Sam Northeast continued his excellent run of form with the bat by striking an unbeaten century to help steer Hampshire to an emphatic 90-run Royal London One-Day Cup victory over Kent in Canterbury.
In a replay of last season’s 50-over Lord’s final which also went Hampshire’s way by 61 runs, the visitors made good first use of a good pitch to post 310 for nine. After which, James Vince’s side bowled and fielded with intent under the floodlights to dismiss Spitfires for 220 and fully deserve their win in this season’s opening round of south group fixtures.
Returning to Canterbury for the first time since departing at the end of 2017, Northeast hit a well-constructed 105 including 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, then Australian Matt Renshaw, on his home debut, edged an attempted drive against Chris Wood to be caught behind.
Heino Kuhn 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 depart lbw, then Crawley, when one short of his 50, 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.
Abbott picked up a second when Adam Rouse sparred outside off to be caught behind by counterpart 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 good first-innings total courtesy of Northeast’s unbeaten ton and belligerent fifties 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. Tom Alsop leg-glanced Milnes’s first-ball to the keeper then 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 and walked off 151 minutes later with an unbeaten hundred from 95 balls. Content to play himself in, Northeast paced the innings superbly reaching three figures in the 50th over.
At the other end, Vince drove imperiously in cantering to a 43-ball 50 before being dismissed.
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, then Milnes claimed his fifth 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 in a losing cause.