|Royal London One-Day Cup final, Trent Bridge|
|Kent 306-6: Evison 97, Denly 78; Bailey 2-46|
|Lancashire 285: Croft 72, Jennings 71; Stewart 3-42|
|Kent beat Lancashire by 21 runs|
Kent kept their cool with three superb match-winning catches as they beat Lancashire at Trent Bridge to win the One-Day Cup by 21 runs and claim their first List A trophy since 1978.
Lancashire looked likely winners when Keaton Jennings (72) and Steven Croft (72) were in full flow.
But Croft went to a superb catch from Alex Blake as they fell short on 285.
While Blake’s amazing catch turned the contest, man of the match Evison, who also took two wickets, including the key scalp of Dane Vilas, then raced in from deep mid-wicket to pull off another blinder to remove George Lavelle.
Nathan Gilchrist ended Danny Lamb’s spirited late resistance with a third stunner on the square-leg boundary.
It was in stark contrast to Lancashire’s sloppy fielding and their own failure to take chances as Kent were allowed to post their fifth 300-plus total in nine matches in this season’s competition.
Darren Stevens, playing almost certainly his final game for Kent at the age of 46, chipped in with an unbeaten 33 and sent down eight pretty tidy overs for 44.
But he was off the field nursing a groin injury when Kent finally secured victory to bring an end to their unwanted sequence of eight straight List A final defeats.
And, on a day when 20-year-old all-rounder Evison was Kent’s main man and finished off the contest, it was almost a symbolic handing over of the reins.
While it took a shift from Lord’s to Trent Bridge to end Kent’s losing streak, Lancashire have not won a List A Trophy since 1998. And, having lost the T20 Blast to Hampshire at Edgbaston in July, it brought a bad end to an already grim week, in which their docking of six points for repeated on-field disciplinary offences effectively also ended their County Championship bid.
Kent recover after bad start
Tom Bailey struck with only the fourth ball of the match when left-hander Ben Compton carved to gully – and Croft comfortably held onto to a catch above his head. But Kent rallied well, as Ollie Robinson came in to help Evison share a stand of 78.
It was ended contentiously when Liam Hurt cut Robinson in two with a lifting ball that appeared to hit something as it made it through to wicketkeeper Lavelle, who snaked out an arm at full stretch to take a superb left-handed catch, but whether it was bat or pad was hard to tell.
Either way, it mattered little as skipper Joe Denly came in to put together a stand of 133 with Evison in 20 overs.
But Evison missed out on a ton when he was bowled by Danny Lamb, Hurt bowled Denly, Alex Blake holed out to a Rob Jones/Keaton Jennings relay catch at long on and Grant Stewart went in a run-out mix-up with Stevens.
In reply, Lancashire got off to a flier, hitting 40 off the first 25 balls before Luke Wells sloppily chipped a return catch to Stewart.
Having been well ahead on comparative run rates at the end of the 10-over Powerplay stage, Kent’s bowlers put the squeeze on.
Josh Bohannon never going before holing out to fine leg and then came the big wicket of Jennings, who spooned a catch to extra cover on 72.
Vilas also failed to find his touch before playing on after misjudging an attempted pull.
Croft and Rob Jones then looked as if they would get Lancashire home in a 59-run stand.
But Croft’s lofted pull was plucked out of the air by Blake – a catch as good as good as Lancashire skipper Jack Bond’s revered one-hand snatch to get rid of Asif Iqbal when these two sides first met in a final 51 years ago.
Just as in 1971, it was a real match-turner, Evison came in from the boundary to dive for another stunning catch to get rid of Lavelle – and then came Gilchrist’s grab to get rid of Lamb. And, although the Lancashire last pair took it to the 49th over, the conclusion was already foregone.