Patience prevails as Kent are denied victory
12 June 2018
A century stand - their second of the match - between Graeme van Buuren and Kieran Noema-Barnett saw Gloucestershire to a draw on the final day of their Championship match against Kent at the Brightside Ground.
On the back foot after three wickets had gone down for 19 runs, the same partnership which had pulled around Gloucestershire's first innings again showed the durability to protect the lower order until only twelve minutes play remained, when van Buuren was caught at short leg off Daniel Bell-Drummond for 59. It was left to Craig Miles to see out the match with Noema-Barnett (42*) as Gloucestershire closed on 322-7 in their second innings.
Gloucestershire take 7 points from the match, which was their third draw in five Championship games so far this season.
Watch head coach Richard Dawson's post match thoughts here:
Gloucestershire began the final day in a similar position to the ones they faced against Glamorgan and Middlesex - needing to bat for six hours to avoid defeat. Kent knew a second new ball would be available in mid afternoon, and that spell, along with the first hour, appeared to be the key phases that would decide the outcome.
Openers Benny Howell and Chris Dent had put on 73 together on the third evening, and Howell soon pulled a short ball from Henry to complete his second Championship fifty of the summer from 101 balls with seven boundaries.
Stevens was an economical foil for Kent's leading wicket taker for most of the first hour, but it was Podmore who gave the visitors the first of two quick wickets when Howell was trapped lbw for 67. The decreasing bounce was a factor in Gareth Roderick's dismissal to Ivan Thomas one run later - also lbw - and James Bracey also saw an edge flash past the hands of Heino Kuhn in the slips before lunch, by which time the deficit was down below 200 and skipper Chris Dent had reached his own half century with seven fours.
Kent captain Joe Denly had bowled his leg spin from the pavilion end before lunch, and his spell was to extend to 17 overs as the visitors plugged away on a wearing pitch. At times Denly had four close catchers in operation, which meant four lots of headgear lined up behind Adam Rouse when the seamers were operating from the other end.
Harry Podmore's involvement in the day had been made possible by some treatment to a sore knee, and the value of a thorough warm-up paid dividends when Dent edged to 'keeper Rouse after batting for more than four hours for his 76. His departure maintained Kent's hopes of victory, and an hour later Gloucestershire had been backed into a corner with two further wickets falling before the second new ball could be taken.
Both went to Denly, the gritty Bracey (27) being caught behind playing back, and Jack Taylor trapped on the crease by one that straightened for 15. Graeme van Buuren's first movement to Denly when he came in was also backwards, but he survived while Higgins - against the new ball - did not, flicking at a delivery from Stevens which went comfortably to first slip.
It left Gloucestershire six wickets down with more than a session to negotiate, although with van Buuren and Noema-Barnett again batting together it was not an unfamiliar position and whatever was said at tea, neither returned to the middle prepared only to defend.
The overall deficit dropped below 100 runs as van Buuren clipped Denly through mid wicket and it felt a decisive moment when the same bowler had a big lbw appeal against van Buuren turned down with 23 overs remaining.
Thereafter, the clock always looked against Kent although with Gloucestershire still in arrears they continued to press for the one wicket which might have brought more. As it was, van Buuren reached his second half century of the match well into the final hour, and Noema-Barnett's drive off Denly brought up a second century partnership between the pair before, at 5.48pm, the unlikely figure of Bell-Drummond removed van Buuren for 59, caught at silly point. It was his first Championship wicket.
In the remaining twelve minutes, Kent squeezed in four more overs, but to no avail, and the match was drawn.