Spitfires taken down by Surrey
Spitfires taken down by Surrey

Kent succumbed to another defeat in the Royal One Day Cup South Group against neighbours Surrey at The Oval on a day ending in sunshine that had been impacted upon by two rain delays earlier in the day.

Despite their strong County Championship start Kent’s one day exploits haven’t lived up to the same as going into this game they sat bottom of the group with no chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages whilst hosts Surrey had a small glimmer of hope of qualifying if results were to go their way.

Kent made three changes as Sam Billings, Calum Haggett and Ivan Thomas came in for Adam Rouse, James Harris and Sean Dickson.

Play was temporarily delayed due to rain although the number of over’s remained the same but during the Surrey innings the teams were brought off twice reducing the game to forty-six over’s and then forty-one.

In an electric start for the hosts they took advantage of the fielding restrictions as Matt Coles’ opening over went for sixteen. Surrey were certainly in the mood in the opening few over’s with a run-rate in excess of ten-an-over.

Kent had to be patient, stick to their principles and keep their discipline to the early onslaught and on their respective returns to the first team Calum Haggett and Sam Billings combined to take the opening wicket – An excellent delivery by the all-rounder tempted Stoneman (10) to drive and was well taken by the wicket-keeper, diving to his left (34/1).

In Haggett’s next over Sangakkara (2) flailed at a wide-ish ball outside off-stump and although Daniel Bell-Drummond got a hand to it the ball went to ground – An extremely tough chance which at the very least saved runs.

After the first of two rain delays Kent dug in and in stemming the flow of runs tempted Jason Roy (44) to go big and over the top off the bowling of youngster Ivan Thomas but without getting enough of the bat to ball he found Daniel Bell-Drummond on the boundary (81/2).

Joe Denly’s fine catching form continued as Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara (19) cut Darren Stevens into the off-side but close enough to the Kent man at Point to take a low catch to his left leaving Surrey 86/3 and beginning to falter after a fine start.

Kent’s efforts after the first rain-break were further rewarded as Stevens took the honours once more as Rory Burns (11) could only edge an excellent full-length delivery to James Tredwell at first slip, the hosts 108/4.

With the hosts maintaining a steady run-rate just above five-an-over despite the stoppages Borthwick (17) somewhat inexplicably gave his wicket away tamely chipping a Charlie Hartley delivery straight to Stevens to take the simplest of catches (141/5).

The hosts continued to forage runs and as they approached the final few over’s Foakes reached his half century and was ably supported by Sam Curran who showed intent playing shots all around the ground.

And it was in the final throws of the innings that Sam Curran (39) looked to hit Matt Coles out the ground but could only achieve an edge which Billings took comfortably (220/6, 37).

The in-form Bell-Drummond and Denly opened the innings for The Spitfires to chase own the required total, amended to 249 due to the earlier rain interruptions but were to soon lose one of their opening pair as Tom Curran got the ball to squeeze between Bell-Drummond’s (11) bat and pads, clean bowling him, Kent 20/1 (4.3).

Settling in and consolidating his position at the crease fellow opener Denly (34) unfortunately joined Bell-Drummond back in the pavilion playing on to his stumps off the bowling of Meaker, The Spitfires 52/2 (11.4).

Captain Northeast was now joined by Billings, the latter fresh from his IPL and England exploits playing for Kent for the first time this season, with both playing assuredly to settle Kent’s innings and hopes of victory.

Unfortunately for the pair and for Kent the captain was run out in disappointing fashion as Billings fended off a straight ball into the square with Northeast advancing down the wicket to almost be stood next to Billings, who was unmoved.

Gareth Batty removed the bails by which time Northeast (17) was already walking back to the pavilion, Kent 90/3 (18.1).

With Stevens and Billings in to bat Kent had the potential to score quickly and put pressure on their hosts and no sooner had Stevens brought up The Spitfires hundred with a single Kent’s target was 147 in the final twenty over’s – In T20 terms that score would be very achievable.

Billings certainly showed a hint of the form that earned him an IPL deal as he hit a six followed by a four to force pressure upon Surrey’s slower bowlers but Stevens (5) soon found himself trapped in front of his stumps by Borthwick, given out leg-before, Kent 114/4 (22) with Billings 44*.

Billings took on the mantle for The Spitfires with a single to bring up his seventeenth one-day half-century (43b, 1×4, 2×6) with the explosive and dangerous Alex Blake joining him however despite a partnership providing some quick runs it wasn’t to last too long as Blake (22) holed out to Rampaul off the bowling of Sam Curran with Kent five-down for 143.

New-man Haggett joined the steadfast Billings to edge Kent closer to their required goal and a straight-drive by Haggett for four brought about Kent’s one-fifty but significantly reduced the required number of runs to double-figures.

As the remaining ten overs were upon the two sides Kent lost their sixth wicket, Haggett (11) missing a straight one, clean bowled by Sam Curran with the visitors requiring seventy-nine more runs to win from sixty balls.

With Billings going strong Kent were always in with a shout plugging away and reducing the total mainly with singles finding gaps in the Surrey field but Billings’ stay was to end when it perhaps didn’t need to pulling a Sam Curran short ball straight to brother Tom – Billings out for 69 leaving Kent 183/7 needing 66 from fifty balls.

The disappointment for Kent fans would have been that seven runs had already come from that over and a big shot wasn’t necessarily required at that stage in proceedings.

Hoping for the Kent tail to wag Tredwell (0, 184/8) and Hartley (0, 184/9) didn’t hang around for long, both falling to Meaker, leaving Coles with number eleven Thomas to dig in and take Kent to an increasingly unlikely victory.

An entertaining over incorporating wide’s & free hits brought Kent to 196/9, Coles 17*, Thomas 0*, Kent requiring 53 runs to win from 36 balls, was followed by an enormous six by Coles pulled high and almost out of the ground, in turn bringing up Kent’s two-hundred.

A short time later Coles (25), continuing his intent to hit the ball hard and long, top-edged a Meaker delivery behind to wicket-keeper Foakes who took the catch to end The Spitfires’ innings and give the hosts victory by 44 runs.


Surrey Lions: Roy, Stoneman, Borthwick, Sangakkara, Burns, Foakes (w), S. Curran, T. Curran, Batty ©, Meaker, Rampaul

Kent Spitfires: Bell-Drummond, Denly, Billings (w), Northeast ©, Stevens, Blake, Haggett, Coles, Tredwell, Hartley, Thomas

Surrey Lions: 251/7 (Foakes 82*, Roy 44, S Curran 39; Stevens 2/37 Thomas 2/51)

Kent Spitfires: 204ao (Billings 69, Denly 34; Meaker 4/37, S. Curran 3/43)