Spitfires lead the way as rain takes its toll
“Winning promotion or trophies is a long way off, but it’s closer than what it was a few games ago.”
The 36-year-old former West Indies Test batsmen admitted leading the pack was a new experience for the majority of his team-mates in the Canterbury dressing room.
He said: “For the first time in a little while we’re at the top of a competition and that’s quite important. It’s one of the challenges we face as a group, Kent’s hopes of collecting a fourth win of the season in the Royal London One-Day Cup were thwarted by the rain against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Friday. The weather also led to Sunday’s clash with Birmingham Bears at Rugby School being abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Needing 229 to win against the Outlaws, Kent were 48-2 from eight overs, when rain forced the match to be abandoned.
The teams – both of whom went into the game unbeaten – each received one point, with the point from Sunday’s abandonment in Warwickshire keeping Kent top of Group B, two clear of the chasing pack of four.
After rain had led to a delayed start the match was reduced to 43 overs-a-side and Nottinghamshire were 70-2 from 16 overs when the weather intervened again, further reducing the contest to 38 overs.
The home side closed on 228-7 with Mitch Claydon finishing with 3-37 from eight overs, while Doug Bollinger took 2-66 from eight.
Kent’s reply began badly when Daniel Bell-Drummond fell for a duck to Jake Ball, to the second ball he faced, but Sam Northeast and Ben Harmison (19 not out) then added 43 before acting skipper Northeast fell to Ajmal Shazah for 21.
Four runs later the rain returned leaving umpires Nick Cook and Stephen Gale with no option but to abandon the contest at 8.30pm.
all-rounder Darren Stevens starred as Kent went top with a six-wicket win against Glamorgan in Canterbury last Wednesday.
Bollinger equalled his career-best domestic one-day figures of 5-35 to help dismiss the visitors for 209 after they had won the toss and decided to bat at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.
Stevens then hit 62 not out off 59 balls, an innings that included three sixes and four fours, to help ease Kent home with 38 balls to spare.
The victory kept Kent unbeaten after earlier wins against Durham, Somerset and Glamorgan, and the tie against Surrey.
Chris Cooke top scored for Glamorgan with 73 before he became one of Bollinger’s victims, while veteran Murray Goodwin made 40 before the visitors were all out in the 47th over.
Stevens took 2-36, which included his 100th list A wicket when he caught and bowled opener Will Bragg for 30.
Bell-Drummond (5) fell early in Kent’s reply before Northeast (33) and Harmison (43) shared a second-wicket partnership of 65, only for spinner Dean Cosker (3-56) to remove Harmison.
Fabian Cowdrey (42) and Northeast took the score to 107 before Cosker bowled Northeast.
That brought Stevens to the crease and he put on 70 with Cowdrey before the latter became Cosker’s third scalp after being caught at mid-on.
Alex Blake (12 not out) then joined Stevens to guide Kent home and move them two points clear at the top of the group.
Cowdrey scored a career-best 75 off 87 balls in a dramatic tie with Surrey at The Oval the previous night.
In-form Sam Billings clubbed 87 from just 42 balls and Northeast hit 63 as Kent posted 314-8 after winning the toss.
Despite the hosts needing 16 from the final over from Claydon, Zafar Ansari smashed 15 from the first four balls, though Gareth Batty swung and missed at the penultimate ball and was then run out off the final ball by James Tredwell to secure a share of the points.
Kent’s Brendan Nash insists they can’t look too far ahead
Doug Bollinger in action against Glamorgan