July 25, 2001

Somerset make most of Kent's slipshod display

Mark Pennell of the Kent Messenger Group

Somerset made the most of Kent stage fright to canter through to next month's Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-finals with a 52-run quarter-final win in steamy Canterbury.

Kent followed their slipshod performance in the field with a naive batting display that saw them dismissed for 211 as they chased Somerset's 50-over total of 263 for eight.

Only Rob Key's stoic 106-ball innings of 58 and David Fulton with 31 put in the required performance with the bat as Somerset's military-medium seamer Keith Parsons bagged three for 38 and Andrew Caddick two for 35.

Once Caddick bowled out his 10 overs the hosts attempted to paper over the cracks with some lusty late hitting from Kent skipper Matthew Fleming and Min Patel (27 not out), but it was all too little too late and failed to make up for a generally nervous and slapdash performance.

The final nail in Kent's coffin came five overs from the end when Fleming, having scored 40 from 41 balls, lost his leg stump in trying to paddle a full-length ball from Richard Johnson into the gaps in the leg-side field.

The end for Kent followed within five balls with a missed slog by Martin Saggers and the run-out of last man Ben Trott as he attempted a ridiculous single to see Somerset through to a home semi-final tie with Warwickshire.

Kent's quarter-final nerves were clear for supporters and the television cameras to see as they put in their worst fielding display of the summer.

The hosts dropped vital catches, notably Marcus Trescothick when on eight, missed a run-out and then two stumpings which, coupled with numerous misfields and over-throws, helped boost the Somerset total beyond a par-for-the-course total.

Bowling in overcast conditions after Somerset elected to bat, Kent were given a good start through Saggers who sent back Peter Bowler and visiting skipper Jamie Cox to perfectly pitched out-swingers.

Trescothick scratched around for eight runs from 27 balls before Trott found his outside edge only to see Patel down a waist-high chance at second slip.

After the let-off Trescothick clubbed three of the next four balls to the boundary on his way to 43 from 54 balls, before England colleague Mark Ealham squeezed one through the left-hander's gate to make it 84 for three.

With Kent appearing edgy, Somerset took full toll of numerous fielding slips to up their run rate through man-of-the-match Michael Burns (71) and all-rounder Ian Blackwell, who hit 50 from 49-balls, to post a respectable 50-over total.

Saggers and Ealham each claimed two wickets apiece, as did Andrew Symonds who sent back Blackwell and Johnson in the penultimate over of the innings.