Dave Allen: Knock Out Cups v Kent

Club historian Dave Allen has taken a look back at previous List A clashes with our Royal London Cup semi-final opponents, Kent Spitfires

2022 is the 60th season of single innings, limited-overs matches between first-class counties. Over those years the matches, always scheduled for one day but sometimes extended or shortened by weather, have been contested over various formats with overs consisting of 65, 60, 55, 50, 45 or 40 per side. They were the first regular county competitions to carry the names of sponsors of which there have been many. Despite all these variations the matches are together known as List A to distinguish them from first-class or Twenty 20 games.

Hampshire have met Kent 22 times in the various knock-out cup formats, winning five and losing 15 with two ‘no result’ matches, although given the relative modesty of that record it is worth noting that our two meetings with them in Lord’s Finals have both ended in Hampshire holding the Trophy.

Our first meeting with them was unusual in that it was the first of few knock-out matches ever played at Portsmouth and it was also our first Gillette Cup victory over another first-class side when our 208 all out was 23 more than they managed for 10 wickets. Peter Sainsbury scored 70 and took 3-45 (Bob Cottam 3-30) in the days when bowlers could bowl a maximum of 13 overs of the 60 available. We beat them again in 1965 with 59* from Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie in his last year as captain, while Derek Shackleton returned typical figures of 10-3-12-3.

In 1973 we played them and lost in both cup competitions despite 100 from Gordon Greenidge in the Gillette Cup at Canterbury - Brian Luckhurst’s 114 took Kent to an eight-wicket victory and his innings remains the highest against us in these formats. There was a thriller at Canterbury in 1980, Kent posting 21-9 in the 55-over B&H Cup (Chris Tavaré 87) with Mike Taylor run out from the last ball, one short of their total, two short of victory.

We lost again at Canterbury in 1982, then frustratingly twice there in 1983. In the B&H Quarter-Final chasing 199 to win (Marshall 4-26) we lost our first wicket at 131 (Terry 72, Greenidge 60) but fell away to 193 all out. Then in the Nat West semi-final we lost by 71 runs – still never having reached Lord’s – despite Marshall’s return of 12-6-15-4. This horrid run continued with defeat by 151 runs at Southampton in 1984, by 63 runs at Southampton in 1986 and by four wickets there in 1989.

Would our luck change? It seemed not when on Thursday 9 July 1992 we lost to them by two wickets in a Nat West Trophy game at Southampton despite a century from Paul Terry. But two days later we met them again at Lord’s and in damp match that lasted two days, Hampshire won by 41 runs to take the trophy (Robin Smith 90, Marshall 3-33).

Kent were back to winning ways in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2006 but in 2007 we won a thriller by just two runs, when, chasing 221 they recovered from 136-8 (Matt Walker 80). Remarkably we won at Canterbury by the same margin in 2010. We have played them in the early stages of the RL Cup every year since 2015, winning in 2017, 2019 and last year – our first time at Beckenham – thanks to Ian Holland’s 4-12, our best in these contests against Kent..

We lost at home in 2018 when Kent’s 296-4 won the game by one run despite 105* from Joe Weatherley and a partnership with Brad Taylor (56) of 133, at the time our best for any wicket v Kent. It was a record that did not last long as our 330-7 in the Final at Lord’s began with an opening partnership of 136 (Rilee Rossouw 125, Tom Alsop 72, Sam Northeast 75) as we won by 61 runs.

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