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Kent v Middlesex 8th August 2011
Discussion started by BarmierKev , 20 August, 2019 09:43
Kent v Middlesex 8th August 2011
BarmierKev 20 August, 2019 09:43
I make no apologies for my Rob over indulgence. The report is archived but was able to dig up the narrative from my messenger.

I've rarely seen the variable nature of county cricket so well represented as in the past two days. On Wednesday, I was sunburnt and sweaty watching a riotous day's play at a busy Colchester. Today, the weather was sombre and chilled - the coldest August day I can ever remember in 36 summers of cricket watching - and the play often matched the mood; attritional and rarely spectacular, in front of a relatively sparse scattering of spectators. Yet in its own way, every bit as valid as the pyrotechnics of the previous day.

Kent fans have grown accustomed to their team chasing leather in this 'difficult' season and that was certainly my expectation this morning, with Middx 55 without loss and Rogers (who has plenty of previous against Kent) due in next. But the home attack, fortified no doubt by their astonishing (and, I understand, widely appreciated) success against Surrey last week, worked hard all day to keep them in check. The fielding was keen and even the usually laid back Key took time to rollock Riaz for signing an autograph on the rope when he should have been changing position. That said, neither Robson or Newman seemed duly troubled as they advanced their opening stand to within one of a century, before the former was snaffled sharply by Tredwell at second slip. Robson looked impressive as did Rogers in his thankfully brief stay and when the 200 was raised for just two out, it looked like Kent could again be facing a 200+ first innings deficit - and consequently another inevitable innings or 10 wicket defeat.

However, the arrival of an old Middx and QPR-supporting acquaintance seemed to herald a distinct twist in the plot, as well as inspiring my group of friends to a more freeflowing level of conversation. Somebody asked if, prior to Dexter, Middx had ever signed a former Kent player to successful effect; the name of Downton was cited, and I suggested the former stumper holds a unique record - the only player to have been ever-present in Championship winning campaigns for two different counties. Such warm nostalgia is big in Kent at present, as you'd expect from a club scaling depths uncharted for half a century...last week, Knott and Underwood were in attendance to open the stand renamed in their honour, while John Shepherd was once again spotted today, doing the meets and greets with glass of chardonnay in his non-bowling hand.

As Robson moved smoothly into the nineties, our new arrival explained that he'd three times had an innings finish at 94 this season; when he pushed on to 95, cheering erupted (from one person only), but was quickly snuffed out when a thin edge was taken by Jones. I took this opportunity to visit the gents and was just in the process of rezipping when I heard a distant noise - Dexter had gone first ball and Kent were suddenly back in the match. You might have thought that our party would now be keenly focused on every delivery, each fielding change, every subtle nuance of play. Well, we were to an extent but somehow the question "why does the Dutch football team have an away kit?" seemed of more pressing urgency. I mean, why do they? How many other tangerine clad sides do they ever face? In fact, do they actually have an away kit? Several potentially tricky opponents were suggested: Easy Jet Works Team...Ulster Protestants FC.....the Kent security stewards playing in only their vests. But, just as we were getting close to solving this conundrum, James Tredwell went and distracted us with his own two-in-two spell, leaving Middx 209-6, having lost their last 5 wickets for as many runs.

Smith was the only other casualty, a third victim for Coles, and it was good to see Kent's strapping young allrounder charging in and taking wickets. All the while, Malan had been standing resolute and impassive at the other end. I commented that I couldn't believe he only had 30-odd as it seemed he'd been in for ages and was striking the ball pretty well. When fading light brought an end to proceedings around teatime, he'd moved past his 50 and it could be an important match-influencing, if not actually match-winning contribution. If he can hang around for a further hour tomorrow, Middx should achieve a 50 or 60 run lead; with Finn returning from The Oval to replace Crook, that could be a telling advantage.

Four years ago in mid-August, Matt Walker hit 197 against title chasing Lancashire, with Flintoff, on a blazing Canterbury afternoon. It was so hot that a fair skinned friend of mine pleaded that we sit in the shade as he thought he was going to pass out. Today, Kent's only aim was to avoid bottom place in the entire Championship. An Ashes-winning bowler was spotted, but only en route from his car, carrying his kit. And it felt like it was about 25C colder. But, it's still bats, balls and stupid conversation whatever the weather and however one's side is playing. An enjoyable day...but I still can't remember if I ever saw Johann Neeskens in blue.

Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

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