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Kent Spitfires hopes of reaching knockout stages of the Yorkshire Bank 40 all-but ended by a five-wicket defeat at Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Kent’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition were all-but ended by a five-wicket defeat at Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Tuesday night.

The Spitfires went into the game in second place in Group A and four points behind leaders Notts with three games remaining, but were beaten by the Steelbacks with two balls to spare to slip to third and needing to win their final two games, and hope other results go their way, to have any chance of a final four berth.

Skipper James Tredwell won the toss and chose to bat at Wantage Road but Sunday’s centurion Rob Key departed for a duck in the second over.

Brendan Nash joined Sam Northeast in the middle to put on 63 for the second wicket but was stumped for 34 by David Murphy after missing a pull attempt of veteran spinner James Middlebrook.

Darren Stevens (10) saw an edge deflect off Murphy to Cameron White to make it 84-3 at the midway stage before Fabian Cowdrey (13) was bowled by Steven Crook (3-36).

Crook also accounted for Northeast for 44 while the recalled Adam Ball (10) cracked a Matt Spriegel delivery to David Willey.

Tredwell came in at 125-6 with less than 11 overs remaining but was bowled by a slower ball from Mohammed Azharullah for nine, but Geraint Jones saw-out the final five overs with Matt Coles (12 not out) to post his highest 40-over score of the summer with an unbeaten 46 from 52 balls.

The total of 188-7 never looked quite enough, despite Willey (2) and David Sales (7) falling to Coles and Mitch Claydon in the opening seven overs.

Kyle Coetzer and White combined to put on 142 for the third wicket in 28 overs, with White eventually smashing Coles to Key after an 82-ball knock of 65.

Needing 15 from the final five overs, Northants nerves were frayed as Coetzer nicked to Jones off the bowling of Stevens for 90 while Claydon bowled Crook (2) soon after,

However the hosts needed just three from the final over and they arrived courtesy of leg byes off Claydon to dent the Spitfires’ hopes of a place in the knockout stages.

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