Kent County Cricket Club

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Kent County Cricket Club
Kent CCC logo.svg
One-day name Kent Spitfires
Captain England Sam Billings
Coach England Matt Walker
Chief executive Ben Green[1]
Team information
Founded 1842
Home ground St Lawrence Ground
Capacity 7,000
First-class debut Sussex
in 1825
at Hove
Championship wins 7 (1 shared)
One Day Cup wins 2
National League wins 5
B&H Cup wins 3
Twenty20 Cup wins 1
Official website: Official website
Kent County Cricket Club in 2018

Kent County Cricket Club is one of the eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Kent. The club was first founded in 1842 but teams representing the county have played top-class cricket since the early 18th century. Kent have competed in the County Championship since the official start of the competition in 1890 and have played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England. The club's limited overs team is called the Kent Spitfires after the Supermarine Spitfire.

The county has won the County Championship seven times, including one shared victory. Four wins came in the period between 1906 and 1913 with the other three coming during the 1970s when Kent also dominated one-day cricket cup competitions. A total of eleven one-day cricket cup victories include eight between 1967 and 1978, with the last trophy won by the club coming in the 2007 Twenty20 Cup.

The club plays most of its home matches at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury, which hosts Canterbury Cricket Week, the oldest cricket festival in England. It also plays some home matches at the County Cricket Ground, Beckenham and the Nevill Ground, Royal Tunbridge Wells which hosts Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week.

Kent also field a women's team in the Women's County Championship. The team has won the Championship a record seven times, most recently in 2016, and the Women's T20 title three times, most recently also in 2016. It has traditionally played matches at the Polo Farm in Canterbury, but since 2016 has moved to be based mainly at Beckenham.


Cricket is believed to have developed out of other bat and ball types games played on the Weald in Kent and neighbouring Sussex during the Middle Ages.[2] A form of the sport was being played in the county by the early 17th century[3][4] and in 1705 a West Kent side played one from Chatham Cricket Club at Town Malling for a wager of 11 guineas a side.[5][6]

The earliest known inter-county match took place in Kent in June 1709 when a Kent side and one from Surrey played against each other on Dartford Brent.[7] The sides used the names of their respective counties, but true county matches developed later in the 18th century, with a match of 1719 between Kent and a London side being seen by some as the first true match between two counties, whilst others consider three matches which took place between Kent and Surrey in 1728 as the first between properly structured county sides.[6][8][9]

Early county sides: 1730–1842[edit]

Strong teams played under the name of Kent throughout the 18th century with several famous patrons including Edwin Stead, Lord John Sackville, his son John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset and Sir Horatio Mann organising teams.[10] Clubs playing for these patrons often effectively represented the county at this time.[11]

The first match between Kent and All-England was held in 1746 at the Artillery Ground in London, John Sackville leading the Kent side,[6][12] and in 1763 the first match between a Kent side and the Hambledon Club took place.[6] By this time the Laws of cricket had been codified and three inter-county matches between Kent and Surrey were organised in 1773, one of which was played at Bishopsbourne Paddock near Canterbury and another at Sevenoaks Vine.[9] Large crowds were attracted to games in the county, with 20,000 attracted to Bishopsbourne, Mann's home, to watch Kent play Hambledown in 1772.[13]

By the 1830s Kent sides began to dominate English cricket, winning 98 matches during the period[6][9] and being declared the leading county side for six seasons out of the seven between 1837 and 1843.[14] During this period the formation of county sides was initially focussed on Town Malling Cricket Club, backed by lawyers Thomas Selby and Silas Norton alongside William Harris, 2nd Baron Harris.[5][15][16] Selby and Norton recruited "the best batsman in England",[17] Fuller Pilch from Norfolk, to play at Town Malling, maintain the cricket ground and run the connected public house.[18] Alongside other players such as Alfred Mynn, Nicholas Felix, Ned Wenman and William Hillyer, Kent teams selected by Selby played eleven matches at Town Malling between 1836 and 1841.[9][16] The expense of running county games meant that Town Malling proved too small to support a county club, despite the large attendances that games attracted, and in 1842 Pilch moved to the Beverley club at Canterbury.[9][16]

The first county clubs: 1842–1870[edit]

Poster for 1842 England XI game immediately before the foundation of the Kent County Club

