Stevens and Powell steady Kent
Kent edged towards safety in their LV= County Championship Division Two match with Northamptonshire at Canterbury as they closed a rain-affected day three on 280 for six.
With the floodlights on and the square swathed in sheets and pitch covers, umpires Nigel Cowley and Nick Cook had no choice but to call proceedings off at 6pm, with Kent still 138 behind their opponents’ first-innings total of 418.
Crucially however, the hosts managed to inch past the follow-on figure of 269 to keep themselves on course for their fifth draw in six outings.
Having resumed on 123 for three, Kent lost overseas batsman Brendan Nash in the fourth over to only the seventh ball of the day from England Lions seamer Jack Brooks.
Fooled by a slower off-cutter, Nash mistimed an on-drive into the hands of Stephen Peters at midwicket to go for 11 and make it 130 for four.
That brought Michael Powell and Darren Stevens together for a vital fifth-wicket stand that put Kent in a very strong position to save the game.
Both right-handers are renowned for their counter-attacking style and Powell and Stevens initially went for their shots.
However, having each played and missed a couple of times, both realised they needed to curb their natural aggression and grind out precious runs.
As a result, Powell got his first Kent half-century at Canterbury from 119 balls, while Stevens limped to the same milestone from the same number of balls and with seven fours.
Their backs-to-the-wall effort finally ended when Powell, in attempting to work across the line against Lee Daggett, went lbw for 61, scored in a shade more than three hours.
Stevens followed soon after for an equally stoic 57 when he nicked an attempted push drive against Andrew Hall into the gloves of wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien.
Brothers-in-law James Tredwell and Geraint Jones also dug in for a further 16 overs before the rain arrived to wash out play for the day.
Jones posted an unbeaten 26 from 58 balls with four flashing drives to the boundary, while Tredwell kept him company with a gritty unbeaten 11 scored in just over an hour.
It was all a familiar tale for Northamptonshire, who have already lost a total of 656 overs to inclement weather so far this season.