Sam Northeast’s unbeaten century silences former team Kent as Hampshire make perfect start to Royal London One-Day Cup defence
Sam Northeast’s mighty impressive unbeaten ton ensured Hampshire started their Royal London One-Day Cup defence in fine style at Kent.
The 29-year-old returned to silence the critics at his former club with a knock of 105 not out in his side’s emphatic 90-run win at Canterbury.
In a replay of last season’s final, Hampshire posted 310-9 on what looked a decent surface.
James Vince’s side bowled and fielded with intent under the floodlights to dismiss the hosts for 220 – and fully deserved their victory in the opening round of South Group matches.
Northeast was returning to the Spitfire Ground for the first time since his somewhat acrimonious departure to the south coast at the end of 2017.
He was roundly booed by Kent fans during last year’s Lord’s showpiece but let his bat do the talking this time with an unbeaten 105, which included seven fours and two sixes.
Kent’s pursuit of 311 misfired early with the loss of three wickets inside six overs.
Daniel Bell-Drummond, squared up by late away movement, was caught from a leading edge at cover off Kyle Abbott.
Australian Matt Renshaw, on his home debut, fell soon after having edged an attempted drive off Chris Wood to be caught behind.
Heino Kuhn, Spitfires’ leading scorer in this competition last season, departed for nought when Abbott deflected a Zak Crawley drive onto the stumps to run-out Kent’s interim captain at the non-striker’s end.
In front of a crowd of almost 2,000, Crawley and Alex Blake doubled the total before Blake played around a turning delivery from Liam Dawson to go leg before.
Then Crawley, when one short of a half-century, set off in search of a suicidal single to mid-wicket to be run out by Aiden Markram’s throw to the bowler’s end.
Kyle Abbott picked up a second wicket when Adam Rouse sparred outside off stump to be caught behind by counterpart Tom Alsop.
And when Darren Stevens sliced a drive against Mason Crane to deep cover to make it 149 for seven, Kent’s outside hopes of victory went with him.
Batting first after losing the toss, Hampshire managed a workmanlike total courtesy of Northeast’s unbeaten ton and belligerent half-centuries from Vince and Rilee Rossouw.
On his competition debut Matt Milnes, a winter recruit from Nottinghamshire, marked his home bow for Kent with two early scalps.
Alsop leg-glanced Milnes’s first-ball loosener to the wicketkeeper before Aiden Markram allowed a defensive push to roll back onto his stumps and gift the Kent seamer a second wicket.
Northeast marched in to polite applause for his first innings here since the switch to Hampshire and walked off 151 minutes later with an unbeaten hundred from 95 balls. Content to play himself in, he paced the innings superbly reaching three figures in the final over of the innings.
At the other end, Vince drove imperiously in cantering to a 43-ball half-century but as with almost all Hampshire’s dismissals, he perished when attempting a cross-batted shot after a top-edged sweep lobbed to square leg.
Rossouw, Hampshire’s century-maker in the 2018 Lord’s final, raced to 55 from 35 balls only to clip one to deep square.
Dawson heaved one from Milnes to deep mid-wicket before picking up his fifth wicket when Aneurin Donald was caught at the wicket after gloving an attempted pull.
Fred Klaassen, the Netherlands left-arm seamer, pitched in with two for 62 on his competition debut.
But Milnes proved the pick of the Spitfires’ attack with five for 79 – albeit in a losing cause.