If you were to compare this season to the last, Kent supporters will tell you of an all too familiar feeling. A decent outing in both the Royal London One Day Cup and the Natwest T20 Blast but ultimately an utter shambles in the County Championship, condemning them to a eighth season in Division Two.
Kent won just four of their sixteen matches in the second division leaving them in seventh position. The only shining lights were Sam Northeast and Matt Coles who both found stunning form in an underperforming team. Though, the victories against Glamorgan (by 316 runs) and Essex (an innings and 207 runs) showed that the team could perform exceptionally at times.
The lack of an overseas star seemed to be a problem in the long format but in the short game, Kent’s homegrown talent proved there was no need to splash the cash for one. The Spitfires finished fourth in their group, winning three of their eight matches, creeping into the knockout stage on run rate. They’d face Surrey in the quarter-finals and came close, losing by 17 runs on the D/L method, they might have had a chance had rain not interrupted the match.
Jimmy Adams’ side performed best in the Natwest T20 Blast, taking their group by storm winning nine of their fourteen matches. Kent finished top which meant a home tie against Lancashire in the quarter-finals and what a thriller it would turn out to be. The visitors recorded a single off the final ball of their innings to tie the game, but they would progress to the semi-finals as they had lost fewer wickets in their innings.
LVCC: 7th, Division Two
T20 Blast: Quarter-Finals (1st, South Group)
RLODC: Quarter-Finals (4th, Group B)
Leading run-scorer: Sam Northeast, 2,043 runs
Leading wicket-taker: Matt Coles, 100 wickets
Win %: 40%
Player of the Season
Sam Northeast filled in as captain for much of the season in Rob Key’s absence and the 25-year old shone in his new role. Northeast surpassed the 2,000 run mark for the season and in a side which struggled heavily in the red ball game, that is certainly impressive. He averaged 46.72 in Division Two with one century and nine half-centuries. His form in the 20-over format was equally outstanding, with an average just shy of 50 and a high score of 114.
It’s Matt Coles’ second spell at The Spitfires and despite impressing in previous seasons, his form really took off in 2015. The 25-year old powerhouse picked up 100 wickets in all competitions. Coles took 67 wickets in Division Two at an average of 23.49; in the 50-over format he picked up 16 wickets at an average of just 19.
Could have done better
Since being touted for England and having been sent to work with England spin coach Peter Such, Adam Riley’s form has taken a turn for the worst. In the white ball game, he picked up just eight wickets in as many matches at an average of 53. Riley couldn’t break into the squad for the Royal London One Day Cup but did feature five times in the 20-over format, picking up just four wickets.
Need to work on
Without a doubt Kent’s recent issues have been competing in the four-day game which in part is down to inconsistencies but also down to an over-reliance on one player in each department. Far too many times this season has the batting line-up catastrophically collapsed and ended up having to chase the match. Blame could also lie with the management with some questionable team selections throughout the year.
Tweet of the Season
Thanks to everyone in the 7,000-strong crowd who roared on the Spitfires today. We couldn’t do without you #SuperKent pic.twitter.com/zrJPfqL8Y3
— Kent Cricket (@kentcricket) August 15, 2015
Another season of failure in the County Championship but at least the fans had something to shout about in the other two formats having reached the quarter-finals in both competitions. This young side needs time. 5/10