The Beverley Cricket Club was formed in 1835 at the Canterbury estate of brothers John and William Baker[16], initially playing in the St Stephen's district of the city before moving to the Beverley Ground in 1839 when they organised the first annual Cricket Week.[19][20][21] After the failure of the Town Malling club, the Bakers stepped in to organise Kent teams, the newest patrons of cricket in the county, Pilch moving to Canterbury to be the groundsman.[16]

The Beverley club became the Kent Cricket Club on 6 August 1842, when it reconstituted itself during the annual cricket festival. The club was the first formal incarnation of Kent County Cricket Club and the 1842 cricket festival is seen by Kent as being the first Canterbury Cricket Week.[6][9][22]

The new Kent club played its initial first-class cricket match against All-England at White Hart Field in Bromley on 25–27 August 1842. Initially the success of the club continued, with Kent being declared champion county again in 1843, 1847 and 1849[14] and in 1847 the club began using the St Lawrence Ground on the other side of Canterbury, Pilch once again moving to be the groundsman.[16] This was later established as the county's formal headquarters, although Kent continued to play matches on a variety of grounds around the county until well into the 20th century, rarely using the St Lawrence Ground for more than two or three matches a year.[23][24]

As the team built around Pilch retired from cricket the fortunes of the club declined, the county sometimes forced to field teams of up to 16 or to combine with other clubs in order to compete.[25] Financial difficulties followed and on 1 March 1859 a second county club was formed in Maidstone to support the Canterbury-based club,[6][9][26] although the standard of cricket played by the county side remained poor and the club found it difficult to attract either the best amateur players or professionals to appear.[26][27] The two clubs merged in 1870 to form the present day Kent County Cricket Club.[6][28][29]

A single county club: 1870–[edit]

Kent vs Lancashire at Canterbury by Albert Chevallier Tayler, which was commissioned by Kent to celebrate their 1906 County Championship victory.

Kent enjoyed two periods of prolonged success: the first in the years before World War I, when in the space of eight seasons they were county champions four times, beginning in 1906.

The pavilion at Tunbridge Wells was burned down by Suffragettes in April 1913. Though valuable records were lost the Pavilion was rebuilt in nine weeks, the funds being raised by public subscription. The bowling of Colin Blythe and the captaincy of Cloudesley Marsham, and later Ted Dillon were key factors in Kent's decade of success. They remained highly consistent until the 1930s, with high-quality players such as Tich Freeman, Frank Woolley, Wally Hardinge and Les Ames all playing at the peak of their career. Kent ran up 803 for 4 dec against Essex CCC at Brentwood in 1934, with Bill Ashdown scoring 332, Ames 202* and Woolley 172. The total took just seven hours, with 623 runs scored on the first day alone. Arthur Fagg scored two double centuries in the same match for Kent against Essex at Colchester in 1938, while Woolley scored over 2,000 runs for Kent in 1935 aged 48. He retired that year with 58,959 runs, 145 centuries, 2,066 wickets and 1,018 catches to his name. Doug Wright, who took over 2,000 wickets with his brisk leg breaks and googlies between 1932 and 1957, took his seventh hat-trick in 1949, the most ever.

Former Kent CCC logo

Kent did not become successful again until the 1970s, when they claimed ten domestic trophies, including the County Championship title in 1970 and 1978 plus a shared title with Middlesex in 1977. They also claimed the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1973, 1976 and 1978, and the Gillette Cup in 1974.

Recent history[edit]

In the 2006 season, Kent finished fifth in Division One of the County Championship and fifth in the NatWest Pro40 League Division Two. On 4 August 2007, Kent won the Twenty20 Cup for the first time, defeating Sussex in the semi-finals, with captain Rob Key scoring 68 not out.[30][31] In the final they defeated Gloucestershire in a see-saw game where in the final over, chasing 148, they required 13 runs, winning with three balls to spare. Matthew Walker top scored for Kent in the final with 45 runs while Darren Stevens scored 30 not out from 21 balls, including hitting the winning runs. Earlier in the final, Ryan McLaren took a hat-trick.[30][32]

In September 2008, Kent were relegated from the First to the Second Division of the County Championship for the first time. They won the Second Division in the 2009 season to be promoted before being relegated again at the end of the 2010 season. They have played in the Second Division since 2010, with a best finish of second in 2016, failing to be promoted only due to a restructuring of the divisional system meaning that only the Division Two champions, Essex, were promoted during that season.

