The 2015 season is shaping up to be an exciting summer of cricket in England.
The county cricket schedule was announced today with the domestic season starting on April 12 with Kent’s first home LV= County Championship game on Sunday, May 3 versus Leicestershire.
The first five LV= Championship home fixtures start on a Sunday with six of the seven Natwest T20 Blast matches played on Friday evenings.
Next summer is an big international summer and Kent is hosting the first match of the Ashes tour with Australia visiting The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on June 25-28.
Tunbridge Wells Festival takes place in July with the four-day fixture on July 19-22.
The Royal London One-Day Cup starts in late July with three of four 50-over fixtures played in daytime.
Canterbury Week is played in early August with Royal London fixtures against Sussex and Lancashire either side of a LV= game versus Gloucestershire.
The world’s oldest cricket festival continues as England play Australia women in the Women’s Ashes Kia Test on August 11-14 at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence as part of an extended edition.
The season concludes with the visit of Gloucestershire to Canterbury on September 14-17.
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Will Smith’s unbeaten 142 enabled promotion-chasing Hampshire hold out for a draw against Kent in Southampton.
After a morning washout, the 31-year-old, who resumed on 66, put on with Liam Dawson (40) before the latter was bowled by James Tredwell (4-110).
James Vince made a swift 27, but Adam Riley (4-36) swept the hosts batting line-up aside in tandem with Tredwell.
But Smith and James Tomlinson clung on for 11.4 overs as Hampshire ended on 248-9 to save the game.
Smith, who passed a 1,000 first-class runs during the match, spent over five-and-a-hours at the crease and hit 16 fours in his innings.
It was the 12th draw between the two counties in their last 16 Championship matches, with Hampshire having claimed three wins and Kent one in the other four games.
Following Essex’s innings and 79-run victory over Leicestershire,Hampshire head into their final Championship match knowing that only a victory will guarantee promotion to Division One for the first time since 2011.
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Sam Northeast made a century before Kent collapsed against Essex as 14 wickets fell on day one at Chelmsford.
The 24-year-old batsman made 117 and shared a 83-run sixth-wicket partnership with Sam Billings (51).
David Masters took three wickets for five runs from his first 5.2 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 198.
Essex’s reply faltered as Darren Stevens removed Jaik Mickleburgh to take his 250th first-class wicket and the hosts closed 97-4, 101 runs behind.
Kent’s decision to bat after winning the toss immediately looked a poor choice as Masters (3-44) and Jesse Ryder (2-54) reduced them to 14-4.
Northeast, who hit his third ton of the season to take him past 650 runs for the season, Billings and Stevens were the only three batsmen to make double figures as the other eight made a cumulative total of just 18 runs.
Wickets continued to tumble when Essex came out to bat – Tom Westley was removed by Mitch Claydon for a fifth-ball duck before Stevens (3-32) reduced Essex to 67-4 with his right-arm medium pacers.
Ryder (28 not out) and James Foster (5 not out) finished with an unbeaten 30-run fifth-wicket stand as they looked to shore up Essex’s innings.
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