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Kent Cricket have to settle for LV= County Championship Division 2 draw against Glamorgan at Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

By Alex Hoad

Any lingering hopes of Kent winning promotion to the top flight of the LV= County Championship were all-but ended as Glamorgan batted out a draw at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite losing the toss, Kent had made a blistering start to the clash on Sunday, reducing the visitors to 7-3 with Mitch Claydon, Darren Stevens and Robbie Joseph - in his first Championship appearance in more than two months - all striking in the opening 15 overs.

It might have been 15-4, though Chris Cooke was dropped by Adam Riley at slip off Stevens, and the South African-born batsmen made them pay, putting on 62 with Jim Allenby (44) for the fourth wicket on his way to a maiden first-class century.

Kent did reply and reduce the visitors to 183-7 with Claydon (4-47) to the fore, however Cooke shared an eighth-wicket partnership of 118 in 32 overs with Dean Cosker (45).

Cooke was eventually last man out for 171, including 18 fours and a six, from 214 balls, holing out to Matt Hunn off Riley as Glamorgan posted 329.

Rob Key (41), Daniel Bell-Drummond (71) and Brendan Nash (40) got Kent’s reply off to a solid start but after the second day was cut short by rain and bad light, it was a 151-run sixth-wicket partnership between Sam Northeast (102) and Sam Billings on Tuesday which guided the hosts from 218-5 into a first-innings lead.

Rob Key. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Rob Key. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Northeast’s second century in four Championship games came from 202 balls before he was caught by Cooke off Cosker, while Billings rattled nine fours in his 77 before becoming one of four victims for debutant spinner Kieran Bull (4-62) to leave the score on 369-6.

The final four wickets fell for the addition of just 18 runs to leave Kent just 58 ahead, but despite Claydon and Stevens accounting for openers Will Bragg and Jacques Rudolph with the visitors still in arrears, 81 from Gareth Rees steered Glamorgan into the final day with a lead approaching 100.

Despite two early wickets on Wednesday giving Kent faint hope of taking the final five wickets they needed, Graham Wagg held firm and batted through the day to reach 116 not out and guide his side to a 4.50pm declaration on 415-9 which ended the game.

In a bid to tempt Glamorgan into an early declaration, Kent used 10 bowlers - including wicket-keeper Sam Billings, whose only delivery, towards Key wearing the gloves, was despatched for four.

The 11 points from the draw left Kent fifth, and although they still have a game in hand on the top-three, they are now 54 points adrift of second-placed Hampshire with just three fixtures to play.

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