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Rouse nous sees Gloucs home in thriller

Adam Rouse struck an unbeaten 35 from 16 balls as Gloucestershire gained a thrilling three-wicket, final-ball NatWest T20 Blast South Group victory against Kent Spitfires at Bristol.

Wicketkeeper Rouse joined Gloucestershire on a month's trial last week and marked his second T20 game for the county with a brilliant innings, which included three fours off the last over of the game by Australia seamer Doug Bollinger.

Gloucestershire looked to be out of contention when reduced to 101 for six in the 16th over, but Rouse received good support from Jack Taylor and Tom Smith to secure his county’s third win in the competition this season.

The result leaves Kent sixth in the South Group – a point and a place above the victors.

Earlier, a sparkling 75 from Sam Northeast, which included five fours and four sixes dominated Kent's total of 150 for six on a slow pitch.

After being put in by acting Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman, Kent took 40 off the six powerplay overs for the loss of skipper Robert Key, who departed for 14 when David Payne had him caught off a leading edge by Graeme McCarter at mid-off.

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Northeast appeared to be setting Kent up for an imposing total as they took the total on to 94 in the 12th over, before the former fell lbw to slow left-armer Smith.

Northeast looked in excellent form as he plundered three fours and as many straight sixes on his way to a 35-ball half-century, but no-one else was able to offer him the support needed as Kent's innings faltered in the closing overs.

Darren Stevens and Alex Blake skied catches to Taylor, at backward point, and Ian Cockbain, at long-off, to give wickets to Benny Howell and McCarter, respectively.

Northeast added another two fours and a six over long-on to his tally before he was out leg before to McCarter with eight balls of the innings remaining.

Payne conceded just five runs off the final over, and the left-arm seamer took his second wicket when Sam Billings struck a full-toss to Alex Gidman at extra cover.

Gloucestershire's chase was undermined by the loss of two wickets in three balls during the third over, as Mitchell Claydon held a waist-high return catch to dismiss Alex Gidman and had Chris Dent caught behind by Billings.

It became 36 for three in the sixth over when Hamish Marshall chopped a Bollinger delivery on to his stumps to depart for 10.

Cockbain made 18 before he was caught behind by Billings, standing up to the medium pace of Adam Ball, and with Darren Stevens giving away just 14 runs off his first three overs, Kent's grip on the game was starting to tighten.

Three sixes in seven balls, two by Will Gidman and one by Howell, threatened to loosen it, but Claydon struck with his first ball back at the Ashley Down Road End when Howell was caught by Ball, running in from long-on.

Will Gidman was bowled by James Tredwell for 22, but Rouse and Taylor kept Gloucestershire in with a chance through some superb strokeplay.

Taylor made 19 from 10 balls before he was bowled by David Griffiths with nine deliveries left in the innings.

Twelve were required off the last over and Rouse got the job done with boundaries off the third, fourth and last balls.

A delighted Rouse said after the match: "It's an awesome feeling. Winning is always a good feeling, but when you are on trial and it's your home debut, it's nice to come in and do something for the team.

"We bat quite deep, and the boys were thinking as long as we take the game deep, we'll give ourselves a good chance of winning it. We've got some good hitters down the order, as Jack Taylor showed, so we knew if we could keep it under 15 in the last over we'd have a chance."

Kent captain Key said: "It was a shame to lose. I thought we had the game won with four overs left, but they play pretty well and we didn't quite nail it at the death.

"Sam Northeast played outstandingly well for us. It was a green pitch, with a bit in it, but we gave ourselves a good platform. But you need to hurt a team at the back-end of the innings and we didn't do that."

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