Kent v Derbyshire at Canterbury on 4 to 7 September: LV County Championship: Division 2
Derbyshire made the long journey down to Canterbury for what was likely to be a decisive match in the promotion battle to the First Division. At last there were four days of warm sunshine and Kent will have been pleased to have won the toss and had first use of what promised to be ideal batting conditions.
Runs proved difficult to come by, however, in the face of some accurate bowling by Tony Palladino, Tim Groenewald and Mark Turner.
At lunch the score had reached only 61 for three, with Key superbly caught one-handed by Poynton diving to his left behind the wicket and, when this became 93 for five and later 139 for six, Derbyshire had every reason to feel pleased with their efforts thus far.
Geraint Jones was dropped in the slips from a very difficult chance before he had scored, and Kent were to benefit from this escape. Jones was supported, first by Coles and then by Davies, as they added 57 and 36 in successive partnerships. Kent were all out for 261, a total which Derbyshire would probably have settled for before the start, but which was disappointing after the promising beginning.
Paul Borrington had broken his nose while fielding, so did not open the batting as intended. Derbyshire reached 32 for one in the eleven overs they had to bat before the close.
Next morning, after the fall of another wicket, Borrington joined skipper, Wayne Madsen, and together they added 52 in a twenty-two over partnership before Borrington was caught at short-leg off off-spinner Riley. Seam-bowler Davies had proved very difficult to get away and he was instrumental in bringing Derbyshire to a perilous position as they slipped from 89, when the third wicket fell, to 130 for eight. Madsen had made an excellent 64 before he chopped on a ball from Davies which kept low.
The situation called for some stern resistance and this was forthcoming from Tom Poynton and Groenewald who added an important 51 at more than four runs an over. Poynton had just earned Derbyshire a batting point with a hard-run second leg-bye when he was bowled for a mature 45.
Kent had a first innings lead of 61 and Northeast and Key put on 58 for the first wicket before Wes Durston bowled Key behind his legs, a success which was quickly followed by two more wickets before the close. Even so Kent were nicely placed with a lead of 120 and seven wickets in hand when the third day began.
There was some dispute at this stage when it was revealed that Tredwell, who had been on England duty the previous day, was to replace Kent’s Riley, even though it had been agreed that he should not do so unless he was released early from the ODI at Trent Bridge. It seemed that Kent had put in a special request for his return and the ECB had changed its original ruling.
Northeast and Nash took the game further away from Derbyshire as they survived the pre-lunch session together and they had added 127 before Nash was out trying to sweep Wainwright inadvisably. Now Powell joined Northeast and there followed another century partnership as they took the score to 319 for five. Northeast was eventually caught on the backward point boundary off Ross Whiteley’s bowling – his had been an excellent innings (165 from 309 balls), in which he had been the only player to make run-scoring seem comparatively easy.
Kent declared leaving the unlikely target of 404 to win from a minimum of 113 overs, and they received an immediate setback when Madsen was caught at slip in the first over. Borrington and Khawaja stayed until the end of the day, and they started in similar defiant mood on the last morning. Concentrating almost entirely on defence, this pair had added 57 from 37.4 overs before Borrington (17 from 111 balls) was lbw to a ball which some observers thought would have passed over the stumps.
Every batsman worked hard to keep out the Kent bowlers and none of them could have been accused of being guilty of a careless or extravagant stroke to bring about their downfall: only Whiteley, who was run out after calling for an unnecessarily sharp single, lost his wicket as a result of poor judgement. Usman Khawaja was top-scorer with 53 from 180 balls while Poynton once again showed how his confidence and self-belief have developed as he made an unbeaten 27 from 122 balls.
Derbyshire took Kent to the final hour, but the last wicket fell in the fifth over, with 43 minutes remaining. So Kent had won the match by 222 runs, setting the stage for a final round of matches in which Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Kent will be watching each other’s progress at Derby, Chelmsford and Cardiff as these three counties will be vying with each other for the two promotion spots which are available.
Derbyshire will be playing Hampshire at Derby in a match starting on Tuesday (10.30am start), and they will be hoping for plenty of enthusiastic support.
Kent 261 (82.3 overs) (GO Jones 80, SA Northeast 37, MJ Powell 37, M Davies 25, MT Coles 24; TD Groenewald 3 for 63, RA Whiteley 2 for 22, AP Palladino 2 for 53) and 342 for 8 dec (101.3 overs) (SA Northeast 165, BP Nash 62, MJ Powell 56*, RWT Key 31; DJ Wainwright 3 for 77, WJ Durston 2 for 83)
Derbyshire 200 (79.2 overs) (WL Madsen 64, T Poynton 45, PM Borrington 23, TD Groenewald 22; M Davies 5 for 27, MT Coles 2 for 29) and 181 (108.2 overs) (UT Khawaja 53, T Poynton 27*, DJ Redfern 21, DJ Wainwright 21; DI Stevens 4 for 27, MT Coles 3 for 29, M Davies 2 for 31)
Kent (21 points) beat Derbyshire (4) by 222 runs
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