Spitfires make history securing win
Spitfires make history securing win

Centuries from Darren Stevens and Sam Northeast helped Kent to a world record victory over the Sussex Sharks in the YB40 at Canterbury.Cricket - Yorkshire Bank 40 - Kent v Sussex - The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury, England

Never before in the history of the game had a side successfully chased down 337 to win a forty over game anywhere in the world, but all that changed on Wednesday night as the Spitfires put on one of the most remarkable shows at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence that any Kent fan would ever wish to see.

On an evening that many a Kent fan will say they were there, the side dared to dream as they showed all the character and resolve to chase down the mammoth target, winning by three wickets with nine balls to spare.

In years to come, the records will show that Kent Spitfires were victorious, but what it won’t show is how they got there.

In a game that saw 673 runs, three centurions, 12 wickets, two players injured and the most incredible end you will ever see, Kent take the two points that keeps their chances of making a Lord’s final well and truly alive.

The game started in spectacular fashion after Kent skipper Geraint Jones had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

It looked to have been a decision that he’d live to regret as Sussex openers Luke Wright and Chris Nash took the Kent attack apart with some serious hitting.

The pair put on 194 for the opening wicket inside nineteen overs and already their were suggestions that the game was already over with three quarters of the match still to play.

Common sense would tell you that would be the case 99 times out of 100 as Sussex looked destined for 400 at one stage.

The fall of Wright for 115 off just 61 balls proved to be a turning point though as Calum Haggett had him caught by Adam Riley at a short third man.

When Nash fell to namesake Brendan shortly after for 83, Kent were finally able to exert some pressure on the visitors who found batting harder against the likes of Adam Riley and Darren Stevens.

The latter was to chip in with the wickets of Ed Joyce (11) and Rory Hamilton-Brown (31) whilst former England all-rounder Michael Yardy nudged his way to 46 before Haggett picked up his second wicket of the evening.

In the end, the Sharks were to go in at the interval having posted 336 for 5 with Matt Machan 41 not out, obviously believing they had done enough to win the game.

Kent were to have other ideas though and came out with a sense of purpose and belief they could pull off a shock.

Rob Key and Sam Northeast showed all the necessary composure to get the side off to a great start putting on 109 for the first wicket inside 13 overs.

Key was to fall for 52 off just 43 balls, setting the game up nicely and although Alex Blake was to go for 14 not long after, there was still a sense in the crowd the game was still their to be won.

Blake’s dismissal proved to be a turning point as it brought the in form Darren Stevens to the wicket and after playing himself in for a few balls, the former Leicestershire all-rounder went through the gears before smashing the Sussex attack to all parts.Cricket - Yorkshire Bank 40 - Kent v Sussex - The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury, England

In an innings that has rarely been seen at any cricket ground over the years, Stevens was in imperious form as he slammed the ball to all parts of the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

Sam Northeast played his part too as the pair edged the side ever closer to their 337 target. Stevens was to get to his century first off just 44 balls in an innings that included 12 fours and 7 sixes.

In the end the pair were to have put on 159 in just 16.1 overs as they guided Kent to 291 for 3 with Stevens the first to fall when on 118, picking out Machan on the rope off Joe Anyon’s bowling.

With the side still needing 46 for victory, Kent had a brief wobble as they chased down the target with Ben Harmison lbw to Will Beer for one in the very next over.

Northeast was to have brought up his own century though off 90 balls (9 fours and a six) and with Geraint Jones’ help took Kent to within 14 of their target.

When Northeast danced straight past one that turned from Beer and was stumped, there was a little nervousness in the crowd. That grew when Calum Haggett pinged the ball straight to Nash at square leg just two balls later.

Mitch Claydon came in and not having read the script elected to smash Beer into the crowd for six off his first ball.

There was still time for late drama though with Claydon run out for 8 with the scores level, but a wide from Luke Wright was enough to see the Spitfires home to what can only be described as one of the most remarkable wins in Kent’s history.

Fans will talk about this game for a very long time and if Kent can harness the confidence they will have gained from it, the season could be a great one after all.

Kent won the toss and elected to bowl.

Kent Spitfires side: Key, Northeast, Blake, Stevens, Harmison, Jones, Haggett, Claydon, Nash, Davies, Riley.

Sussex Sharks side: Wright, Nash, Hamilton-Brown, Joyce, Yardy, Machan, Brown, Beer, Anyon, Hatchett, Liddle.

Result: Sussex 336 for 5 (40 overs – Wright 115), Kent 337 for 7 (38.3 overs – Stevens 118, Northeast 115). Kent won by three wickets.

Pictures supplied by www.sarahansellphotography.com