The loss of a day and half to rain, and a pitch which flattened once the sun finally came out, ultimately proved to be the decisive factors as the Specsavers Division Two county championship match between Leicestershire and Kent ended in a draw, with both sides taking maximum bonus points.
A century for in-form Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens – his first against his former county – and half-centuries for Adam Rouse, James Tredwell and Matt Coles enabled Kent skipper Sam Northeast to declare at tea, but Paul Horton, Harry Dearden and Colin Ackermann saw the Foxes through to an early close.
The morning had seen Stevens and Rouse extend their unbeaten overnight sixth wicket partnership to 152, a record for Kent against Leicestershire.
Kent had begun the day still needing 78 runs to avoid the follow-on, but though Rouse did enjoy one moment of good fortune when he edged left-arm fast bowler Dieter Klein just past his leg stump when he was on just 16, it was a rare moment of alarm on a pitch which had flattened under the sunshine of the previous day.
Stevens, who had played with destructive power in charging to his half-century off just 30 balls on the evening of the third day, was more circumspect as he approached three figures.
He did lose Rouse, bowled for 60 by Callum Parkinson – the left-arm spinner’s first first-class wicket for the Foxes – but went to his century off 96 balls, having hit 15 fours and a six.
Shortly after doing so an attempt to hit a full delivery from Tom Wells back over the bowler’s head resulted in a simple catch for Klein at mid-off.
James Harris went leg before to Mark Cosgrove, but Coles and Tredwell compiled a partnership of 89 for the ninth wicket before occasional off-spinner Dearden turned his first delivery past Tredwell’s outside edge and on to off-stump.
Horton hung out his bat at a Will Gidman delivery to be dismissed in the 40s for the fourth consecutive innings, and Dearden hung his head after slashing a Matt Hunn delivery to gully, where Gidman took a fine catch, the ball before the teams shook hands.
Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens said: "We’re a bit disappointed to lose so much time to the weather when we came into the match with so much momentum. Then we didn’t bowl as well as we can, we let ourselves down a bit by bowling a little bit too full or wide, and there were a couple of missed chances as well – we have to work a bit harder on our catching.
"Batting-wise, when we’re under the pump a little bit I always try and put the bowlers under pressure, and it went nicely for me, and it swung back in our favour. I didn’t realise it was my first century against Leicestershire, I got a 90 back at Tunbridge Wells a few years ago but I got a second ball nought last year, so it was very pleasing.
"I’ve worked hard all winter, and I’m reaping the rewards. Trying to improve and learn is what keeps you going , and I always want to try different shots."