Derbyshire enhance title prospects
Derbyshire boosted their LV= County Championship Division Two title bid by bowling Kent out for 261 on the first day at Canterbury.
Former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones marked his 100th consecutive championship appearance for Kent by top-scoring with 80 but the visitors, who were 32 for one at stumps, remained on top in this match-up with the third-placed hosts.
In seemingly ideal conditions for batting, it came as no surprise when Kent skipper Rob Key won the toss and elected to do just that, yet his side’s top order faced a stern examination in an opening session that brought only 61 runs.
Key was first to go, superbly caught in one glove by wicketkeeper Tom Poynton off the lively pace of Mark Turner before Tim Groenewald, the pick of the attack with 3-63, trapped Alex Blake leg before with an off-cutter.
Having faced 86 balls for his 37, Sam Northeast undid his good work in the penultimate over before lunch by needlessly wafting a catch to cover point then, 17 balls after the interval, Brendan Nash fell lbw to a Groenewald inswinger.
Darren Stevens became Poynton’s second victim behind the stumps when he nicked a drive off Tony Palladino, leaving Jones to join forces with Michael Powell, his former club cricket team-mate at Abergavenny, to add 46.
Powell looked untroubled in reaching 37 until he followed Northeast’s lead by slapping a wide one into the hands of Groenewald at cover point.
Jones posted his sixth half-century of the summer from 82 balls and forged useful partnerships with Matt Coles and Mark Davies, the latter pulling the only six of the Kent innings off a Palladino bouncer.
Jones’ ninth four brought up the Kent 250 for their second batting bonus point but he went soon afterwards, caught by first slip Wes Durston having seen the ball parried by Usman Khawaja at second.
All out inside 83 overs, Kent had 11 to bowl to complete the entertainment in which time they managed to prise out Khawaja without scoring, leg before when seemingly well down the pitch to Davies.
Wayne Madsen was unbeaten with 21, but it remains to be seen if regular opener Paul Borrington is fit to bat on day two. He went off with a fractured nose, the legacy of trying to stop a late-afternoon drive by Davies at extra cover.