Spitfires stuffed at Beckenham
Spitfires stuffed at Beckenham

Graham Clark and Alex Lees both hit centuries as Durham trounced Kent Spitfires by 103 runs in their Royal London Cup match at Beckenham. 

The visitors posted their highest ever 50-over score of 405 for four, eclipsing their previous record of 353 for eight, set against Nottinghamshire in 2014. 

Clark hit 141 from 119 balls, with two sixes and 20 fours, while Lees made a relatively pedestrian 100 from 98, including one six and seven fours.  

David Beddingham then thrashed 67 and Cameron Bancroft finished unbeaten on 60. 

Chris Rushworth took 3-29 to flatten Kent’s top order and although George Munsey made 96 and Harry Finch 64, the hosts fell well behind the run rate and eventually closed on 302 for eight. 

On a sweltering day Kent won the toss, chose to field and repented at leisure: four catches went down off batsmen who went on to add a combined total of 225 after being reprieved. 

Finch dropped Lees when he was on seven after he’d edged Harry Podmore, who himself spilled Clark when he was on 41. Beddingham was twice dropped in his thirties, first by Hamid Qadri and again by Tawanda Muyeye, 

Clark got to three figures with a push to midwicket and finally perished when he swatted Marcus O’Riordan to Matt Quinn. Lees reached his hundred with a pull off Quinn and although he hit the very next delivery straight to Darren Stevens, Beddingham maintained the momentum, hitting his first ball for six. 

Beddingham rode his luck before he eventually holed out to Stevens and was caught by Kuhn. Sean Dickson was then brilliantly run out for six by Ollie Robinson, with a direct hit from square leg, but the runs kept flowing. Liam Trevaskis hit the next ball for six and the final over went for 20. 

Rushworth struck early in the Kent innings to remove Muyeye for 15, caught by Scott Borthwick. The same combination then removed Robinson for eight and Kuhn for six, reducing Kent to 50 for three.  

Munsey and Finch put on 138 for the next wicket, but the former fell agonisingly close to his century when he swiped Paul van Meekeren to Trevaskis and Stevens made just three when he hit Jack Campbell to Lees. 

With the required rate rising to well over double figures, Finch was bowled by Luke Doneathy and Podmore chipped Trevaskis to Borthwick for two. With the ground emptying rapidly, Marcus O’Riordan attempted to sweep Doneathy and was bowled for 22, although Qadri and James Logan showed some defiance to bat out the remaining overs and push the total over 300, finishing on 42 and 16 not out respectively.   

Kent’s Simon Cook said: “I don’t think you can go far beyond the fielding performance (for what went wrong). We bowled reasonably well on a very flat wicket. We know it’s a good wicket for chasing and generally yields over 300 runs, but we had a couple of slip ups in the field and dropped catches, including two in the powerplay, which at that point would have certainly checked the scoring rate, and another in the 40th over which would have slowed them down. 

“We were very confident of being able to chase down anything between 330 and 350 and if we’d taken those chances there was every chance that would have been the score we would have ended up chasing. We ended up stumbling our way to 300, so that just goes to prove how good a wicket it was.” 

Durham’s Graham Clark said: “Lees hasn’t played any cricket for quite some time so to come back in and score a hundred like shows just how good he is. It takes a lot of pressure off me at the other end, so it was just nice to spend some time together and watch him go about his business. He was brilliant. 

“I don’t really take a lot of note of dropped catches, we just had a job to do and once we were out in the middle was wanted to score as many runs as we could. Fortunately we were lucky enough to post a really big total. It was a battter’s paradise to be honest. It was pretty flat, no real movement so there were runs to be had. The lads who came in the lower order managed to boost the score to 400, it took quite an effort from those guys, and once we were there we’d pretty much killed the game already.”