In November 2016, Kent accepted an invitation from the West Indies Cricket Board to compete in the 2016–17 Regional Super50 domestic List A tournament in January and February 2017.[33][34][35] This was the first time that any English county side had competed in an overseas domestic competition.[36] The invitation was partly due to the influence of former West Indian captain Jimmy Adams who had, until September 2016, been Kent's Head Coach[36] and was followed by an invitation to take part in the competition again in 2018.[37]


Kent v South Africans in 2003, showing the old lime tree

Kent's main ground is the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury. This ground has been used by the club since 1847 and Kent have played over 500 first-class matches at the ground. It is famous for having a tree, the St Lawrence Lime, on the playing field. The original tree, around which the ground was built, was broken in two by high winds in January 2005 and replaced by a smaller replacement lime tree later in the same year.[38][39][40] The ground hosts the annual Canterbury Cricket Week, the oldest cricket festival in the world.[41][42] This dates from 1842 and has been held at the ground since the club moved there.[43][44]

Kent played their first official match at White Hart Field in Bromley in August 1842 and since then have used 29 different grounds within the historic county. Some of these grounds, although still in the historic county of Kent are now also within the Greater London area. Two outgrounds remain in regular use, the redeveloped County Cricket Ground, Beckenham and the Nevill Ground in Royal Tunbridge Wells. The latter ground hosts the Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week and has seen over 200 Kent home matches played on it.[45][46] Former venues include Mote Park in Maidstone, which was used until 2005 and has been the venue for over 200 Kent first-class matches,[47] as well as grounds in Gravesend, Tonbridge, Dover and Folkestone, all of which have had more than 100 home matches played on them.

The county's main offices are based at the St Lawrence Ground. Indoor cricket schools are in place at both this ground and at Beckenham which acts as a centre of excellence for player development in the west of the county.[48]


Frank Woolley who made his Kent debut in 1906 and holds the record for the number of runs scored and appearances made for the county.

Kent's most notable former players include Colin Cowdrey, the first man to play 100 Test matches, Frank Woolley, Derek Underwood and wicket-keepers Les Ames and Alan Knott. All five men played Test cricket for England, making at least 40 Test match appearances. They are the only players to have stands named after them at the St Lawrence Ground, Kent's home ground in Canterbury.[49]

Other particularly notable former players include spin bowlers Colin Blythe and Tich Freeman. Blythe was a major force in the four County Championship wins in the years leading up to World War I and took 100 wickets in every season from 1902 to 1914.[50] He played 17 Tests for England but was killed in action during World War I. A memorial at the St Lawrence Ground is dedicated to him. Freeman played during the period after World War I and took over 150 wickets in a season for Kent 14 times. He is the only bowler to take more than 300 wickets in an English season, a feat he achieved in 1928, and the only man to have taken all ten wickets in an innings three times.[51] Fast bowler Graham Dilley represented England in 41 Test matches in the 1980s, whilst all-rounder Mark Ealham played in 64 one-day internationals in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Other than Ames and Knott, Kent has produced a number of other top class wicket-keepers.[52] Fred Huish, who never played for England, is considered as the "first of a line of exceptional Kent wicket-keepers"[53] which have included Godfrey Evans, who played 91 Tests for England,[54] Geraint Jones, with 34 Test and 49 ODI appearances, as well as Edward Tylecote, George Wood and Hopper Levett all of whom were capped by the country.[55] Paul Downton started his career at Kent as part of this line of players and the teams' current wicket-keeper, Sam Billings, has made one-day appearances for England.

Overseas players who have made a significant contribution to Kent cricket include West Indians John Shepherd, Eldine Baptiste, Bernard Julien and Carl Hooper and Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal all of whom played multiple seasons for the county. South Africans Martin van Jaarsveld, Justin Kemp and Andrew Hall have done the same,[56] as has Australian Andrew Symonds. Other great world cricketers to have played for the county for single seasons include Sri Lankans Aravinda de Silva and Muttiah Muralitharan, India's Rahul Dravid and Australia's former Test captain Steve Waugh.

