Published: 18:00, 01 August 2021
| Updated: 18:04, 01 August 2021
Kent Spitfires captain Ollie Robinson said there were no excuses after their emphatic nine-wicket defeat at Essex Eagles on Sunday.
Spitfires were effectively fielding almost a 2nd XI side given how many of their squad are featuring in The Hundred.
Essex were missing only a couple of first-team players but Robinson insisted that can't be used as the sole explanation.
Robinson said: "It was a tough wicket and we didn’t adapt well enough at the top, and losing wickets early doesn’t help.
“We have lost nine players to The Hundred now and they lost two so it was going to be hard on paper but that is no excuse to how it went today.
"We weren’t good enough in all three disciplines.
“It is hard to look at positives when you lose like that.
"We have tried to build an upward momentum and it didn’t come off today. If you don’t lose, you don’t learn.”
Spitfires, who won the toss and batted, were without on-loan Essex seamer Matt Quinn, who was not allowed to play against his parent county.
None of the Spitfires batting line-up scored more than 40 on a slow wicket, with only Tawanda Muyeye’s strike rate returning above three figures.
After Robinson had clipped to square leg, Muyeye showed strong wrists to reach 25 from 23 balls, which included four boundaries and a wonderfully picked up six over mid-wicket before he succumbed when he carved to backward point.
Simon Harmer entered the attack and within two balls had Harry Finch lbw for a 17-ball duck, before Darren Stevens flicked Ben Allisson to Ryan ten Doeschate on the deep square boundary to leave Kent 43-4 in the 13th over.
Scotland international George Munsey lived by the reverse sweep and eventually died by it when he fell for 39.
Like Harmer, ten Doeschate struck with his second delivery, as Grant Stewart loosely edged behind and then Marcus O’Riordan was bowled for 20 and Kent were 110-7.
Matt Milnes was caught behind, James Logan chipped a caught and bowled back at Aron Nijjar and Nathan Gilchrist holed out to long-on to conclude the innings for just 158 in the 48th over.
Sir Alastair Cook, on the back of tallies of an unbeaten 92 and a 42, continued his brilliant form by scoring a classy 77 not out, setting the tone with a cover drive in the first over and an extravagant square drive.
Opening partner Will Buttleman fell for 11 when Milnes pinned back his leg stump but Tom Westley arrived to take control of the chase.
Cook reached his fifty in 51 balls, with the hundred partnership with Westley taking 124 balls - as the runs were ticked off in officious style.
Westley joined the half-century club for the 30th time in his career in 64 balls, with six boundaries eventually coming in his 69.
It was Cook who tip and ran the winning single though with 19 overs to spare to boost the Eagles’ chances of progressing to the knockout stage.