Kent v Northants – Day 4 report

Saturday 7th May 2011

Men’s First Team

Northamptonshire wrapped up a comfortable five-wicket win over Kent to give them a double over their hosts inside a month in LV= County Championship Division Two.

Andrew Hall’s side followed their innings-and-59-run triumph at Wantage Road on April 16 with success in Canterbury where the home side made them work just that little bit harder for a maximum 24 points.

After recording 320 in their second innings – their highest score of the summer – Kent took five Northants wickets in the pursuit of 108 for victory.

Opener Stephen Peters clipped a firm catch low to square-leg off England Under-19 left-arm seamer Adam Ball and, just before lunch, Rob White had his middle stump pegged back on 40 from 34 deliveries by a ball from off-spinner James Tredwell that turned out of the rough and through the gate.

Soon after the resumption Mal Loye nicked a Tredwell arm-ball to slip to make it 73 for three and Alex Wakely shouldered arms to go leg before to the same bowler.

Hall then hit Tredwell for six past the new St Lawrence lime tree to usher Northants into three figures, but soon after off-spinner Adam Riley pinned David Sales leg before with a quicker ball that took pad before bat.

With ex-Kent players Hall and Niall O’Brien in tandem, Northants finally reached their target half an hour into the afternoon session to win with 54 overs to spare when Hall steered a two to third man.

Resuming on their overnight score of 255 and with only a slender lead of 42, Kent lost teenager Ball to only the 12th ball of the final day.

Having batted for 87 minutes in helping to add 98 for the eighth wicket, the right-hander’s push-drive at Chaminda Vaas flew to slip where Hall took a sharp diving chance.

Neil Saker looked sound against the seamers in scoring 18 on his county debut but less secure against the spin of James Middlebrook, who might have had the ex-Surrey man for 13 had Hall clung on to another tough slip chance.

As it was, Saker fell in the following over by nicking a back-foot defensive prod against Lee Daggett into the gloves of O’Brien to make it 292 for nine.

With last man Riley at the crease, Stevens opened up to club a six off Middlebrook and then scamper two to take Kent past 300 for the first time this season.

The right-hander should have gone for 128 when Rob White dropped a sitter at deep midwicket off Middlebrook, who then conceded another maximum to Stevens – this time over long-on to give Kent a three-figure lead.

After 212 minutes Stevens’ luck finally ran out when, with his score on 143 from 137 balls, he missed an attempted drive against Jack Brooks to lose his middle stump and leave Northants a minimum 79 overs in order to reach their target.