Cricket: Hampshire shaken by Fleming's 'golden' arm

Hampshire 207; Kent 211-8 Kent win by two wickets
Click to follow
The Independent Online
He is "The Man with the Golden Arm". Matthew Fleming's uncle, the author Ian who created James Bond, could not have plotted it better. The former army officer's second five-wicket haul in a week in the Benson and Hedges Cup earned him another Gold Award and helped set Kent, five quarter-finals in the last six years, on their well-worn path to the knock-out stages.

His excellent 5 for 27 - a vast improvement on Monday's effort - virtually ended Hampshire's chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages. He was run close for the award by another Matthew, the diminutive, talented batsman, Walker.

The two Matthews preached their one-day gospel via their bats when they opened the Kent innings. Two maiden overs were all Fleming could stand. Four scoring strokes later and he was gone for 13 runs. That left the stage to Walker and he did not waste a moment. He compiled his third one- day half-century in consecutive matches, and on the way to a personal best in the competition of 83, he passed 1,000 runs in what was his 50th one-day match for the county.

Just as it would be unfair to describe Fleming as purely military medium (despite his background) so it would be a gross calumny to regard Walker as anything but a cultured strokemaker. He uses his head and - equally importantly - his feet.

He had paced his innings to perfection and some two and a half hours into it was contemplating a century when he was yorked by the worthy Simon Renshaw. He and Nigel Llong had rattled along for a dozen overs adding 72, but Llong soon followed him to the pavilion. He had, at least, completed his maiden B&H fifty.

They wobbled further when their captain, Steve Marsh, sliced a Kevan James delivery to gully but the Zimbabwean leg-spinner, Paul Strang, who had earlier proved difficult to wring runs from, saw them home.

And so to Matthew Book One. He teased the heart out of the Hampshire innings in four separate spells, enticing and tempting the batsmen to do the unwise and that ensured Hampshire fell short of setting a challenging target.

Comments