LIVE BLOG: Essex v Kent

11.00 – We’ve arrived at Chigwell for the opening encounter of the 2021 London Championship – Essex v Kent. Essex are sporting their new kit (Top Secret ™️) and a few new faces including Sunrisers Lissy Macleod and Jo Gardner. A good way for them to get some 50-over practice in ahead of this year’s RHF! Trevor Griffin is obviously setting some store by this game as he has braved the cold to be here and watch in person.

11.20 – HYGIENE BREAK! Essex won the toss and chose to bat. Kent are opening with Sarah Bryce, who looks in beautiful touch, and Megan Sturge. They’ve put on 24-0 in the opening 6 overs (Bryce 17*). The weather can’t quite make up its mind so we are alternately freezing and too hot!

11.51 – WICKET! Essex make their first breakthrough. New pro Jo Gardner, in her second over of the day, clean bowls Megan Sturge with a straight one. Kent 57-1 after 15 overs.

12.01 – WICKET! That’s the big one. Sarah Bryce departs for 33 and Jo Gardner picks up her second. The ball hit top of middle stump – perfect! Kent 61-2 and ex-England batter Susie Rowe walks to the crease. PS It’s cold.

12.05 – There is a live stream of the Vipers warm-up match on the Isle of Wight available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di1WvEPKnOQ

Personally we don’t think they should be able to use the term “warm-up” when it’s 3 degrees outside.

12.35 – At the halfway stage, Kent have just brought up 3 figures – 102-2 after 25 overs. Susie Rowe is adding some much-needed impetus – she’s on 26 off 25 balls and has already played the shot of the day, a beautiful cut behind square for four. Kent look to be on top at the moment.

12.47 – WICKET! Maxine Blythin feather edges Kelly Castle behind the stumps. Kent 117-3 in the 29th.

13.01 – WICKET! Scarlett Hughes stumps Kalea Moore and Kent lose their fourth. 131-4 in the 32nd.

13.10 – FIFTY FOR SUSIE ROWE! Rowe brings up her half-century in the 35th over with a boundary – she’s got there off just 51 balls, at a crucial time for Kent. Kirstie Gordon is at the other end now, and crunches a boundary to wrap up the over. Kent 150-4 after 35.

13.25 – WICKET! Rowe skies one to Beth Harmer at point. Harmer has been on fire in the field today – this time, the ball hangs in the air ominously but she takes it successfully. Important to get rid of Rowe, who looked pretty set on 63. Kent now 165-5 with 11 overs remaining of the innings.

13.30 – WICKET! Kent 167-6. Gordon falls cutting lavishly and is caught at backward point. Lissy Macleod has her second victim of the day. Kent falling apart a bit here!

13.35 – WICKET! Megan Belt drives straight to the extra cover fielder and Kent are 168-6.

13.53 – Kent are pushing on here – 194-7 after 46 overs. Essex are getting a bit sloppy in the field – Macleod has just had two relatively straightforward catches put down off her bowling. It looks like Kent will get to 200, which is always an important signifier in this format and (we THINK!) will mean they get maximum batting bonus points.

13.55 – WICKET! Jelfs goes, belting it to deep midwicket. She did well with a handy run-a-ball 19 there. Kent 194-8.

14.00 – WICKET! Kent’s 9th wicket falls with the score on 197. Esmae MacGregor takes out the middle stump!

14.03 – WICKET! Underdogs Essex have bowled Kent out for 203 in the 48th over. That’s a bit of a turn up! MacGregor finishes with 3-for.

15.05 – Play has resumed here at Chigwell! Essex going along nicely – 23-0 after 7 overs, with Macleod and Harmer opening up. We’ve just recorded our weekly vodcast and it will be going up on the site tomorrow, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!

15.10 – THE SUN IS SHINING. THIS IS NOT A DRILL ☀️

15.40 – WICKET(S)! After a good start, Essex have now lost 2 wickets in the space of 2 overs – Macleod LBW to Kalea Moore, and now Jessica Bird disastrously run out trying to scamper a single, but sent back by partner Harmer. Essex 65-2 after 17 overs.

15.54 – WICKET! Oh no – disaster for Essex as ANOTHER player falls to a run out. Beth Harmer pushed the ball out to extra cover, then went for the single but Kelly Castle was having none of it and sent her straight back. Out by a fair way. Kent 85-3.

16:10 – After 25 overs, Essex are 103-3 – ever so slightly ahead of the rate – the game is finely poised.

16:20 – WICKET! Kelly Castle comes down the track to Megan Belt, misses, and is stumped by Sarah Bryce for 27. 108-4 now, after 28.

16:23 – WICKET! Kirstie Gordon comes back and takes a wicket LBW with the first ball of her new spell – gave the appeal 120% and the umpire just couldn’t turn it down. 108-5.

16:27 – WICKET! Rinse and repeat – Gordon has another LBW as Katherine Speed tries to play around her pads and is trapped right in front. 109-6.

16:31 – WICKET! Would you Adam’n’Eve it? Gordon’s got another – Jo Gardner bowled by one that kept low; and Essex are sinking towards defeat.

16:50 – WICKET! Cath Dalton has been leading some resistance for Essex, but she is bowled for 18 by Kalea Moore. 137-8 after 36 overs.

17:00 – WICKET! Play of the day – Hannah Jelfs takes a brilliant diving catch at midwicket to give Kirstie Gordon a 4th wicket. 151-9.

17:05 – And that… as the Americans say… is the ball game – Essex bowled out for 157; so Kent win by 46 runs.