sport

Westley fires for Essex

Tom Westley destroyed the Kent attack with a magnificent century, his first in the competition, to help table-topping Essex claim a 63-run NatWest t20 Blast victory at Colchester.

Jesse Ryder then backed him up with figures of 5- 27 while Tim Phillips and Matt Salisbury weighed in with a couple of wickets each as Kent were bowled out for 146 in reply to Essex's imposing 209-5.

That total was largely down to Westley's stunning hundred.

Arriving after Mark Pettini was caught at slip off Darren Stevens' second ball of the innings, the 25-year-old scored 105 from only 58 balls before he was caught behind by Sam Billings off Mitchell Claydon.

He reached his century out of a total of 146 with a drive for six off Ben Harmison and shared in a third-wicket stand of 92 in 10 overs with Ravi Bopara, the pair coming together after the Billings and Claydon combination had accounted for Ryder to leave Essex in some trouble on 2-2.

Westley's dismissal with the score on 166 ended a partnership of 72 in five overs with James Foster but his departure brought no relief to a Kent side on a friendly pitch.

Skipper Ryan ten Doeschate saw to that as he launched a brutal assault with 37 from 15 deliveries which included four sixes in the final over of the innings sent down by Harmison.

Faced with a huge target after putting their opponents into bat, Kent were soon in trouble.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was caught from the second ball of the innings to provide Graham Napier with a success and then Salisbury claimed two wickets in his opening over.

With his first ball, he knocked out the off stump of Rob Key before following-up by having Cowdrey caught at short fine leg by Napier for a single. That left the visitors in disarray at 17-3 and they could never recover.

Unlike Essex, Kent simply did not have the armoury to fight their way back into contention.

Westley was quick to extend praise to another member of the successful Essex side, saying: "It wasn't all down to me, the way that Jesse Ryder bowled was excellent.

"We lost a couple of early wickets but we have so much batting in this side that we are always confident we will post a decent total. I felt in good nick and have been striking the ball cleanly in all formats but it was very satisfying to get a T20 century in front of our own fans."

Kent all-rounder Stevens said: "We got off to a good start getting both openers out cheaply but Tom Westley played beautifully, fair play to him. We know outstanding innings in T20 is always going to make things difficult for the opposition and so it proved."