I’m going to roll Days 3 and 4 into one, which means lots of photos!  And in the case of Kent’s second innings lots of photos of 2 players in particular.

I didn’t quite get myself in gear for Day 3, I have no idea how I managed to work and arrive in time (wish), when I can’t make the start of an 11am start for cricket in the town I live in!

I was hoping to see Ryan ten Doeschate build on his innings and make that century, but he he’d fallen prey to Mitch Claydon, being caught behind by Callum Jackson on 91 – that meant Essex had 4 batsmen with over 80 runs, but no century.  Essex were on 514 for 7 with the big hitter Graham Napier in next.

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However I didn’t get to see Napier bat, he was despatched by Kagiso Rabada who’d had a mixed time with the Duke ball during this match, another catch by his fellow debutant Jackson, Napier had made a disappointing 12 and Essex had moved on to 527 for 8.

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Matt Quinn and James Foster were at the crease when I rocked up at around 11:45, very tardy for an 11am start!  No idea what I was doing to delay me!

I hadn’t seen the tall Quinn bat, I do wonder at times if it’s very awkward to bat when you’re a tall bloke!  Many of the top batsmen in the world are or have been diminutive in stature, David Warner, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Smith, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan are all small men, proving the art of batting is all about skill rather than brute force.

Quinn look good with bat in hand, he was facing Rabada and lasted for 30 minutes before becoming Rabada’s 4th wicket after being caught LBW. Essex were building what shock have been an unassailable lead, they were on 565 for 9 and Foster was showing his value with the bat.

With plenty go time remaining it made sense for Essex to bat on, Jamie Porter was next up,  Kent must have been despairing having spent well over a day in the field.  They didn’t have too long to wait, Foster was approaching his half century but was cut off on 49 being caught by Darren Stevens from the bowling of Joe Denly.  Essex finished on 569 all out, with Porter making 4 before Foster was out.  They had a lead of 362.

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Sean Dickson and Fabian Cowdrey opened the batting, that must have been tough after hours and hours in the field, they’d both failed in the first innings and they both failed in this innings.  Graham Napier took the first wicket, with Dickson being caught by Alastair Cook with 3 to his name.  Kent were on 18.  His fellow opener Cowdrey fell to Jamie Porter in the next over – Kent were now 18 for 2 and looking at a disastrous innings again! Cowdrey had scored 15 of the 18.

The left Joe Denly and captain Sam Northeast batting, the collapse continued with Denly becoming Porter’s next victim, he as on 2 when he was deemed to be LBW – Kent had amassed 29 for their 3 wickets.

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Darren Stevens came to the crease and looked set along with Northeast who was showing what he’s capable of, Ravi Bopara took his wicket LBW when he was on 25 and Kent were on 86 for 4.

Alex Blake who’d had a great first innings joint the collapse in the second, a key wicket for Essex he faced only 3 balls before Bopara caught him from the bowling of Quinn.  Collapse would be the right word here as Kent fell to 89 for 5.

Bopara took the wicket of the next batsman in Adam Ball, he was LBW for 8, bringing in newbie Callum Jackson his 4 didn’t add much to the total as bowler and catcher swapped, with Quinn catching him from the bowling of Bopara.  Kent were on 128 for 7.  Was there any way they could avoid an innings defeat.

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Well yes, there was a way, in the form of Sam Northeast and James Tredwell.  They took their team t 252 at stumps a stand of 124 with Northeast at last seeing a century scored, on 116 and Tredwell on 62.  Kent would live to fight another day.

I’d envisaged an early finish for Day 4, so actually manage dot get my act together to arrive in time for the start.  I’d decided not to drink tea before I left and was waiting for a wicket to fall with the new ball before I war and got one from the pavilion.  That was a schoolgirl error as the wicket didn’t come, I gave up and got said cuppa after 90 minutes of resistance from Northeast and Tredwell.

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In the same way that Kent had struggled to get a wicket so Essex struggled too, it was every hard to see where a wicket was going to come from.  Tredwell moved on to a deserved century, I am an Essex member and fan, but I must say it was a joy to watch these 2 bat, they both deserved their record 8th wicket partnership.

That partnership had reached 222 and Tredwell had amassed a personal record of 124 before Matt Quinn got the breakthrough for Essex, bowling round the wicket from the River End, Tredwell put a ball up and was caught by captain Ryan ten Doeschate.  the 128 for 7 had tuned into 350 for 8, a superb effort by the 2 Kent men!

I’d hoped Northeast would go on to make a double century but he was running out of partners.  Rabada, who’d looked confident with the bat in the first innings was bamboozled by a Quinn ball, being caught behind by James Foster, for 5.

Kent were still trailing Essex by 9 runs as Mitch Claydon came into the action, it was Sam Northeast who took his team past the Essex total with 3 fours, he moved on to 165 as he did so.

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Claydon skied a Quinn ball to Ravi Bopara, meaning he had a part to play in 5 wickets and Quinn had taken 4 – Kent finished their innings on what had look like a highly unlikely 370 and Sam Northeast had 166 to his name.  It was good to see Alastair Cook congratulate the Kent captain as he left the field,  That 166 takes Northeast to 804 runs in the County Championship this season.

Essex needed 9 runs to get what was a valuable win, Nick Browne scored 8 of them in the first over, Alastair Cook the 1 needed in the second.  Essex leapfrogged Kent ball to the top of the Division 2 table and won back the Dennis Shield.  All in all 4 great days of cricket!

 

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