Copeland inspires Northants comeback
Kent suffered a dramatic last-session collapse in seemingly ideal batting conditions to be bowled out on the opening day of their LV= Championship clash against Northamptonshire for a modest 271.
Having looked in good shape at 204 for three, Kent had become the first side of four this season to take a batting bonus point off the East Midlanders, only for the visitors to strike back hard in the final session.
Half-centuries from Mike Powell and England Under-19 starlet Daniel Bell-Drummond had regained the initiative after a poor start but Trent Copeland finished with 5-71 to leave the visitors in good spirits.
Having won the toss, Kent suffered an early casualty with the departure of Sam Northeast who lost middle and off stumps for 10 when pushing hesitantly against left-arm seamer David Willey.
Brendan Nash then chopped on against Steven Crook to go for 18 before Rob Key drove at a Copeland leg-cutter to edge to Andrew Hall at first slip for 16 to make it 55 for three.
The hosts then rallied either side of lunch with a fourth-wicket stand worth 149 in 52.2 overs between Powell and Bell-Drummond.
Powell was at his professional best in posting a 112-ball fifty with eight fours but Bell-Drummond, a graduate of the Kent academy, should have gone for 32 when Kyle Coetzer dropped the simplest of chances at square-leg from a skied hook.
Crook, the unlucky bowler, eventually broke the stand 28 overs later when Powell, on 70, wafted tamely at a wide ball to edge low to wicketkeeper David Murphy and spark a collapse that saw Kent lose seven wickets for 67 in the final session - five of them to the second new ball.
Four overs later, Crook struck again when Bell-Drummond, having batted almost three and a half hours for 68, mistimed an attempted pull to substitute fielder Olly Stone at square-leg.
Brothers-in-law Geraint Jones and James Tredwell added 31 before Jones inside-edged a Copeland lifter to the keeper then Matt Coles wastefully chipped one to mid-off to go without scoring.
Tredwell edged into the slip cordon on 19 to give Willey a second scalp and Mark Davies rocked back to force Copeland through the off side but could only pick out Stephen Peters in the covers to go for 12.
Last man Charlie Shreck lasted only five balls before Copeland, the pick of an impressive Northamptonshire attack, rearranged his stumps.