Honours even at The Nevill

Saturday 1st June 2013

Men’s First Team

Honours even at The Nevill

Despite last-day hundreds for Rob Key and Brendan Nash, along with a stunning 58-ball cameo of 97 by Darren Stevens, Kent were held to a draw by Leicestershire.

Kent declared on 353 for three for a first-innings lead of 167 and then claimed the early scalp of Niall O'Brien to give themselves hope of victory in a match where almost two days had been lost to rain at Tunbridge Wells.

However, Leicestershire suffered no further alarms as second-wicket pair Greg Smith and Ned Eckersley made the game safe with an unbroken stand of 128 in the remaining 46.4 overs, both players contributing 65.

The players shook hands on a draw at 5pm with 14.2 overs of the game remaining, leaving Kent with 10 points to Leicestershire's four.

Kent had galloped along at almost 10 an over in the morning session in a bid to secure a reasonable first-innings advantage, whilst leaving themselves sufficient time to potentially dismiss the visitors for a second time.

As it was, a flat pitch at The Nevill Ground had the final say as Leicestershire had few problems in batting out the final afternoon in order to secure their sixth draw of the season.

Resuming on their Friday night total of 159 for one, Kent took the game by its horns in the morning session as Key and Nash extended their second-wicket stand to 190 from 55.1 overs.

Key was first to three figures from 181 balls, with six fours, for the 48th hundred of his first-class career. It was his 43rd ton for Kent.

He fell soon after, caught at long-on off a skier by Ollie Freckingham for 106, after attempting a leg-side clip against off-spinner Jigar Naik.

In the pursuit of quick runs, the hosts promoted former Leicestershire all-rounder Stevens up to number four and it was a move that reaped rich and attracted rewards as the right-hander went within three runs of posting the fastest hundred of the season.

Stevens, who spent the winter playing Twenty20 in the Bangladesh Premier League for Dhaka Gladiators, blasted seven sixes and eight fours for his part in a spectacular stand of 149 in 16.2 overs with Nash.

Nash chipped in with his 186-ball century with 14 boundaries and went on to contribute a couple more sixes in an over by Shiv Thakor that went for 27.

Stevens was on the cusp of hitting a rare hundred before lunch when, in attempting a paddle sweep to fine leg, he was bowled around his legs by Naik prompting Kent's declaration only 15 minutes before lunch.

Leicestershire lost opener O'Brien to a catch in the slip cordon when on six but Smith and Eckersley dominated centre stage thereafter.

Click here for the ECB scorecard

Kent are back in action tomorrow, the final of day of Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival, when they take on Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition. Come and support the Spitfires in the fine surroundings of The Nevill – click here for advance tickets