Kent cricket legends' walkway[edit]

As part of the redevelopment of Kent's home ground, the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury, the county planned to develop a "legends walkway" at the entrance to the ground.[57] A public vote was held to select 12 former players of the club to honour in the walkway. The 12 players were named in June 2011. They included Alfred Mynn, who played for the county in the 19th century, Les Ames, Colin Blythe, Tich Freeman and Frank Woolley from the first half of the 20th century, Godfrey Evans and Doug Wright from the 1930s–50s era, and Colin Cowdrey, Alan Knott, Brian Luckhurst, John Shepherd and Derek Underwood from the teams of the 1960s and 70s.[58][59] The first bricks were produced for the walkway in April 2012.[60]


Rob Key was appointed captain in 2006.

As of 2018 the current club captain of Kent is Sam Billings, who was appointed in January 2018, replacing Sam Northeast.[61] In total 33 men have been appointed as club captain, beginning with Lord Harris in 1875.[6] Colin Cowdrey captained the side for the longest span in the County Championship era, serving between 1957 and 1971. Ted Dillon led the county to the County Championship title three times, the only man to captain Kent to more than one championship title. Mike Denness' side of the early 1970s won six one-day titles in his five years as captain.

Current squad[edit]

Of the players in the current squad, James Tredwell has played Test matches for England, while he, Joe Denly and Sam Billings have appeared in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 internationals.

  • No. denotes the player's squad number, as worn on the back of their shirt.
  • double-dagger denotes players with international caps.
  •  *  denotes a player who has been awarded a county cap.
No. Name Nationality Birth date Batting Style Bowling Style Notes
6 Joe Denlydouble-dagger  England (1986-03-16) 16 March 1986 (age 31) Right-handed Right arm leg break Nine ODI and five T20I appearances for England.[62]
10 Alex Blake*  England (1989-01-25) 25 January 1989 (age 29) Left-handed Right arm medium-fast
16 Zak Crawley  England (1998-02-03) 3 February 1998 (age 20) Right-handed Right arm medium
23 Daniel Bell-Drummond*  England (1993-08-03) 3 August 1993 (age 24) Right-handed Right arm medium
58 Sean Dickson  South Africa (1991-09-02) 2 September 1991 (age 26) Right-handed Right arm medium UK passport holder
3 Darren Stevens*  England (1976-04-30) 30 April 1976 (age 41) Right-handed Right arm medium
9 Grant Stewart  Australia (1994-02-19) 19 February 1994 (age 24) Right-handed Right arm fast-medium EU Passport
25 Calum Haggett  England (1990-10-30) 30 October 1990 (age 27) Left-handed Right arm medium-fast
42 Will Gidman  England (1985-02-14) 14 February 1985 (age 33) Left-handed Right arm medium
7 Sam Billings*double-dagger  England (1991-06-15) 15 June 1991 (age 26) Right-handed Club captain;
13 ODI and 17 T20I appearances for England.[63]
12 Adam Rouse  England (1992-06-30) 30 June 1992 (age 25) Right-handed
21 Ollie Robinson  England (1998-12-01) 1 December 1998 (age 19) Right-handed
5 Ivan Thomas  England (1991-09-25) 25 September 1991 (age 26) Right-handed Right arm medium-fast
8 Mitchell Claydon*  England (1982-11-25) 25 November 1982 (age 35) Left-handed Right arm medium-fast
11 Imran Qayyum  England (1993-05-23) 23 May 1993 (age 24) Right-handed Slow left-arm orthodox
14 Matt Hunn  England (1994-03-22) 22 March 1994 (age 23) Right-handed Right arm fast-medium
15 James Tredwelldouble-dagger  England (1982-02-27) 27 February 1982 (age 35) Left-handed Right arm off break Two Test, 45 ODI and 17 T20I appearances for England
33 Adam Riley  England (1992-03-23) 23 March 1992 (age 25) Right-handed Right arm off break


Frank Woolley, who played for Kent between 1906 and 1938, holds the record for the most appearances, most career runs and most runs in a season for the county. He is the only man to score more than 100 centuries for Kent with 122 and is the county's fifth leading wicket taker. Bill Ashdown holds the record for the highest score for the county with 332 runs against Essex in 1934. He is one of only two men to have scored a triple-century for Kent, with two to his name, the other being Sean Dickson who scored 318 in 2017 against Northants.[64][65]

Tich Freeman is the county's leading wicket taker with 3,340 wickets. Freeman took more than 150 wickets for the county 14 times and holds the record for the most wickets in a season. Fellow spin bowler Colin Blythe has the best bowling figures in Kent's history taking 10/30 against Northamptonshire in 1907, with 17/48 in the match. Freeman took ten wickets in a match 128 times with Blythe achieving the same feat 64 times.[64]

