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August 2008
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The TWC summit: The Friends Provident final

August 13th, 2008 by Sam Collins in County cricket, One-day cricket and tagged , , ,

As Kent and Essex prepare to go toe to toe in Saturday’s Friends Provident final, we asked our panel who they’re backing on the big day…

Edward Craig

Deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Kent have the experience in big games this season, even if they narrowly lost it. They’ll want to make amends, they have the captain and the overseas bowling attack to make the difference. And they still hurt after missing out in that Twenty20 Cup final. Essex made it into the final on the back of Graham Napier’s outrageous form. He’s since mislaid his magic potion. Kent will win easily.

Daniel Brigham

Assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Essex will win because I support them and the consequences of them losing are just too much for my colleagues to dare contemplate.

Essex and Kent have been the most consistent one-day performers this season so it will come down to the big players. Ravi Bopara’s had a nice little habit of putting in great performances in front of the TV cameras this season and I back him to win it for Essex.

Rob Smyth

Freelance journalist and fitness fanatic

Kent, quite simply because they are the best one-day side in the country. They have the best opening partnership, the shortest tail (in fact it’s non-existent), and some seriously canny bowlers. Barring an Act of Bopara, they should win.

Robin Martin-Jenkins

Sussex allrounder, columnist and beneficiary

I’m backing Kent. Not literally, Lord Condon. But having played against, and been beaten by, both sides this year i think Kent have more experienced match-winners in their line up. When Sussex played in the C&G final in 2006 we found it was the experienced players (Mushtaq, Kirtley, Yardy) who saw us to victory. While Essex undoubtedly have some talented young players (Bopara, Napier, Foster) I think the big match temperaments of players like Kemp, Mahmood and Rob Key will come to the fore for Kent. Watch out too for Yasir Arafat, if he is fit, who was superb for us in the aforementioned C&G final, and has only improved since his move to Kent.

King Cricket

Blogger extraordinaire

If we didn’t go for Rob Key and therefore Kent, it would be a gross dereliction of duty deserving of some particularly horrendous punishment - like having to spend half an hour talking about cars and mobile phones with some businessmen.

But quite apart from Himself, Kent look the stronger side. Joe Denly’s got a bit of panache alongside Rob at the top of the order and there’s Martin van Jaarsveld to come after them. Ryan McLaren seems to like the big stage and Azhar Mahmood picked up 143 caps in one of the finest one-day international sides there’s ever been (even if it was occasionally one of the worst).

Essex have some mercurial hitters in Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier who could conceivably win a game single-handed, but in reality Ravi Bopara is head and shoulders above the rest of their batting line-up.

So Kent then. We’re expecting a Rob Key performance as icy as our newly over-enthusiastic freezer.

Sam Collins

Web editor of www.

I can’t see beyond Kent.

Essex have some fantastic players - James Foster and Ravi Bopara have done just about enough this season to suggest that they should be lining up alongside Alastair Cook for England - but, Bopara apart, you sense their momentum has slipped since Kent beat them in the T20 semi. It would be great if Graham Napier could rediscover his form of a month ago and give himself something tangible to remember this season by, but Kent’s experienced attack will provide the sternest of challenges.

Although they are my team, I’m not a fan of Kent’s approach this season, but packing their side with battle-hardened imports (Mahmood, van Jaarsveld, Kemp, Arafat, McLaren) has been undeniably effective. They should have won the Twenty20, but with an innovative opening partnership of Denly and Key that England could do a lot worse than try (at least in one-day cricket) backed up by van Jaarsveld and an experienced middle-order they have the allround game to ensure that this will not be a season of missed opportunity.


According to our panel, it’s a done deal - Daniel Brigham and his Essex Eagles are heading back to Chelmsford with their tails (if Eagles have tails?) between their legs. But that was the expectation ahead of the Twenty20 final, and Middlesex turned the tables on Kent then, so Essex will be confident they can force an upset.

Posted in County cricket, One-day cricket |

7 Responses to “The TWC summit: The Friends Provident final”

  1.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Ed: “Essex made it into the final on the back of Graham Napier’s outrageous form. He’s since mislaid his magic potion”

    Your cord fumes must be getting to you. Napier has scored 96 runs in the FP this season - he is blatantly not the reason Essex are in the final. Bopara has scored 492 (including a 201*), Pettini’s scored 321, Gallian 316, Doeschate 300. This is why Essex are in the final.

  2.   Edward Craig says:

    Sorry… the momentum of Graham Napier’s Twenty20 form carried Essex into the final…

    Or Twenty20-Fifty50… it’s all one, big limited overs mash.

  3.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Definitely the fault of the cords.

  4.   Len says:

    I’m going to go for Essex. On the basis that if I’m right, I can use your backing of Kent to undermine all future predictions you make, and if I’m wrong, you’ll be too busy criticising each others trousers to do the same to me.

    As a secondary prediction: After both sides fail to bowl their overs in the allocated time, the ECB heavily fine Yorkshire.


  5.   A Friends Provident Trophy Final Preview in 100 words « says:

    [...] 15, 2008 by A P Webster In tomorrow’s Friends Provident Trophy Final, the Kent of Rob Key, Joe Denly and Yasir Arafat take on the Essex of Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi [...]

  6.   Daniel Brigham says:

    So, Ed. Notice Essex won and Napier didn’t even bat?

  7.   Len says:

    Daniel, there’s no need to rub it in. Of course Ed will have noticed. Unless the coverage clashed with a George at Asda sale, of course.

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