Published: 19:56, 21 September 2021
| Updated: 19:56, 21 September 2021
Just three days after impressing at T20 finals day, Darren Stevens was again in the limelight for Kent on Tuesday.
The 45-year-old all-rounder bagged 4-21 as the hosts hit back after lunch following a disappointing opening session after Middlesex were put into bat.
The visitors collapsed from 121-2 to 147 all out with Kent reaching 82-4 at the close.
Stevens said: “It’s evenly poised at the minute. I think when they were 120-odd for two, to bowl them out for what we did is a bonus.
"When they had Stoneman in there it was a little bit of a worry because we know he’s a class player and getting to fifty he’d have expected to get on, because the pitch wasn’t doing too much.
“We’ve got to knuckle down tomorrow and get stuck in. It’s a shame the top order are out, if we could have had one of them in with Robbo we would probably have been just ahead of the game.
"If we can get some sort of lead on there it’ll be good."
On winning the Blast and the subsequent feelgood factor around the ground, Stevens added: "We were talking in the middle, saying that for the first day of a champo game, on a Tuesday in September, we just want to say massive thanks to the fans for coming out and supporting us.
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it was such a great day, not only for the lads, but also for the Kent supporters and the Kent family. I want more trophies!
"If we can win this game and finish top of the third division we’ve had a phenomenal year really."
With skipper Sam Billings at the re-arranged IPL, Zak Crawley took over as captain and his first decision was to invite Middlesex to bat first in late summer sunshine.
Sam Robson made 13 before he was caught behind off Nathan Gilchrist (2-34) and Stevie Eskinazi was lbw to Stevens for 15, but Middlesex made it to lunch without further loss, ending the session on 84-2.
Mark Stoneman brought up his half-century with a straight drive to Matt Milnes that went for three, but Middlesex then lost five wickets for 10 runs.
Stoneman (59) chopped a Stevens delivery onto his stumps and Stevens then trapped Max Holden lbw for a six-ball duck, before Grant Stewart sent Martin Andersson’s middle stump flying for nought.
Stevens’ fifth over of the session saw him get John Simpson caught behind for six and Luke Hollman went for a golden duck when he was lbw to Marcus O’Riordan.
Toby Roland-Jones made nine when he chipped Milnes to a tumbling Stevens at mid-on and Ethan Bamber lasted just three balls before edging Gilchrist to Jack Leaning at third slip, without scoring. Tim Murtagh then went for the fifth duck of the innings when Milnes (2-31) yorked his leg stump to end the afternoon session.
Kent’s reply got off to a rocky start as Jordan Cox left a ball from Murtagh that clipped his off stump, bowling him for two.
Crawley was caught behind off Bamber for 20 and Daniel Bell Drummond was lbw for 20 to Murtagh (2-19). Leaning was then bowled by Andersson for 27, leaving Milnes to survive two overs as night-watchman.