Lee turns defeat into a victory

Kent 206-9 Somerset win by 3 wickets
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The Independent Online
As title defences go, Kent are finding their Sunday League crown hard to hang on to. Somerset's Australian all-rounder Shane Lee knocked it awry yesterday as he smashed Somerset to victory with a whirlwind unbeaten 62 off just 46 balls.

Kent look as if they will need a return to Sunday school after losing their way with the bat and their grip on a game they could and should have won with the ball.

They failed to maintain the pressure at the end despite picking up wickets at regular intervals and leaving the Somerset batsmen seemingly with too much to do; 32 runs were needed from the last three overs and despite the loss of Robbie Turner, Lee turned victory into a formality with a ball to spare.

Opener Mark Lathwell, despite losing two partners in rapid succession, had combined soundly with Richard Harden in a third-wicket partnership of 74 which laid the foundations for the Somerset triumph. Sadly, the partnership ended when one-time England batsman Lathwell hoisted the wily Carl Hooper to the lurking figure of Graham Cowdrey at deep mid-wicket and departed five runs short of a deserved 50.

It was the first of two important catches by Cowdrey, whose apparent inherited wealth of flesh belies a high degree of athleticsm. His dismissal of the troublesome Harden - centurion in the Championship match - called on a great deal of skill and no little balance.

That was one of a number of brilliant moments by the Kent fielders but there was also a fair sprinkling of errors. It had been a similar tale when Kent were at the crease.

It seemed to consist of an assortment of peeks and troughs. Once the batsmen had had a peek they then rushed to the trough to gorge themselves on runs, however the Somerset attack was not that keen to hand out tit- bits.

Hooper having pinched a single, and the strike, in reaching fifty, then hammered the next ball he faced straight down long-off's throat. That was England Andy Caddick who came through with no apparent problems after a back strain had forced him out of the Championship match.

Acting captain Ward had Kent innings rattling along at more than five an over when, bristling with over-confidence, he attempted a reverse sweep and was comfortably taken at backward point. Opener Matthew Fleming made the only other significant contribution, before holing out in the deep to give Marcus Trescothick the second Sunday League wicket of his career -his first came last week against Essex.

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