List of Kent County Cricket Club captains

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Robert Key was appointed captain in 2006. Robert Key playing cricket 8x12.jpg
Robert Key was appointed captain in 2006.

This is a list of Kent County Cricket Club captains. Kent County Cricket Club was formed in 1842 and has played in the County Championship since its inception in 1890 and in List A cricket and Twenty20 cricket. The first match in which Kent have a named captain indicated on scorecards available occurred on 26–27 June 1856 when the county played MCC at Gravesend. [1] South Norton captained the county on that occasion and throughout the period until 1870. The first official captain of the club was Lord Harris, an influential figure in the development of Kent and English cricket, who was appointed to the role in 1875. [2] [upper-alpha 1] As of 2018 the current club captain is batsman Sam Billings who was appointed in January 2018, replacing Sam Northeast. [3]


In total 33 men have been officially appointed as the captain of the club. Colin Cowdrey captained the side a total of 250 times in first-class cricket and held the position for 15 years, the most of any player since the establishment of the County Championship. [2] At times there have been multiple captains during a season or joint captains appointed. William Patterson, for example, captained the side five times during the 1891 and 1892 seasons towards the end of each season, the only times he was able to play regularly for the county during those seasons. For the majority of both seasons the official club captain was Frank Marchant. Similarly, Ian Akers-Douglas was the club captain for five games in the 1936 season. Akers-Douglas only captained Kent for seven matches in total, the fewest of any of the official club captains. [4]

Other players have captained the county in matches without being appointed the club captain. Peter Richardson has done so the most times in first-class matches, captaining Kent in 45 games, including 21 games in the 1963 season in place of official club captain Colin Cowdrey. [5] In 2015 Sam Northeast captained the side on a number of occasions, including in all one-day matches, despite the club captain being Rob Key. Northeast captained the side after the beginning of the season even when Key was playing and succeeded him at the end of the season. [6] [7]

Kent won their first County Championship title in 1906, under the captaincy of Cloudesley Marsham, and have won the title on a further six occasions, including one shared title in 1977. Sides captained by Ted Dillon won the Championship three times in the period immediately before World War I. Mike Denness captained Kent to six one-day titles in the early 1970s.


Below is a list of club captains appointed by Kent County Cricket Club or players who have been the sole known captain when no other has been appointed. Captains are listed in order of appointment.

