram. The 26-year-old notched five wickets on day one before returning with even better spell of bowling in the second. He tore through Durham’s batting line-up, finishing with career-best innings figures of 7/45.

The home side began the day 13-1 after losing Markram for a duck in the evening session on day one. Will Smith and Matthew Potts returned to the crease, with Smith dispatching the first ball of the day to the boundary. However, it was all downhill from that point as Smith was caught at slip by Sean Dickson for 12 off as Henry continued to torment Durham’s batsmen. The New Zealander struck in his next over when he clean bowled Gareth Harte for one.

Kent’s ability to apply pressure from both ends was integral to their success in the contest. Darren Stevens highlighted the point when he removed Graham Clark for a duck. Paul Collingwood arrived at the crease with his team in desperate need of a stoic knock from their skipper, but he lasted just deliveries before he edged Stevens behind the Heino Kuhn in the slip cordon.

After Smith’s boundary off the first ball of the second morning the home side had lost 4 wickets in 3.5 overs, scoring just seven runs in the process. Michael Richardson edged Henry through the slips to notch a boundary. However, the 26-year-old had his revenge when Richardson knicked off behind from a brilliant ball. Stuart Poynter joined the collapse as he was adjudged lbw to the New Zealander, leaving Durham 39-7.

Resistance finally came from the hosts when Matthew Potts scored 36 with a composed knock at the crease. The 19-year-old had been the nightwatchman and remained in position until Durham had forced Kent to bat again. After his dismissal, James Weighell took centre stage and batted brilliantly with Nathan Rimmington. The pair put on 50 in 52 deliveries taking the north east side over the 100-run mark.

Henry returned to remove Rimmington for 25, but Weighell issued a response to take the attack to the visitors. He scored his third first-class fifty, reaching the milestone off 69 deliveries. Weighell’s found the boundary with regularity, including three sixes, in his innings of 84, which was ended going for one shot too many off Henry, with Durham’s advantage at 92.

Kent lost Sean Dickson for three early in their push for victory. Heino Kuhn (36*) survived a dropped chance, three inside edges and being bowled off a no ball to guide his team over the line with Daniel Bell-Drummond (45*) in a partnership of 91, securing the win by nine wickets.

On Kent’s win, Matt Henry had this to say: “It was a hell of an effort from the guys today. We knew we had to bowl well this morning and it was important that we challenged their defence. I thought we did that really well. Obviously to come away with the result inside two days is very special.”

Getting career-best figures of 12/73, Henry was delighted: “It was great to have the rewards at the end there. We came in with a pretty simple gameplan, we knew that we have to be full and straight for long periods of time. I felt we did that in partnerships, everyone did really well. It was great to have the rewards myself.”

“It was coming out really nice. It’s always good when it comes off because sometimes when you’re bowling nice you don’t get the reward.”

Chasing down 93 to win, Henry felt the side were really professional: “We were pretty confident that we could chase down the total. We knew it was a good surface and we knew that our batsmen would be fine out there. It was just a matter of restricting them as well as we could and it was a good knock to see the runs off at the end.”

Bouncing back from defeat to Gloucestershire, Henry was glad the side got straight back to winning ways: We knew that we weren’t far off last week. There was a lot in that wicket. Coming back from that was really good. It was hard to come back from a first innings of 60 odd. It wasn’t too much of a blow to our confidence last week because we knew that we were on the right track and I think we showed that today.”

As for an international call-up with New Zealand, Henry is just hoping to keep doing what he’s doing with Kent: “I’m just really enjoying my cricket here at the moment and getting a result here for Kent.”

Report by Simon Sinclair / ECB Reporters Network