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Northeast and Ball record stand leads Kent fightback

Sunday 26th June 2016

Men’s First Team

Kent century-making captain Sam Northeast and all-rounder Adam Ball led the fightback against Derbyshire on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

The East Midlands side dominated the opening three hours of the day in reducing Kent to 90 for four when Northeast counter-attacked with an unbeaten 173 that took the hosts to 354 for seven at stumps.

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Northeast added 71 with Darren Stevens (30) before combining with Ball who scored 66 on his home debut as they added 150 for the seventh wicket, a new Kent record against Derbyshire.

Fielding after the first uncontested toss on this famous old ground, Derbyshire claimed the scalp of New Zealand Test opener Tom Latham, leg before for 14, as the left-hander trapped by Will Davis to make it 30 for one.

Four runs later Sean Dickson, who hit a career-best unbeaten 207 in the reverse fixture at Derby in May, ran himself out for 15. Pushing to cover point, the right-hander set off for a risky single but lost the race with Wayne Madsen’s direct hit to the non-striker’s end.

The hosts re-grouped thereafter as Joe Denly and Sam Northeast batted through to the first interval, adding 34 runs in the process.

Four balls after lunch Joe Denly drove at his first ball of the session from Davis and was sent packing for 24 when umpire Neil Bainton upheld Tom Poynton’s appeal for a catch at the wicket.

His replacement Alex Blake moved to 11 off 21 balls but then shouldered arms to a Tony Palladino off-cutter to go lbw and leave Kent in dire straits on 90 for four.

Kent’s veteran beneficiary Darren Stevens looked out of sorts in reaching 10, but settled his nerves by launching into an extra cover drive against Chesney Hughes to clear the ropes in front of the Knott-Underwood Stand.

In the next over Kent captain Sam Northeast moved past 50 for only the second time in the county championship this season, reaching the milestone from 93 balls and with five fours.

Northeast and Stevens appeared in little trouble until the return of the impressive Davis, who soon found Stevens’ outside edge for Hughes to pull off a tumbling catch to his right at slip.

Sam Billings, playing his maiden first-class innings of the summer, had reached only four played a Palladino delivery onto his own off stump.

Ball came in for his third championship knock of the season – all of which have been against Derbyshire – and soon looked in good touch helping Northeast to post their side’s first batting bonus point before tea.

Northeast posted his second championship hundred of the summer and the 13th of his first-class career soon after tea with a single to mid-on. It came after 224 minutes, off 159 balls and included 11 fours.

A six into the top tier of the Colin Cowdrey stand helped Kent to a second batting bonus point and Ball to move past his season’s best of 40 scored in the game in Derby and on to his 50 from 94 balls.

Derbyshire took the second new ball at 5.30pm with Kent on 285 for six but Ball and Northeast marched on to a third batting bonus point and a new seventh-wicket record stand for Kent against Derbyshire, surpassing 139 posted at Derby in 1994 by Mark Ealham and Steve Marsh, one of several former players watching in the Chiesman Pavilion.

The pair took the score on to 316 before Ball was caught on the crease by another Palladino in-ducker that ended his 122-ball stay lbw and gave Derbyshire their seventh and final success of the day.

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