William South Norton 18561870No captain is recorded in a match for Kent before 1856 or between the end of the 1870 season and the start of the 1875 season. Norton played for Kent between 1849 and 1870 and was honorary secretary of the county club formed at Maidstone in 1859 until the merger of the two Kent clubs in 1870. [2] [8]
Lord Harris 18751889Harris went on to be an influential administrator of both Kent and MCC. [2] He was appointed captain in 1875 and held the role for 15 years, having been on the committee at the club since 1870. Resigned the captaincy after the 1889 season to take up an appointment as Governor of Bombay, a post he held until 1895. [9] Played his final match for Kent in 1911 aged 60.
Frank Marchant with William Patterson at times18901897Marchant was captain for eight seasons between 1890 and 1897. [10] William Patterson, a solicitor, was often unavailable to play in the first half of the season and was "elected captain" in the second part of four seasons. [11] He captained most frequently in the 1891 and 1892 seasons in which he was captain five times in each August. [12]
Jack Mason 18981902Resigned the captaincy after five seasons due to his time commitments as a solicitor. [13] Temporarily captained the side in the last month of the 1909 County Championship winning season when Ted Dillon "stopped playing for business reasons". [14]
Cuthbert Burnup 1903Made 102 consecutive County Championship appearances for Kent between 1899 and the end of his captaincy in 1903. [15]
C. H. B. Marsham 19041908 County Championship winners 1906. Became an England Test selector in 1908. [16]
Ted Dillon 19091913 County Championship winners 1909, 1910 and 1913. [14]
Lionel Troughton 19141923Became Kent's General Manager after 1923. [17]
Stanley Cornwallis 19241926A fast bowler who bowled only 560 overs during his three seasons as captain, mainly due to injury. [18]
John Evans 1927Played his only full season whilst captain. [19]
Geoffrey Legge 19281930Died in 1940 in a flying accident whilst serving in the Fleet Air Arm. [20]
Percy Chapman and Bryan Valentine 19311935Chapman had captained England between 1926 and 1931 before becoming Kent captain. [21] He played less regularly from 1936 onwards and the captaincy was shared at various times, with Valentine generally captaining in his absence, although Chapman retained the official club captaincy until the end of the 1936 season and other players were nominated as "deputy captains" in his place. [4] [22]
Percy Chapman, Ian Akers-Douglas and Bryan Valentine 1936Akers-Douglass captained the side five times in 1936. [23]
Ronnie Bryan and Bryan Valentine 1937Bryan was limited to playing for Kent when not working but was granted a three-month leave of absence in 1937 when he shared the captaincy with Valentine. [24]
Gerry Chalk 19381939Killed in action in World War II. Scored over 1,000 runs in both his seasons as captain. [25]
Bryan Valentine 19461948Had previously been joint captain between 1931 and 1937 and had been injured in World War II. [22]
David Clark 19491951Later became an administrator of Kent, MCC and the ICC. [26]
William Murray-Wood 19521953Only an occasional player before being appointed as captain in October 1951, having captained the side in the last five matches of the 1951 season. Replaced, against his will, as captain during Canterbury Cricket Week in August 1953 by Doug Wright. [27] [28]
Doug Wright 19531956First professional captain. [2] Until this point every captain of the county had been an amateur. Wright replaced William Murray-Wood in August 1953 as captain and was appointed formally after amateur Tony Pawson, the Kent Committee's preferred choice, declined the position. [27] [28]
Colin Cowdrey 19571971 County Championship winners 1970 and Gillette Cup winners 1967. Longest span as county captain, captaining the county in 250 first-class games over 15 seasons. [2] [29] Captained England 27 times between 1959 and 1969 and was the first man to play 100 Test matches. [29] His son, Chris Cowdrey captained the county between 1985 and 1990 and another son, Graham Cowdrey, and grandson Fabian Cowdrey have both played for the county. [30]
Mike Denness 19721976Had stood in as captain when Colin Cowdrey was on England duty [31] and took over full-time at the start of the 1972 season. Won six one-day trophies as captain before being replaced as captain and leaving the county at the end of the 1976 season. [32] Denness captained England 19 times and later was chairman and president of Kent. [33]
Asif Iqbal 1977First overseas player to captain Kent. [34] Joint County Championship winners 1977, [35] Asif also captained the Pakistan side. [34]
Alan Ealham 19781980 County Championship winners 1978. Ealham was appointed shortly before the start of the 1978 season amid controversy over the role of Asif and other senior players in the establishment of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket competition. [36] [37] [38] [39]
Asif Iqbal 19811982Previously captain in 1977. [39]
Chris Tavaré 19831984England Test batsman who later captained Somerset. [40]
Chris Cowdrey 19851990Son of Colin Cowdrey, Kent captain from 1957 to 1971. Captained England on one occasion in 1988. [41]
Mark Benson 19911996Benson was injured in 1996 and did not play, retiring in mid-season. He had been appointed captain at the start of the season although Steve Marsh captain the side throughout the season. [4] [42] Later became an umpire, standing in Test matches. [43]
Steve Marsh 19961998Captained the county to the 1995 National League title when Mark Benson was injured in the latter half of the season. [44] Took over as club captain at the end of the 1996 season following Benson's retirement. [4] [42]
Matthew Fleming 19992002Replaced Marsh at the end of the 1998 season, having previously captained the British Army cricket team. [45] [46] Was the Chairman of the Professional Cricketers Association from 1998 to 2001 and later became the MCC Chairman of Cricket in 2013 and President in 2016. [47] [48]
David Fulton 20032005 Matthew Fleming retained the club captaincy in 2002 with Fulton captaining the side in the County Championship before being appointed sole captain in October 2002. [4] [49] [50] Matthew Walker acted as official List A captain for the second half of 2005 after Fulton lost his place in the one-day side. [51] Fulton stepped down after Kent failed to win the 2005 County Championship. [51]
Robert Key 20062012Won the Twenty20 Cup in 2007 and the Second Division County Championship title in 2009. [52] [53] Key resigned the captaincy at the end of the 2012 season. [53]
James Tredwell 2013Resigned after one season to focus on his role within the England team, having missed several matches during 2013 whilst on England duty. [54]
Robert Key 20142015Previously captain 2006 to 2012. [55] Sam Northeast acted as County Championship captain for much of 2015 and was the one-day captain throughout the year. [6] [4]
Sam Northeast 20162017Appointed in September 2016 after captaining the team on the field for most of the 2016 season. [6] Reappointed for the 2017 season in September 2016 [56] and replaced by the county in January 2018 after declining the offer of a contract extension which would have kept him at Kent beyond the end of the 2018 season. [3] Northeast left Kent to join Hampshire in February 2018, having been given permission to speak to other counties. [57] [58] [59]
Sam Billings 2018PresentAppointed in January 2018. [3] Joe Denly captained the team at the beginning of the 2018 season whilst Billings was playing for England cricket team and in the 2018 Indian Premier League. [60] Both Billings and Denly are playing in the 2019 IPL and Heino Kuhn captained the team for the start of the 2019 season. [61]

See also


  1. A list produced by Kent County Cricket Club in October 2014 has a slightly different set of dates, including Harris as captain from 1871. This contradicts the club history, scorecards and other sources

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