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Stevens leads Kent fightback

Friday 20th April 2012

Men’s First Team

At stumps on day two, Kentwere 119 for six in reply to Gloucestershire’s 255, after Will Gidman followed up his 56 with three Kent wicketsin theLV= County Championship Division Two contest at Canterbury.

Kent found themselves in trouble as they started their first innings with Rob Key being caught behind off Gidman just before tea for five. After the break, Scott Newman lost his off stump to a ball from David Payne that appeared to keep low to make it 26 for two.

Three overs later, Ben Harmison and Michael Powell departed in the space of three deliveries – Harmison tickling Gidman through to Richard Coughtrie, who then pulled off a superb catch in front of first slip to account for Powell.

From being 30 for four, Kent made a recovery of sorts only for Brendan Nash, driving at Ian Saxelby, to become the fourth Kent batsman to go caught behind, though not before Payne left the field with a side strain.

Darren Stevens led the counter-attack by hitting 54, which included eight fours, many of them square of the wicket off the front foot. Aided by Geraint Jones, the 35-year-old all-rounder guided Kent to slightly calmer waters.

Five overs before the close, Stevens smeared Saxelby past backward point for four to bring up an 82-ball half-century. However, in the penultimate over, Ed Young turned one past the outside edge of Stevens’ bat to bowl the batsman and make it 110 for six.

Earlier, only an hour’s play was possible before lunch, during which time Gidman and Young got their heads down as Gloucestershire progressed from their overnight 131 for six to 174 without losing anymore wickets.

Gidman clipped Mark Davies through mid-wicket for the first boundary of the day and took the visitors past the 150-mark with a cut four off Matt Coles. Two overs later, the 27-year-old glanced Stevens to the rope at fine leg to bring up his fifty, which came in 107 deliveries.

Gidman was run out shortly after lunch, when he set off for an optimistic single to Nash at cover, off the bowling of James Tredwell. But that brought Paul Muchall to the crease and, with Young’s assistance, fifty runs were added for the eighth wicket.

In the third over with the new ball, Young on and off drove Charlie Shreck for four. But then Davies struck twice in as many deliveries by sending Muchall’s off stump cartwheeling before trapping Saxelby lbw.

Frustratingly, for Kent, Young and Payne put on 31 for Gloucestershire’s last wicket. Young moved to 47 by pulling Coles for six and, in the next over, brought up a 105-ball half-century.

Payne eventually went leg before to Coles, leaving Young unbeaten on 55 and Davies, with four for 43 off 25 overs, laying claim to the bowling honours.

Click here for the scorecard

Photo: Sarah Ansell