Kent v Northamptonshire (take 2)

Sunday 6th June 2021 – LV County Championship – Spitfire Ground, Canterbury

After Friday’s wash out I looked north with envious eyes for some hope of action on the last day of this round of matches. The best prospects of play, at grounds I’d never been to were at Leicestershire and Derbyshire. A fair trek up the M1 BUT I’d be able to combine it with a visit to the in-laws. Win, win, win.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t factored in that some counties seem to think that county championship matches are now only three days long. For the second week in a row, Gloucestershire were doing their best to complete an innings defeat at Leicestershire whilst at Derby, they too were eying back to back defeats within three days.

By 3pm on Saturday the games at Leicester and Derby were over. Whilst I would get a refund on my ticket purchases (but not on my pre-paid car park at Derby for some strange reason – almost tempting to drive 250 miles north just to park there for a few hours), I was left without any cricket. Unless, I went back to Canterbury.

The rain was so bad at Canterbury on Friday that despite the scorching temperatures on Saturday morning, the start of play was delayed due to the damp outfield. With Northants still looking to build a big first innings total and then hope to bowl Kent out twice when play started they tried to score rapidly. However, Kent did what they struggled to do on the first day of the game – they took quick wickets. Five wickets fell for just 26 runs in a complete reversal of fortune.

Kent could have gone into defensive mode, looking to bat out the game at a snail’s pace but instead they went into one day mode, racking up 330 for 5 by the close of play at almost 5 an over. A 161 run opening partnership with Ollie Robinson scoring 120 and 90 from Jordan Cox set them on their way to a impressive day of batting.

The Saturday night forecast showed rain for Sunday but fortunately it was wrong when we heard east to make the most of the day. Kent declared before the start of play, hoping to skittle Northants out early and then look for a run chase late in the day. Of course we could all hope for that scenario rather than Northants simply looking to take the odd single and batting out the day, happy with a share of the points.

Northants hadn’t read that script and proceeded to lose four wickets in the morning session for just 70 runs. With the light getting to be a matter of concern, the floodlights were readied in the interval, groaning into action as they extended skywards.

The afternoon session was key for both sides – Kent needed wickets without conceding runs, Northants just didn’t want to concede wickets. The couple of hundred fans were on the edge of their seats, and for the briefest of moments there was a flicker of life from the balconies of the retirement flats, although I think on reflection that was just a regular 3pm stretch before Pointless

Kent raised our hopes wit two quick wickets after lunch, one a superb direct hit from Bell-Drummond saw Proctor depart. Rossington was the man they needed out as he plodded towards his fifty. Then Taylor and Buck departed, with the lead less than 200 and overs to spare. But Kent simply couldn’t remove the ninth pair. For every over that passed, the chances of a run chase diminished until 5pm arrived an the two teams called it quits.

There’s few better ways to spend a Sunday than at the cricket and whilst we hadn’t seen the climatic ending, few could complain about the value for money or entertainment. Friday hadn’t just been a washed out day for me, but probably cost Kent the win as well. Until next time.

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