Cricket: Fleming and Cowdrey lead assault: Leicestershire given fearful battering

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The Independent Online
Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .327-6

Leicestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .265-5

Kent win by 63 runs

THERE was some serious GBH going on here and the visiting constabulary from Leicestershire were left holding a mighty thick charge sheet. Kent had simply driven up and waded in, going to the top of the Sunday league hit list when Matthew Fleming and Graham Cowdrey topped off the assault by smashing 75 in five overs. So much pain, but then so much pleasure.

The only nick the sixth-wicket pair were in was the good variety and they had a hard couple of acts to follow after Carl Hooper and Neil Taylor had helped themselves to half-centuries. But the best of the belligerence was saved to the last as Kent raced past 300 for the third time in this summer's 50-over revamp to surpass the 310 Sussex made against Surrey at Hove in May.

Purists, meanwhile, may disapprove of the one-day bash, though the first of a crowd in excess of 5,000 were queuing outside the gates at 8.30 yesterday morning, which rather suggests that here at any rate the purists would be killed in the rush for a seat. It was Hooper who started the ball rolling, or rather soaring, soon after Leicestershire had finished celebrating the dismissal of Trevor Ward, still the league's leading scorer with 605 runs but having only thrice clattered the boards on this occasion. Hooper welcomed the introduction of Vince Wells to the attack by dispatching him for six.

Hooper had added five more boundaries in making 64, featured in two half-century partnerships and closed the gap between himself and Ward in the Sunday run-making business to 13 when James Whitaker cut him off with a superb catch. Neil Taylor then kept things ticking over with an unfussy 57 before becoming the fifth man out.

Would you consider buying a second hand bat from Fleming or Cowdrey? Probably not, judging by the abuse inflicted upon them from the 45th over onwards. Cowdrey, for example, clubbed 43 from 19 balls including half a dozen fours and a six. As for Fleming's blunderbuss, this was still blasting away at the finish, by which time he had made 67 from 40 balls.

Confronted by a target of 328, no- one surely was making a rush to the betting tent to lay their life savings on Leicestershire, and certainly not after Alan Igglesden had marked his return following a back injury by bowling one of only three maidens on the day. A few grins were then wiped from Kent faces, Nigel Briers contributing 63 in an opening stand of 138 in 29 overs with Tim Boon.

As for the battling Boon, he went the full distance of three hours, his 135 representing his Sunday best for the season. The trouble, though, was that his partners were unable to produce an answer to the heavy blows from Fleming, Cowdrey and company, who in this sort of form are quite murderous.

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