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Darren Stevens takes 8-75 as Kent draw with Leicestershire in Championship Division 2

Darren Stevens says his career-best performance in the draw against Leicestershire this week was a result of having ‘six weeks off’ during Kent’s ill-fated T20 campaign.

The 41-year-old found his opportunities limited with bat and ball during the Spitfires’ South Group campaign but returned to form with a bang in the Specsavers County Championship, claiming 8-75 against his home club Leicestershire at Canterbury.

With the ball in T20s the all-rounder bowled just 18.2 overs across all 14 games, picking up four wickets at an average of 40 while he was not called upon to bat on six occasions and when he did, he mustered just 113 runs at an average of 14.

Darren Stevens in action against Leicestershire. Picture: Andy Payton.
Darren Stevens in action against Leicestershire. Picture: Andy Payton.

Stevens claimed: “It was very nice to have a red-ball back in my hand this week. I feel like I’ve had about six weeks off, just sitting around watching the lads play. Even when I’ve been involved I’ve not really been involved in the game.

“It’s nice to get back and get given the ball and to do a job. I enjoyed it.”

He added: “I didn’t think I was going to get all 10, though there was a bit of a joke going on with the boys when Adam Milne got that (eighth) wicket.

I’ve not taken a eightfer before, 7-20 was my best, and I think the ones ones on the field not mentioning that were the umpires.

“I was just trying to do my job, as I do every game, try and run in and hit off-stump. That pace of pitch for me, I got the best out of it. Luckily it went my way.”

Kent did allow a commanding position to slip away as the visitors posted 350 in their first innings on day two, having been 174-8 in the 63rd over of the opening day.

Stevens admitted: “It was a day of two halves and we were very frustrated. There wasn’t much pace in the pitch for our quicker lads and at 174-8 we were in a dominant position, but we let ourselves down a little bit after that.

“The ball got softer and the boys got a bit weary, this being the first day back after five or weeks away from four day cricket. That took its toll a little bit which is a bit frustrating but adapting day-to-day it’s all part and parcel of playing first-class cricket.”

Sam Northeast fell just three runs short of a century as Kent replied with 333, with Stevens cracking 46 and Imran Qayyum (39) just failing to steer his side to a final bonus point despite a 46-run last-wicket stand with Milne (22 not out).

Day Three was washed-out by the rain and though Qayyum took 2-25 as Leicestershire stuttered to 135-6 in their second innings, further rain on Thursday afternoon made an unlikely Kent win impossible.

The 11-point haul left them 29 points adrift of Worcestershire in the second promotion place, though Kent do have a game in hand over them, as do Sussex in third, 10 points better off than Kent.

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