Recent Match Report – Gloucs vs Kent 34th Match 2022

Gloucestershire 338 for 7 (Phillips 125, Hammond 66, Price 48*) vs Kent

Gloucestershire seized the initiative on day one as the bottom two teams in LV= Insurance County Championship Division One faced-off at Canterbury.

The rock-bottom visitors recovered from being put in and reduced to 46 for 3 to reach stumps on 388 for 7 and eyeing maximum batting points for just the second time this summer.

They were indebted largely to an imperious 125 from Glenn Phillips, in his maiden first-class appearance of the summer, with able support in the form of a half-century from Miles Hammond and Oli Price’s career-best unbeaten 48, compiled on his 21st birthday.

It was only the second time Gloucestershire have passed 280 in their first innings at the seventh time of asking this season and left Kent with plenty to do if they are to force a result in a game considered crucial in the battle to avoid the drop in Division One.

On a warm day, Kent won the toss and raised a few eyebrows when they elected to bowl first, however they were soon in charge with Matt Milnes claiming three early wickets to reduce the visitors to 46 for 3.

Fresh from their Friday night fireworks in the Vitality Blast at Hove, the visitors raced out of the blocks, tucking into some loose bowling from Kent’s new signing, New Zealand seamer Jacob Duffy in particular.

On a day when his side hit 56 boundaries, George Scott set the tone with a clip off his hips to the rope from the very first ball, and there were already 35 runs on the board from 34 balls when Milnes had Scott trapped leg before for 27.

Making the most of the early conditions, with some cloud cover and a touch of movement, Milnes looked a constant threat thundering in from the Nackington Road End and five deliveries later he had James Bracey (1) caught behind by Sam Billings, making his first red-ball appearance since his Test appearance in Hobart in January.

Milnes claimed his third scalp when he had Chris Dent, back in the side after injury, lbw for 11 to leave the visitors teetering on 46 for 3.

After taking 105 wickets across the past three County Championship seasons at less than 25, the right-armer had claimed only four wickets in his five County Championship appearances so far this season at an average north of 120.

Only 43 scoring shots were played in the first session but the visitors converted them into a lunchtime score of 114 for 3, thanks in large part to 19 fours in the opening session.

It was Hammond and Phillips who steadied the Gloucestershire ship and after the interval they brought up three figures for the fourth wicket from only 154 deliveries.

Hammond, who averaged less than 26 in his 11 County Championship innings this season, brought up his half-century from 90 deliveries while Phillips followed suit from just 71 balls soon after.

Kent got the breakthrough they were desperately seeking when Grant Stewart got Hammond to feather one to Billings for an eye-catching 66, featuring a dozen fours, to break a stand of 138 with Phillips and make it 184 for 4.

Phillips was unperturbed and reached his seventh first-class century from 124 deliveries, which featured 13 fours and a delicious straight six off South African spinner George Linde. The 25-year-old Kiwi international had made only 109 runs across six first-class innings with Gloucestershire last summer but blew past that number in style on a scorching Canterbury afternoon.

He and stand-in skipper Ryan Higgins added a breezy 69 for the fifth wicket to steer their side past 250 before Duffy – switching to the Nackington Road end where he tightened up significantly – claimed his first Kent scalp, getting Higgins (24) to edge to Billings, who had missed the chance to stump him moments earlier. Duffy once played club cricket in Gloucestershire for Bristol-based Bishopston CC.

Batting on his 21st-birthday, Oli Price helped the score on to 288 for 5 before Phillips eventually holed out to his tumbling countryman Duffy off the bowling of Stewart for 125.

Tom Price joined his younger brother in the middle and the runs continued to flow until Tom mistimed a pull to Jack Leaning in the deep for a brisk 39 to end a 62-run partnership and give Duffy his second scalp.

Zafar Gohar cracked his side’s 50th four of the day, becoming the eighth man to find the ropes as the shadows lengthened and is unbeaten overnight on 24 after sharing an unbroken 38 for the eighth wicket with Oli Price.

Wicketkeeper-batter Ollie Robinson was awarded Kent cap No.222 during the lunch interval.

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