Kent v Gloucestershire
Specsavers County Championship -
8 May 2016
Kent’s last day victory pursuit ran out of time and steam at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence where Gloucestershire escaped with a scare and a draw after a rain-affected final day.
A heavy shower at 10am and the subsequent loss of 33 overs crucially impaired Kent’s chances of victory on the final day. But the hosts, who have now lost 633 overs to inclement weather this season, gave it their best shot.
Kent picked up three wickets in the opening session after play finally started at 1.45pm. Cameron Bancroft (18) and Chris Dent (27) were both caught in the cordon off Darren Stevens and Calum Haggett respectively. Then Haggett struck again to snare Gareth Roderick (11) lbw after the visiting skipper missed an off-cutter when attempting a, leg-side flick.
Kent will be left ruing a missed chance off the bat of first-innings top-scorer Hamish Marshall who, with his score on four, aimed a slash drive against Stevens only for Joe Denly to down a sharp chance to his right at third slip.
After tea Cockbain (32) sparred at one from Hunn to edge to Rouse to make it 111 for four, and Hunn ought to have struck again in identical fashion two balls later when George Hankins also nicked for the keeper only for umpire Russell Evans to call the bowler for a no ball for overstepping.
Two overs later Marshall departed for 20 when he nicked a leg-side flick against Hunn to the tumbling rouse and, with 25 overs still remaining, the visitors trailed by 19 runs.
Haggett got in the act again in the 43rd over by dismissing Hawkins for 12. Late in his decision to shoulder arms to an off-cutter, the ball glanced off the face of the Hawkins’ bat and through to Rouse.
Going into the final hour the visitors were only seven ahead with four wickets in hand, but then Kieran Noema-Barnett edged the first ball of a Mitch Claydon spell to keeper and Stevens plucked out the middle stump of Craig Miles to send him packing for a single.
Kent might have snatched a ninth wicket when Jack Taylor got an inside edge to one from Stevens but Rouse, stood up to the stumps, was unable to cling on.
Taylor (46*) and David Payne (20*) bravely stood firm thereafter and, with the visitors 70 runs ahead and with only five overs left in the match, the sides shook hands on a draw just after 6pm. Kent banked 12pts and Gloucestershire 10pts.
Kent’s batsmen were left cursing the weather and missing out on a fifth batting bonus point as Gloucestershire rallied on a rain-protracted third day in Canterbury where the hosts closed on 478 for eight.
Only 46 overs were bowled after heavy showers struck at either end of the day, but there was time enough for the visitors to bag five wickets and for the hosts to mess up their pursuit of 400 before the 110-over cut off point.
Resuming on their second day score 304 for three, Kent immediately faced the challenge of the second new ball in the hands of left-arm seamer David Payne.
Payne almost forced an immediate breakthrough, causing Sam Northeast to edge short of slip, then Payne’s concerted appeal for lbw against Northeast was also turned down by umpire Russell Evans.
As it was, Kent suffered their first loss in the fourth over of the day when Alex Blake went without adding to his overnight score of 45. Prodding forward to one from Craig Miles, the left-hander nicked low to slip where Chris Dent snaffled a low chance that ended a fourth-wicket stand worth 104 in 28.4 overs with Northeast.
The Kent captain ploughed on to move past his previous championship best of 165, scored against Derbyshire at St Lawrence in 2012. Then Northeast set a new career best in all first-class cricket. By reaching 178 with a steer to third man against Josh Shaw, the Kent skipper bettered the 176 he scored against Loughborough MCCU at Canterbury in 2011.
At the other end, Darren Stevens started his innings with positive intent, but received a stroke of luck on 14 when he was caught at mid-on by Jack Taylor only for the delivery from Miles to be called a no ball.
Stevens enjoyed another let off with his score on 31 when Kieran Noema-Barnett dropped an overhead catch at slip after the Kent beneficiary had edged a cut shot off the bowling of Shaw.
