Kent hurry past Essex

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Geraint Jones

The loss of four early wickets meant Kent were grateful for Geraint Jones' unbeaten 28 as they saw off Essex at Canterbury today

Kent needed barely 90 minutes on the third day to wrap up a six-wicket LV= County Championship win over Essex on a Canterbury pitch that was later deemed to be "poor".

Needing 70 to secure a championship and Twenty20 double over their neighbouring county, a nervy Kent lost four top-order wickets inside 12 overs, only to be steered home by acting captain Geraint Jones with an unbeaten 28 from 14 balls.

Martin van Jaarsveld, batting with a runner due to a groin strain, defied the pain to add an equally useful 21 not out to see Kent to a 21-point triumph - their fifth victory of the campaign - with more than five sessions to spare.

The hosts, however, were deducted eight points after an ECB pitch panel of John Jameson and Tony Pigott deemed there was "excessive unevenness of bounce" in the surface.

The third day began with Essex struggling on 180 for nine in their second innings and only 64 ahead.

Their last wicket fell to the 14th delivery of the day when on-loan David Balcombe had Tom Craddock caught behind for one, leaving James Foster high and dry on 49 not out.

It gave Balcombe career-best match figures of 10-102, his first 10-wicket match haul in county cricket.

Kent lost Daniel Bell-Drummond to a loose drive to short extra-cover before Sam Northeast was pinned leg before on the back foot.

Bell-Drummond returned to run for the injured van Jaarsveld, but wickets continued to fall as Darren Stevens edged behind to give Graham Napier a third wicket and Joe Denly was lbw for 17 to a shooting off-cutter from David Masters.

It proved the final success for Essex, however, as van Jaarsveld combined with Jones to see the hosts over the winning line.

Jones played a captain's cameo that included six fours, while van Jaarsveld, batting virtually on one leg, plundered a six and four off Napier to secure Kent's victory just before 12.30pm.

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