Eagles soar to Pro40 title

Flower powers Essex to glory in thrilling run chase at Canterbury

Last updated: 13th September 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Eagles soar to Pro40 title

Essex celebrate in style after winning the title

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NatWest Pro40 - Division Two
Canterbury
Kent Spitfires 246-5 Innings Complete (R W T Key 120 no, M van Jaarsveld 61) v Essex Eagles 247-6 (G W Flower 68 no, R S Bopara 59, J E R Gallian 51)
Essex beat Kent by 4 wkts

Grant Flower once again proved to be the scourge of Kent as he helped Essex clinch the Pro40 Division Two title at Canterbury.

The former Zimbabwe international hit 68 from just 42 balls to steer the Eagles past the home side's total of 246-5 with an over to spare.

It is the second time Flower has produced a match-winning knock against the Spitfires having also starred in the Friends Provident Trophy final.

Just as on that day at Lord's Kent came off second best, a feeling they have become all too used to this year having also lost in the final of the Twenty20 Cup.

Painful defeat

Defeat was particularly painful for their captain Rob Key, who had smashed a superb 120 not out to boost his side's hopes of promotion on the last day.

Needing a win to make sure of a top two finish, the Spitfires were indebted to their skipper for a wonderful 117-ball knock that included 15 fours and a six.

Martin van Jaarsveld made a quick-fire 61 in a 113-run stand with Key after opener Joe Denly had fallen for 11 to David Masters, who finished as the pick of the Essex attack with 1-21 from his eight overs.

Kent's situation was given a further boost when Essex skipper Mark Pettini fell to the first ball of the second innings, clean bowled by Yasir Arafat.

Partnership

However, veteran opener Jason Gallian (51) and Ravi Bopara (59) overcame the setback with a partnership of 113 that put the game in the balance.

Although both fell to the medium pace of Darren Stevens, the Eagles remained in contention thanks to their own version of Flower power.

The right-hander kept his cool under pressure and capitalised on some poor bowling at the death, meaning the injured Graham Napier, who hurt his ankle in the field, was never called upon to bat.

With Yorkshire winning at Wantage Road, Kent finish in fourth spot in the table, meaning they will remain in the second tier of the competition for next year.

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