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Kent take charge at Canterbury
Kent take charge at Canterbury

Somerset were 195 for nine at stumps on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship with Kent at Canterbury, after Nathan Gilchrist boosted Kent’s survival hopes with five for 55. 

Lewis Goldsworthy is unbeaten on 93, after almost single-handedly helping the visitors recover from nine for three. Craig Overton was the next highest scorer with 30 and his stand of 65 with Goldsworthy for the sixth wicket looked to have steered the visitors out of danger, until Gilchrist produced a spell of three for nought in nine balls. 

Gilchrist was on a hat-trick when bad light and rain stopped play at 5.07pm, while Matt Quinn has 3 for 32. 

The hosts began knowing they needed 10 points to avoid relegation to Division Two. Heavy overnight rain delayed the start at the Spitfire Ground, but play eventually began at noon, with Somerset opting to bat despite heavy cloud cover. 

Kent immediately made inroads, Quinn getting Tom Lammonby caught for a duck by Jack Leaning at second slip with the fourth ball of the match. Gilchrist then removed Tom Abell for five, caught by the same fielder and when Andrew Umeed was lbw to Quinn for four Kent had taken just 28 minutes to secure a first bonus point.  

It might have been worse for the visitors, but Goldsworthy was put down by Ollie Robinson off Gilchrist and they recovered to 43 for three at lunch. 

There was a painful start to the afternoon session, in more than one sense, for George Bartlett. Gilchrist’s second ball hit him amidships and after staggering back to the crease he was caught behind off the next ball. 

Conor McKerr was initially denied the wicket of James Rew when he was dropped by Zak Crawley at first slip, but he edged the very next delivery to Daniel Bell-Drummond at third slip and was out for 16. 

Ben Green had made 12 when Quinn clipped the top of his middle stump, but an elegant cover drive off Gilchrist took Goldsworthy to his half-century and when Crawley then dropped Overton off Gilchrist Kent were punished, as the visitors responded with their biggest stand of the innings. 

Overton was on 27 when Ollie Robinson missed a difficult, one-handed chance off Gilchrist, but he was out in Gilchrist’s next over, his off stump sent flying for 30. Gilchrist then had Kasey Aldridge caught by Robinson for a duck and with his next delivery he pinned Sajid Khan lbw next ball, securing Kent a third bowling bonus point.  

With the light deteriorating, Jack Brooks came in to face the hat-trick ball while the umpires were conferring. The game was halted at 5.07pm before Brooks could take guard and when heavy rain then began to fall play was abandoned, forcing Gilchrist to have to sleep on what would be his first ever hat-trick. 

Kent’s Nathan Gilchrist said: “We’ll all very pleased after today, obviously the wicket helped us a little bit early on and then especially when there was cloud cover and the lights came on and it carried on moving around. It was a good day to be a bowler today. 

“It was moving around quite a bit early doors. It was raining quite a bit overnight and we knew there was a bit of moisture around, but the wicket looked pretty good, so we didn’t quite know how it was going to play. Luckily it played into our hands. We’ve had a good few weeks coming off the Royal London win and then last week beating Hampshire, so we’re trying to use that momentum and bring it into this week. 

(What was the pick of his wickets?) “I don’t know, I’ve got a few of my Somerset mates in there so probably George Bartlett’s. It’s always nice to do well against your old county. This is the first time I’ve played them since I left so I’m off to a good start.” 

(On the hat-trick ball, tomorrow morning) “There’s a lot of planning going on tonight into what ball I’m going to bowl in the morning, but yeah, I think we’re probably going to stick to the same method, get the last wicket and then hopefully bat well tomorrow. Obviously you don’t know what a good score is until both teams bat, but we came into this game with the expectation that it would be a pretty good wicket, knowing that we need at least a draw. Coming off last week, that was a tricky wicket to bat on, but the boys did a really good job, so hopefully the boys can do it again.” 

Somerset’s Lewis Goldsworthy said: “It looked a good wicket when we saw it. Traditionally this year I think there have been good pitches here as well, but I think in the first 10 to 15 overs it did more than expected and they got it right. I think there were a few maybe softish dismissals, but nothing to be frowned on. They bowled well, we had to deal with that and try and build a couple of partnerships. 

“The wicket did get better I think, but as you saw towards the end there’s still balls out there that can get you out. We’re probably a few short but it’s not all doom and gloom. With there being good balls around I thought I’d try and be as proactive as I could be and that probably got me a few more boundary options off bad balls.  

“I’ve had a pretty good year, obviously it’s nice to come here and get some runs at the end of the season. Hopefully I can try and kick on a bit with Brooks tomorrow. The partnership with Craig was all about rotating the strike and trying to be positive, which he can do, and he got a good ball from Gilly. 200 is probably a little bit below par but hopefully we can scramble a few more tomorrow. I think maybe 250 maybe 300 would have been par, if we’d batted well but we’ve got some good bowlers and we can really pull that back I think.”