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Mark Pennell at Tunbridge Wells
June 6, 2012
Hampshire 50 for 3 v Kent
For 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells', read 'Frustrated of Tunbridge Wells'.
For the first time since 1908, when Kent's three-day game against Sussex was washed out without a ball being bowled, the Men of Kent and Kentish Men feared that the flash flood that struck the Royal Spa Town in the early hours of Sunday morning would turn their celebrations for the 100th Tunbridge Wells Week into something of a damp squib.
The natives, though restless, remained encamped in their marquees quaffing pints of foaming Shepherd & Neame and emerging only to watch the five pitch inspections held by umpires Steve Gale and Richard Illingworth during a largely dry day in West Kent.
Their first three examinations met with jeers of derision, shouts of "get on with it", and then, by 3.30pm and in bright sunshine, the umpire's death knell of slow hand-clapping.
It did the trick, however and, once Kent won the toss, the players emerged from the pavilion at 4.15pm for the start of the Hampshire innings. The visitors were soon in trouble on a pitch that offered plentiful seam-movement to Kent's wily opening new-ball exponents Charlie Shreck and Mark Davies.
Shreck, a winter recruit from Nottinghamshire, struck first with the 19th ball of the game by removing one-time Kent opener Michael Carberry. Pushing one across the left-hander, he grazed the edge for wicketkeeper Geraint Jones to complete the dismissal with a low, tumbling catch in front of slip.
Davies, another new signing, from Durham, then got in on the act with the near-identical dismissals of Bilal Shafayat and visiting skipper Jimmy Adams. Both pushing forward to deliveries that jagged into them off the pitch, both fell leg before for nine and eight respectively t make it 37 for 3 in the 13th over.
The visitors survived the next two overs without further alarm but, much to the chagrin of Davies, the rain returned soon after 5pm to force the abandonment after only 15.1 overs of play.
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