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Kent and Essex to battle each season for the Mike Denness Challenge Shield

By Alex Hoad

The Championship clash between Kent and Essex starting on Saturday will be the first match to count towards the annual battle for the newly-launched Mike Denness Challenge Shield.

The destiny of the trophy – named in honour of the former skipper of both clubs, who played more than 500 First Class and 200 List A games – will be determined each season by the team who enjoys most success in the matches between the sides in four-day and limited overs cricket.

Two points will be awarded for an LV= County Championship win with a single point available for winning games in either the NatWest T20 Blast or Royal London One-Day Cup, with the county with the most points at the end of the season having their name engraved on the shield.

Kent captain Mike Denness in the county's heyday in the 1970s

Denness’ former Kent team-mate and current club president Graham Johnson said: “Mike was an outstanding cricketer for Kent, Essex and England and has the rare distinction of captaining neighbouring counties.

“He holds a special place in the memories of both counties and is greatly missed. We thought it wholly appropriate to honour his memory in this manner.”

An Essex statement said: “Mike might not have represented Essex quite as much as Kent but he had a huge impact on our cricket. He was an outstanding man and we are pleased to be supporting the creation of the Challenge Shield in his memory.”

Denness was a key part of Kent’s dominant side of the 1970s but spent the final four years of his career guiding Essex to a County Championship triumph in 1979.

Denness, who scored four centuries in his 28 Tests and 33 tons in his First Class career, passed away in April 2013 at the age of 72.

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