Gloucestershire seamers see off Kent
Gloucestershire's bowlers shared the workload as they beat Kent by 45 runs at Canterbury to claim their second win in three games in LV= County Championship Division Two.
David Payne, Hamish Marshall and Ian Saxelby both took two wickets apiece while Will Gidman claimed 3-37, including the scalp of Azhar Mahmood, who had looked capable of seeing Kent home to an unlikely victory target of 291.
Azhar, the former Pakistan Test all-rounder, hit 10 fours in a 119-ball innings of 70 as injury-hit Kent made a brave tilt at their target.
Number 10 Robbie Joseph, hampered by a thigh strain, came out with a runner to help the cause and then last man Joe Denly, who broke his thumb in the field on Tuesday, emerged to try to help Azhar to the winning line.
With 45 needed, Azhar worked across a good-length ball from Gidman only to be given out leg before and give Gloucestershire their 21-point win.
Resuming on their overnight total of 52 for two, Kent appeared set for the long haul as Martin van Jaarsveld and Geraint Jones dug in, adding 49 in the opening hour.
In all, the third-wicket partnership yielded 64 in just under 19 overs before Kent’s run-chase quickly unravelled with the loss of four wickets for seven runs in the space of 16 balls.
Jones missed an expansive drive to be bowled by promising left-arm seamer Payne for 40 then Darren Stevens was squared up on the back foot by Marshall to spoon a catch to short extra-cover via a leading edge.
Van Jaarsveld’s 89-minute stay for 32 ended when he opened the face and attempted a run-down to third man against Payne, only to be superbly caught one-handed at second slip by Ian Cockbain to make it 124 for five.
After a change of ends, Cockbain was in action again to catch the very next ball at slip, this time at the second attempt, after James Tredwell’s firm-handed push at a Marshall leg-cutter.
Azhar and Adam Ball survived until lunch but soon after the resumption Ball’s audacious attempt to pull through midwicket against Saxelby ended up in the hands of Jon Lewis at mid-on.
Simon Cook then joined forces with Azhar to add an entertaining 70 in 20.4 overs for the eighth wicket but, with 69 still needed to win, Cook got an inside edge to a Gidman delivery that jagged back off the seam and Jonathan Batty pulled off a sharp catch.
Batty was again at his best to hold on to a thin edge off Gidman from Joseph, then opening bat Denly emerged as an emergency number 11 despite his fractured thumb as Kent pushed all the way.
But it proved in vain as the hosts ended up with just four points from the match.