Somerset’s recent unbeaten run came to an end at Canterbury as Kent Spitfires secured their second Royal London One-day Cup win of the South Group campaign with a 95-run victory.
Rain in the morning meant that the match was reduced to 30 overs per side and Kent posted a creditable 231 for six after half-centuries from Daniel Bell-Drummond and skipper Sam Northeast.
Gloom, rain, thunderstorms and bad light dominated the morning, but umpires Jeff Evans and Steve Garrett finally deemed conditions playable at 2.30pm and Kent, having lost the toss, made the best of tricky conditions. In-form openers Joe Denly and Bell-Drummond posted 56 for the first wicket before Denly, on 12, top edged an attempted pull to mid-on. Bell-Drummond moved on to a 39 ball 50 with seven fours, but the England Lions’ batsman holed out to long-on to make it 128 for two.
Kent skipper Northeast shouldered the batting responsibility thereafter, hitting 64, while those around him perished in the pursuit of rapid runs. While Northeast plundered five fours and a maximum, his colleagues struggled to provide fluent support on a pitch that had been dulled by the earlier showers. Billings, fresh from an unbeaten ton against Glamorgan, succumbed for 29 but a useful 36 from Darren Stevens meant that the home side set a testing target of 232 for Somerset to win.
Lewis Gregory was the pick of the Somerset bowlers claiming three for 37 from six overs.
Run-rate pressure and a pitch enlivened by the rain soon took its toll on Somerset’s top order as the visitors were reduced to 44 for four. Billings took a stunning catch low to his right to account for Johann Myburgh (4) off the bowling of Matt Coles, then Darren Stevens snared Adam Hose (10) leg before to make it 35 for two. Stevens then clipped the top of Jim Allenby’s off pole and then Peter Trego (23), holed out to cow corner off the bowling of Fabian Cowdrey.
Roelof van der Merwe (29) and Alex Barrow (27) gave Somerset hope but wickets continued to fall and the visitors were eventually dismissed for 136.
After the match Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “We lacked the intensity that we had on Sunday when I thought that we were brilliant in the field, but it just wasn’t there today. Once they started to get going we stood off them a little bit and you can never afford to do that. They probably got 30 or 40 more than par.
“When we batted we just had no real impetus in our innings and it was a big learning curve for several of our players. It’s tough when you are chasing eight runs an over and it was only really when Roelof van der Merwe and Alex Barrow got together that there was any real impetus. We needed that from the outset not when we were 60 for six.”