Northeast’s vigil ended after 392 minutes for 189 when he played round a leg-cutter from Shaw that held its line against the slope to clip off stump. The 26-year-old scored 21 fours and a six and departed with his side 39 runs ahead.
Kent were seven short of a fifth batting bonus point when Adam Rouse (8) edged to the keeper when attempting to open the face and run the ball down to third man against Miles. Then, with only a handful of runs needed for their 400, Kent were guilty of depriving Stevens of the strike and, with five required from the 110th over from Miles, Calum Haggett could only muster two, sending the hosts in disappointed at tea.
Stevens went soon after the resumption and only two deliveries after posting a 77-ball half-century with three fours and a brace of sixes. Shaw dismissed him after the Kent batsman uppercut his rank long-hop into the hands of Ian Cockbain at deep backward point.
Five runs later, Mitch Claydon (8) slogged and missed against off-spinner Jack Taylor to become the first victim of the match to fall to spin and, with their lead on 89, the players fled the field to another downpour and the loss of a further 17 overs.
Play resumed at 6.20pm when, in fading light, Kent elected to bat on and, through some lusty hitting from Matt Hunn (32*) and Haggett (33*), took their side’s lead into three figures with a belligerent stand of 54 from 41 balls.
Kent captain Sam Northeast led from the front with an unbeaten 154 that moved his side into a commanding position at the mid-point of their Specsavers County Championship Division 2 clash with Gloucestershire.
With his side in trouble on six for two Northeast, in tandem with Kent’s new overseas professional Tom Latham, turned the course of events on their head with a third-wicket stand of 204 inside 53 overs as Kent reached stumps on 304 for three.
The pair came together after Kent, responding to the visitors’ workmanlike total of 337, had lost two wickets within 15 balls at the start of their reply.
In-form opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, playing his 100th first-class innings, defended his third delivery off the back foot against David Payne, only for the ball to trickle back onto the stumps for a duck.
In his next over Payne, Gloucestershire’s slingy left-arm paceman, got one to hold its own against the slope to square up Joe Denly in his back-foot defensive push and pluck out off stump. Denly also went without scoring from six deliveries.
Northeast and Latham had little or no trouble once the shine and hardness went off the ball and combined either side of tea in a textbook double-century stand.
Northeast posted his first championship 50 of the season from 83 balls, while Latham faced the same amount of deliveries for his third successive half-century in Division 2.
Northeast went on to cut Kieran Noema-Barnett for his 12th four for a 147-ball century, the 12th of his first-class career, as Kent went in at tea on 198 for two.
Latham also looked set for three figures but, after facing 157 balls without a mistake, he was undone by Noema-Barnett’s lack of pace. Playing too soon to a slow off-cutter, Latham got a leading edge to scoop a comfortable return catch to the bowler to go for 90.
Their stand was Kent’s best for their third wicket at Canterbury, beating 197 set by Alan Wells and Trevor Ward in 1997.
Northeast marched on, moving past 150 for only the second time in championship cricket from 222 balls and with 18 fours, to go with his straight six lofted off spinner Jack Taylor as he and Alex Blake (45*) combined to add a further 94 through to the close.
At the day’s start. Kent had needed 41 minutes and 11 overs to pick up Gloucestershire’s 10th wicket, that of last man Josh Shaw for 17. Attempting to leg glance against Calum Haggett, Shaw edged leg-side for Adam Rouse to compete a tumbling catch to his left for his fourth catch of the innings and his 14th of the season.
Payne was left unbeaten on 46, while Haggett, Darren Stevens and Mitch Claydon finished with three wickets apiece.
Hamish Marshall was the top performer on day one against Kent, scoring the 28th first-class hundred of his career in Canterbury. The 37-year-old right-hander rescued Gloucestershire from 14 for four and led them to 296 for nine after they had won the toss and chosen to bat.
