Stevens stuns Lancashire
Darren Stevens hit a sumptuous unbeaten 205 as Kent finished off the LV= County Championship season by inflicting a dramatic first defeat on Division Two champions Lancashire.
The Canterbury hosts knocked off an improbable target of 418 for the loss of eight wickets, recording their maiden four-day win on home soil this summer and the second-highest winning fourth-innings total in the club’s history.
Stevens proved unstoppable against a Lancashire attack without their three leading wicket-takers - Kyle Hogg, Simon Kerrigan and Glen Chapple.
The veteran’s 218-ball innings included 21 fours and three sixes and was his fourth three-figure score in the championship this year.
Kent resumed on 32 for one and their position soon worsened when Brendan Nash fell to the ninth ball of the day, caught behind after an attempted push-drive at Kyle Jarvis.
Five overs later Ben Harmison offered no shot to a Tom Smith off-cutter and was adjudged lbw.
With little to lose, Sam Northeast went for his shots to post an attractive 54-ball half-century full of rasping drives.
Stevens, Kent's player of the season, followed his partner’s lead in an eye-catching fourth-wicket stand of 82 in 17.1 overs that ended when Northeast was leg-before to Luke Procter for 70.
Having reached 50 from 60 deliveries, Stevens moved through the gears after lunch and added a further 71 with Sam Billings, who was caught behind off Smith for 24 driving off the back foot.
Adam Ball, playing only his second game of the season, then joined forces with Stevens and notched a career-best 69 as 148 came from 34.2 overs for the sixth wicket.
Ball perished to the second new ball, leg before to Smith soon after registering his maiden championship fifty.
Home skipper James Tredwell also perished at the hands of Oliver Newby, who had Mark Davies lbw to set up a tense finale.
The injured Rob Key, who fractured his left thumb in the field on day three, came out at 10, however, and played a fine supporting hand as Stevens guided Kent home.