Essex shot down by Spitfires in Battle of the Bridge

Brian Jeeves

Essex v Kent Spitfires – Vitality Blast – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Report

Essex 184 (19.5 overs)

Kent Spitfires 190/3 (18.2 overs)

Kent Spitfires won the toss and elected to bowl

Kent Spitfires won by seven wickets

Essex missed an opportunity to put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack as Kent Spitfires chased down 184 to win their Vitality Blast Battle of the Bridge clash at a packed Chelmsford.

It was a full house at Chelmsford for Essex’s Vitality Blast clash with Kent Spitfires

With South Group qualification still up for grabs, this was very much a must-win encounter for both sides. Whilst Essex’s recent run of five-successive victories was ended last time out by group leaders Somerset, Kent crossed the river off the back of four wins on the bounce and was very much in contention for a top-four place.

Having been put into bat, the home side were dismissed for a modest 184. Dan Lawrence top-scored, reaching 52 off 36 balls, during his 57-minute stint at the crease. Meanwhile, Matt Critchley and Will Buttleman contributed 31 and Simon Harmer 25. Wes Agar, George Linde, Michael Hogan and Grant Stewart each took two wickets apiece for the visitors.

Dan Lawrence (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Kent made short work of reaching their target with ten balls to spare. Joe Denly reached fifty off just 18 balls and went on to score 76 before he was caught by Critchley off a ball from Shane Snater. Daniel Bell-Drummond was also among the runs. His unbeaten 69 came off 49.

Jordan Cox thrashed Paul Walter over the rope to confirm Kent’s success and move them within two points of their third-paced hosts. 

Speaking to Alex Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex head coach Anthony McGrath: said: “We thought 184 was a good score at halfway. We have used this pitch three times and it was gripping early on. But we were disappointed to lose early wickets at key times and we’ve been bowled out again.

Anthony McGrath (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

“We didn’t bowl well enough. There was enough in that wicket and we were too full. We needed wickets in the powerplay but we’ve been bad with the ball in the last two games.
“Denly batted well and Bell-Drummond, we aren’t taking anything away from Kent, but we didn’t quite get it right.

“We haven’t been at the standard we were when we won five games on the trot. It can happen in this competition but what we have to do is exactly what we did on the run of five; not get too high and now not get too down.

“We’ve shown that even though we have lost wickets in clumps we have almost got 200 so that is a good sign. We’ve just gone away from our plans with the ball and we’re shown that when we get that right we’re a good bowling unit.

“There isn’t too much to get down about. There are still three games left and we are still in a good position.

“It is sad Dan is leaving but we all understand his decision. He is fully committed to the end of the season and we all know he wants to end his Essex career on a high. It is no surprise he is doing the business.”

Essex return to Vitality Blast action on Friday, June 23 when they face Hampshire Hawks at the Ageas Bowl (7pm).

Essex: DW Lawrence, FIN Khushi, MS Pepper, RJ Das, PI Walter, MJJ Critchley, DR Sams, WEL Buttleman†, SR Harmer*, S Snater, ASS Nijjar

Kent Spitfires: TS Muyeye, DJ Bell-Drummond, JL Denly, SW Billings (Capt) (WK), JM Cox, JA Leaning, GF Linde, G Stewart, WA Agar, JDM Evison, MG Hogan

Umpires: RJ Bailey and BJ Debenham

Scorers: AE Choat and LAR Hart

Match Referee: S Bartlett

Brian Jeeves