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Sam Northeast and James Tredwell break records as Kent suffer 10 wicket defeat at Essex in Specsavers County Championship Division 2 at Chelmsford

By Alex Hoad

Kent sent records tumbling in the closing stages of their top-of-the-table Championship Division 2 clash at Essex, though they were unable to prevent a heavy defeat.

Kent looked on course for one of the top-10 heaviest defeats in their history on Tuesday afternoon when they slipped to 128-7 in their second innings, having conceded a first innings lead of 362 runs across the opening two days.

Sam Northeast. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Sam Northeast. Picture: Barry Goodwin

However in-form skipper Sam Northeast was joined in the middle by James Tredwell seven overs before tea on the third day and the pair were still together 80 overs and just over five hours later midway through the final afternoon as the visitors sought to stave off a seemingly inevitable defeat.

Tredwell produced the highest Championship score ever by a Kent player batting at nine, scoring a career-best 124, one better than his 123 against New Zealanders in 2008 and his fourth First-Class ton, beating Matt Coles’ four-year-old record.

Tredwell and Northeast put on 222 for the eight-wicket, obliterating the 92-year-old Kent best for that wicket against Essex and the record for Kent’s eighth wicket against any side of 177, set by Geraint Jones and Yasir Arafat against Warwickshire at Canterbury in 2007.

Tredwell eventually fell to Matthew Quinn with Kent still 12 short of making their hosts bat again.

Kagiso Rabada - the sole high point with the ball for Kent with four wickets as Essex piled on 569 in their first innings - could only muster five from his eight balls before falling to Quinn, though Mitch Claydon did use-up another eight for his one run, allowing Northeast to guide his side into an eight-run lead before the skipper was stranded on 166 not out when Claydon clipped Quinn to Ravi Bopara to leave Kent 370 all-out,

Northeast’s near eight-hour stint saw him face 320 balls, 23 of them sent for four, and took him to 432 runs in his past two Championship appearances. He averages more than 89 in red-ball cricket this summer, though he was dropped on 30 on the third evening.

It had been Alex Blake who was the only Kent man to pass 20 on the opening day as they were ousted for just 207 after being put in after opting for a toss.

Blake’s 89 from 116 balls saw him share 56 for the seventh wicket with Callum Jackson, handed a debut in place Sam Billings on England T20 duty.

Kent then spent more than 145 overs in the field, spread over three days, as they saw the hosts take charge.

England captain Alastair Cook fell to Rabada for 49 but Tom Westley made 88, Bopara 94, Dan Lawrence 82, Ryan ten Doeschate 91 and James Foster 49 - a record score for the club without having a centurion.

With Daniel Bell-Drummond (thumb) missing and Tom Latham missing out as Kent could only field one overseas, Fabian Cowdrey opened alongside Sean Dickson but the pair again departed cheaply in the reply, though Cowdrey’s 15 and Darren Stevens’ 25 were the only scores above eight, aside from Northeast and Tredwell.

After Adam Ball had conceded eight off the first over of Essex’s second innings, the game’s odd climax saw Northeast opt to bowl the second over, facing England captain Cook, who cracked the winning run from the 10th ball of the reply to secure maximum points for his side, while Kent had to settle for two points to lose ground in the promotion race.

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