Extracting decent carry and a little nip off a first-day surface at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Kent’s veteran new-ball pairing Mitch Claydon and Darren Stevens shared six wickets, including two apiece inside the opening 18 overs of the match.
The sixth-placed visitors lost Chris Dent (1) 16 balls into the game. Pushing late and down the wrong line to a full-length ball from Claydon, he went lbw for a single.
Four overs later, number three Ian Cockbain, in attempting to pull against Claydon, edged through to keeper Adam Rouse to depart for a 12-ball duck.
After an hour at the crease opener Cameron Bancroft (7) pushed at a good length lifting leg-cutter from Stevens to be caught behind then, in his next over, Stevens produced a near identical delivery to account for Gareth Roderick (1) and give Rouse a third catch of the session against his former county.
Marshall’s back-foot cut through backward off the bowling of Calum Haggett opened his side’s boundary account once Stevens rested following an obdurate 10-over spell of two for 10 from the Pavilion End that included five maidens.
Yet it was Matt Hunn, on his season’s debut, and Haggett claimed Kent’s only mid-session successes. Haggett bowled George Hankins (41) to end a fifth-wicket stand that added 87 in 20.5 overs, then Hunn nipped one down the Canterbury slope to clip the top of middle stump as left-hander Kieran Noema-Barnett (24) played back and across the line.
Marshall might have gone with his score on 35, but Claydon was unable to cling on to a low caught and bowled chance in his follow-through allowing the Blackcap batsman to reach a 179-ball century with 11 fours.
Kent were left a bowler light at 4.25pm when, after bowling the 69th over, off-spinner Adam Riley went off the field with a suspected side strain.
Marshall took full advantage to add 112 in 27.2 overs in tandem with Jack Taylor who looked assured in scoring a 74-ball 50 with seven fours. But Taylor blotted his copybook in the penultimate over before the second new ball by driving a return catch to Stevens for a gift third wicket of the day.
Five deliveries later, Claydon’s first delivery of a new spell from the Nackington Road End, lifted, struck Marshall on the gloves and ballooned to Tom Latham at second slip to end his 202-ball stay. Marshall had batted almost four-and-a-half hours for his 112.
Claydon and Stevens shared the second new ball but without success as ninth-wicket partners David Payne (22*) and Craig Miles (20) added 39, before Miles edged a loose back-foot force against Haggett to Stevens at slip.
Kent had made three team changes to the side that beat Glamorgan by 10 wickets to move third in the Division 2 table on Wednesday.
Opening bowler Matt Coles, suspended for two games under the ECB’s disciplinary procedures, was replaced by Haggett. Top-order bat Sean Dickson needed eight stitches in his left hand after cutting himself when trying to repair a fan at his home. The South African could be out for a fortnight and was replaced by Alex Blake, while Hunn was preferred to rookie seamer Hugh Bernard, who made his first-class debut in the win over Glamorgan.
Gloucestershire’s in-form century-maker Hamish Marshall was delighted by his side’s first day comeback in the Garden if England.
“It’s going nicely and always feels good early season when pitches can be that little bit tougher,” said Marshall after scoring his third championship century against Kent and second in successive matches.
“George Hankins batted nicely and was looking set when he got out, then I formed crucial partnerships with Kieran Noema-Barnett and Jack Taylor formed crucial partnerships that took us almost to 300.
“You have to be wary of the slopes here and there’s no doubt the Kent attack asked a few questions of us early doors. I just tried to be disciplined with my leaving and it felt good to get through to three figures.”
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bat.
Daniel Bell-Drummond | Thomas Latham | Joseph Denly | Sam Northeast | Darren Stevens | Alexander Blake | Adam Rouse | Calum Haggett | Mitchell Claydon | Adam Riley | Matthew Hunn |
Cameron Bancroft | Christopher Dent | Ian Cockbain | Gareth Roderick | Hamish Marshall | George Hankins | Kieran Noema-Barnett | Jack Taylor | Craig Miles | Joshua Shaw | David Payne |