Rain frustrates Derbyshire as Kent game is drawn

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Kent v Derbyshire - Specsavers County Championship Division Two in Canterbury. Day four. Match drawn; Kent 10pts Derbyshire 12 pts.

A lifeless pitch and two injury-hit bowling attacks provided all the ingredients for a high-scoring draw in Canterbury where promotion-chasing Kent drew with a Derbyshire side still fighting to open their win account in the Specsavers County Championship second tier.

After Derbyshire’s mammoth first innings total of 574 -9 declared had helped the visitors to secure a 195-run first innings lead, Kent set out their stall to bat out the final three-and-a-half sessions of the match for their sixth draw of the summer.

That they readily achieved the stalemate was mainly due to dogged half-centuries from Tom Latham and Joe Denly and sprightlier 47-ball 50 by Sam Northeast, yet it was tame fare for the handful of purists who remained in the drizzle to witness the umpires’ inspection and abandonment at 4pm.

By then Kent had wiped out the Derbyshire lead and, at 238-3, had edged 74 ahead on a day when Derbyshire had hoped to dismiss Kent cheaply in order to secure their first four-day win in 2016.

They were hampered greatly by the loss of rookie pace bowler Will Davis through injury. The 21-year-old pulled up with a sidestrain after trying to stop the ball in his follow through and was unable to bowl throughout Kent’s second innings. He could be sidelined for several weeks.

Derbyshire began their task well enough when Ben Cotton removed Sean Dickson for 22, barely 20 minutes into the final day. Dickson received a belting leg-cutter that lifted and left him as he played in defence. The ball feathered the edge and flew to wicketkeeper Tom Poynton to make it 39 for one – it proved to be the only delivery of the day that misbehaved.

Second-wicket partners Latham and Denly combined to add 103 either side of lunch with New Zealand Test opener Latham scoring a 115-ball 50 with five fours. It was his first half-century in all forms of cricket since early May.

Three overs into the mid-session and with his score on 74, the Kiwi left-hander lapped leg-side against Wayne Madsen only to pick out Rob Hemmings, the 12th man substituting for Davis, who took a simple catch at square leg.

Denly soldiered on to go past 50 for the third time this summer. His watchful half-century coming from 135 balls and with five boundaries, then Northeast pulled a Ben Slater full-toss for four to wipe out the deficit, one of six boundaries in his eye-catching knock.

To their credit, Derbyshire tried eight bowlers and set some enterprising fields in a bid to force an error – including a short spell of Tony Palladino leg-theory bowled around the wicket to a 7/2 split field – but Kent were not to be tempted into an indiscretion.

With drizzle in the air, Nick Broom enjoyed yorking Denly for 64 for his sixth first-class wicket to break a third-wicket stand worth 93, but rain soon forced the players in for an early tea.

The rain and wind strengthened thereafter forcing the abandonment. Derbyshire banked 12 points for the draw, while Kent claimed 10 to move above Essex to the top of the Division Two table ahead of their four-day trip to Chelmsford starting on Sunday.