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Kent Spitfires suffer three-wicket defeat off the final ball at Gloucestershire in NatWest T20 Blast South Group

By Alex Hoad

Kent faced a second consecutive last-ball finish on the road in NatWest T20 Blast on Friday night, however they were defeated by three wickets against Gloucestershire at Bristol to fall further off the pace in South Group.

It was a third defeat in four – the other game a dramatic tie at Glamorgan two weeks earlier - for the Spitfires, who are now sixth in the standings, though still just a point outside the top-four places.

After being put in by the hosts, Kent lost skipper Rob Key (14) early-on, though Daniel Bell-Drummond (32) and the red-hot Sam Northeast steered the visitors to 94-1 when Bell-Drummond was trapped leg-before to end the 12th over.

Northeast – fresh from back to back red-ball centuries for the seconds this week – smashed five fours and rained down four sixes in a blistering 75 from 49 balls, however Darren Stevens (8), Alex Blake (1) could not stay with him.

Sam Northeast Picture: Barry Goodwin
Sam Northeast Picture: Barry Goodwin

The 24-year-old eventually departed with the score on 142-4 with eight balls remaining, trapped LBW by Graeme McCarter (2-26), with Sam Billings (7) and Adam Ball (7 not out) steering the Spitfires to a final total of 150-6.

Kent made a positive start to the reply, openers Alex Gidman and Chris Dent falling to Mitch Claydon for eight apiece, and after Doug Bollinger dismissed dangerman Hamish Marshall for 10 and Ball got Ian Cockbain to nick behind for 18, it was 60-4 with 9.1 overs to come.

Claydon (3-24) got his third scalp when Benny Howell holed out to Ball for 26 and with the score on 89-5 and 62 runs required from 5.5 overs, the Spitfires were firmly in charge.

However Will Gidman hit 22 from 13 balls before falling to James Tredwell and Jack Taylor joined trialist wicketkeeper Adam Rouse to put on 31 in 2.5 overs for the seventh wicket.

When Taylor was bowled by Griffiths for 19 from 10 balls, the hosts still needed 19 from the final nine balls, however Rouse, in just his second T20 match for the club, cracked three fours off the final over, from Bollinger, including one from the final ball, to win it.

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