Along with Woolley and Freeman, Wally Hardinge, James Seymour and Derek Underwood are the only men with more than 500 first-class appearances for Kent.[64]

Kent Women[edit]

The Kent Women's cricket team represents the county in the Women's County Championship and Women's Twenty20 Cup. The first recorded match by a Kent Women's team was in May 1935,[66] with the team first appearing in the Women's Area Championship in 1980.[67]

The side features a number of international players and is captained by England international Tammy Beaumont. Former England international Lydia Greenway is the player-coach of the side. They have won the County Championship a record seven times since it was established in 1997, most recently in 2016, and the Women's Twenty20 Cup three times, most recently in 2016. The team play the majority of their home matches at the County Cricket Ground, Beckenham. The Women's team is sponsored by Canterbury Christ Church University.

Kent Cricket Academy[edit]

Sam Billings, seen playing for Kent in 2015, is a graduate of the Kent Cricket Academy

Kent established an academy in 2003 with the aim of developing future first-class cricketers. The academy is based at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury and makes use of the Ames-Levett Sports Centre at the ground.[68] It has produced over 25 first-term players for the county, including current club captain Sam Northeast and senior England internationals Tammy Beaumont, Sam Billings, Joe Denly, Natasha Farrant, Lydia Greenway and Jo Watts.[69] The leading academy scholar is awarded the John Aitken Gray trophy each year. Past winners have included county First XI players Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake[70] and Ollie Robinson.[71]

The academy was established by former wicket-keeper Simon Willis.[72] Paul Farbrace and Philip Relf held lead coaching roles within the scheme until Willis was appointed as high performance director in 2011, serving in the role until May 2016 when he was appointed the high performance manager of Sri Lanka Cricket.[73][74][75][76] Former Kent and England spin bowler Min Patel took over the running of the academy on an interim basis following Willis' departure[69] before becoming Second XI coach in January 2017, with former Shropshire wicket-keeper Jason Weaver taking over the role as high performance director, the two jobs replacing Willis' former role.[77] The Academy programme is sponsored by Kent Reliance.[78]


Kent have won the County Championship seven times, including one shared title. Four of their wins came in the years before World War I between 1906 and 1913, Ted Dillon captaining the side to three of their titles. The county had to wait until the 1970s to win their other Championship titles, winning outright in 1970 and 1978 and sharing the title with Middlesex in 1977. Kent have finished as runner-up in the Championship on 12 occasions, most recently in 2004. The County Championship Second Division title was won by the county in 2009.[79]

The county First XI has also won a number of limited overs competition trophies. Eight trophies were won between 1967 and 1978, six times by teams led by Mike Denness. Three more trophies have followed in 1995, 2001 and, most recently, the 2007 Twenty20 Cup. Kent finished runners-up in the 2008 T20 competition and in the 2008 Friends Provident Trophy.[79]

The Second XI Championship title has been won nine times by the county, including one shared win in 1987. As of 2017 this represents a record number of victories in the competition. Four of the victories have occurred in the 21st century, with the most recent in 2012. The Second XI Trophy one-day competition was won in 2002 and the county won the Minor Counties Championship twice in the 1950s when first-class Second XI's entered the competition.[79]

Kent's women have won the Women's County Championship a record seven times, most recently in 2016, and have been runners-up five times since the competition was established in 1997. The women's side has also won the Twenty20 Championship three times, in 2011, 2013 and 2016.

First XI honours[edit]

Second XI honours[edit]

Women's honours[edit]

  • Women's County Championship winners (7) – 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
    Runners-up (5) – 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2015
  • Women's County Twenty20 Championship winners (3) – 2011, 2013, 2016


  1. ^ Known as the Gillette Cup (1963–1980), NatWest Trophy (1981–2000) and C&G Trophy (2001–2006), Friends Provident Trophy (2007–2009), ECB 40 (2010–2013) and Royal London One-Day Cup (2014 onwards)
  2. ^ Formerly known as the Sunday League (1969–1998). Ran until the end of the 2009 season.
  3. ^ Ran between 1972 and 2002.
  4. ^ Names have included the Twenty20 Cup (2003-2009), Friends Life t20 (2010-2013) and NatWest t20 Blast (2014 onwards).


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