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Century by Joe Denly is not enough for Kent as Essex win during Tunbridge Wells Festival Week

Joe Denly
Joe Denly

Joe Denly's hundred on the final day failed to save Kent from a 122-run defeat against Essex at Tunbridge Wells on Friday.

The defeat saw Kent drop to fourth place in LV County Championship Division 2.

With Kent chasing an improbable 478 for victory on the final day, Denly’s stay of nearly six hours came to an end against the part-time off-spin bowling of Alistair Cook, the England opener.

The 23-year-old (pictured) hit 17 fours and two sixes during his 236-ball knock but his demise, soon after lunch, gave Essex the opportunity they were hoping for.

It was left to the spin bowling of Danish Kaneria to guide Essex to victory as he made light work of the lower order with figures of 6-92 from 42 overs, having not taken a wicket in Kent’s miserable first innings effort of 123.

Only Martin van Jaarsveld (73) and Darren Stevens (43) showed any resistance and the final five wickets went for just 43 runs either side of tea.

Kent were always on the backfoot after the first innings. Having reduced Essex to 18-3, first the returning Matthew Walker and then Graham Napier’s 66 not out helped the visitors to 280.

Losing both Denly and out-of-form skipper Rob Key without score left Kent 4-2 overnight and they quickly collapsed to 50-6 before Justin Kemp’s 36 helped them to 123.

Essex did not have the same struggles second time around as they declared on 320-6 once skipper Mark Pettini had reached his century, although Kent’s cause was not helped as they were without paceman Robbie Joseph through a groin injury.

Essex batted on well into day three but it proved ultimately the right decision by Pettini thanks to Kaneria’s wicket haul on the final afternoon.

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