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Derbyshire v Kent: 50s for Key, Northeast and Harmison in draw

Monday 24th August 2015

Men’s First Team

Rob Key, Sam Northeast and Ben Harmison scored half-centuries to put Kent in contention before rain had the final word as the LV County Championship match at Derby ended in a draw.

The game was in the balance at tea with Kent 231 for 5, chasing a target of 329 to win before but the weather closed in during the interval leaving the umpires with no alternative but to call the game off.

Kent’s chances had looked slim at the start of the day when Derbyshire struck twice in five balls to reduce the visitors to 34 for 2.

Ben Cotton found some late movement with the 10th ball of the morning to defeat Daniel Bell-Drummond’s defence and knock out his off stump before Joe Denly edged a big drive at Mark Footitt.

Rob Key and Sam Northeast batted with impressive selectivity to leave the game finely poised at lunch.

Captains past and present looked increasingly secure, with Key passing the notable milestone of 19,000 first-class runs on the way to a fifty which he reached when he forced Cotton through the covers for his ninth four.

Tony Palladino had Key lbw for 67 ten overs after lunch to end a third-wicket stand of 105 in 36 overs.

But Northeast and Harmison kept Kent on track with Northeast cutting Cotton for his eighth four to reach his first 50 in 12 championship innings before driving leg-spinner Matt Critchley for six.

Derbyshire’s bowling options were reduced with injured duo Shiv Thakor (concussion) and Alex Hughes (hand) off the field before two wickets in four overs before tea left the game delicately poised.

The target had been reduced to 118 when Footitt tempted Northeast into a pull which he gloved behind and the game swung back to Derbyshire in the last over before tea.

Harmison had taken three fours from Chesney Hughes’s left-arm spin but went for another drive at the penultimate ball of the session and was caught at slip.

With Kent needing 98 and Derbyshire five wickets, the game could have gone either way but the rain left both teams wondering what might have been.

Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen said: “Having two bowlers down, I thought it was an outstanding effort from the trio of seamers.

“Key and Northeast played really well in that first session when we picked up two quick wickets and they had to knuckle down and not give us anything and they did that.”

There was good news for Kent with Sam Billings, who dislocated a finger on the first morning, expected to play in Thursday’s Royal London One-Day Cup quarter final at the Kia Oval.

Skipper Sam Northeast admitted: “When we lost Sam in the first half-hour we thought we would be fighting an uphill battle.

“It’s been a good learning experience for the young seamers and with the bat we found a little bit of form and who knows what the result would have been so there are positives to take out of the match.”

Click here for the scorecard