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Kent miss out on runner’s up bonus as Northants prevail

Sunday 27th September 2009

Acting Kent captain Justin Kempcould not inspirea Spitfires’ win at St Lawrence

Kent v Northamptonshire NatWest Pro40 Division 2. Canterbury
By Mark Pennell
SPITFIRES missed the chance to collect a £25,000 end of season bonus for finishing second in the Pro40 League Division 2after slumping to a 99-run defeat to Northamptonshire in Sunday“s final match of summer at St Lawrence.
Chasing Steelbacks“ run-a-ball total of 244 for six, Kent“s makeshift side slipped woefully short of their target and were dismissed for 145 with nine overs to spare.
Having lost the toss, Northamptonshire were indebted to opening batsmen Stephen Peters and former Kent wicketkeeper Niall O“Brien for what proved to be a match-winning opening stand of 101 inside 12 overs.
Top-scorer O“Brien, who hit an excellent 72 from 52 balls including 11 fours and two sixes, proved the nemesis for his old team-mates despite being caught at mid-on off a free-hit when on five.
He and Peters took advantage of an inexperienced Kent attack to lift sixes to a short boundary on the Old Dover Road side of the ground as they cantered along at 8.4 an over throughout their opening stand.
Peters went when clipping a catch to deep square off the left-arm spin of Rob Ferley and O“Brien miscued an attempted lofted drive against James Tredwell over long-off into the hands of James Hockley at long-on.
Kent clawed their way back into things through tight spin-bowling from Hockley, Tredwell and Ferley but the game slipped away from them once acting skipper Justin Kemp turned to his rookie seamers.
It was Rob White who took advantage of some wayward bowling to canter to an unbeaten 70 from 80 balls to set Kent a testing run rate.
The Spitfires needed a solid start to stand any chance of chasing down their total, but once Sam Northeast (nine) chipped a catch to deep square leg to make it 16 for one the writing was on the wall for a home crowd of almost 3,000.
Opening partner Hockley, who did well to take two for 32 with the ball, also top-scored with the bat with an eye-catching 55 from 72 balls but once he chipped a return catch to spinner Boje to make it 103 for five Kent“s outside hopes of victory went with him.
The game represented the first match in charge for new coach Paul Farbrace following Graham Ford“s decision to return home to South Africa on Friday.
The county were also without skipper Rob Key, his opening partner Joe Denly, South Africans Ryan McLaren and Martin van Jaarsveld, bowlers Simon Cook and Amjad Khan and the injured Robbie Joseph and Martin Saggers, who has announced his retirement.

Photo by AR Pics