Canterbury clash ends in draw
Despite a brace of declarations that raised hopes for an enthralling last-day run chase, Kent’s LV= County Championship encounter with Division Two rivals Northamptonshire petered out into a draw.
The floodlights were on in gloomy Canterbury when the skippers shook hands at 5pm with Kent on 112 for one following an uninspiring pursuit of their victory target of 262 from a minimum of 60 overs.
Home captain Rob Key, having posted a half-century from 114 balls, was unbeaten with 55 while Ben Harmison kept him company for two hours, limping to 27 not out.
Northamptonshire’s sole success and the only wicket to fall on the fourth and final day came 16 overs into the home reply when on loan left-hander Scott Newman missed out on an attempted sweep against James Middlebrook to go leg before for 16.
In declaring his side’s first innings on their overnight score of 280 for six, to concede a 138-run deficit, Kent skipper Key challenged his Northamptonshire counterpart Andrew Hall to make a game of it by setting the hosts a target.
The visitors eventually did so, but only after Key, in tandem with the very occasional seam-bowling of Newman, had served up some ‘buffet bowling’ that allowed Northamptonshire openers Middlebrook and Stephen Peters to help themselves to unbeaten half-centuries.
Middlebrook pulled one big six off Harmison in his 95-ball 50, while Peters took a further 17 deliveries to reach the landmark, with six fours.
The declaration finally came at the lunch interval with Northamptonshire on 123 without loss, leaving Kent the remaining 60 overs to chase their target.
Sadly for the modest last-day crowd, their quest never made it out of first gear as unbeaten Kent settled for a fifth draw from six championship starts.
Northamptonshire, meanwhile, have now gone four games unbeaten after losing their opening two matches of the season, the second of those in the reverse fixture with Kent at Wantage Road back in April.