Kent end season with defeat
Kent end season with defeat

Warwickshire secured the Specsavers County Championship Division Two title by beating Kent by an innings and 34 runs inside three days at Edgbaston.

Kent will still join the Bears in the top tier next season but had to settle for runners-up spot after failing to deliver the fightback required after they were outclassed on the opening two days.

Day three followed a similar pattern as Kent, trailing by 213 on first innings, resumed on 38 for one in the second and were bowled out for 179.

It was powerhouse performance by the home side but Kent’s implosion for 167 and 179 in the match did nothing to assuage their supporters’ concerns about their batting line-up’s ability to handle life in Division One next year.

The only regret for the jubilant Warwickshire fans was that the innings win denied Jonathan Trott one more visit to the crease before retirement. Instead, Trott received a huge ovation at the end – as one of three players who ended their Warwickshire careers today with Chris Wright and Keith Barker leaving to join Leicestershire and Hampshire respectively.

Kent began the third day in need of a massive rearguard action but were hit by a spectacular mid-morning burst of four wickets for 34 runs in 61 balls.

Nightwatchman Adam Riley fell to a brilliant, one-handed catch at second slip by Dom Sibley off Barker who then knocked out two of Joe Denly’s stumps to close the new England call-up’s season with a second-ball duck.

Olly Stone, who will be alongside Denly in the England party heading for Sri Lanka at the weekend, then found his rhythm from the Pavilion End, first inducing a nick from Heino Kuhn before leaving Ollie Robinson with just one vertical stump.

Opener Zak Crawley resisted hard for 73 (152 balls, ten fours) but was uprooted in the last over before lunch when he fell lbw to Ryan Sidebottom.

Two wickets in the first full over after lunch accelerated the collapse as Chris Wright pinned Darren Stevens lbw and had Grant Stewart caught at third slip. Sam Billings defied for 46 (75 balls, six fours) but when he fell lbw to Jeetan Patel, Warwickshire were one wicket from glory. That wicket fell immediately when Matt Henry played his first ball to mid off and Harry Podmore was run out by Stone’s throw.

Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton said:

“To beat the other best team in the league in two and a half days is a fantastic way to finish and all credit goes to the players. There is a certain sadness about it because we are saying goodbye to Chris Wright and Keith Barker, who have been absolute legends at this club, and Jonathan Trott, who has done so much for this club and his country. It’s great that Trotty’s family were here today to see the fantastic reaction from everyone towards him. It’s been a privilege to be alongside him with the Bears for so long.

“To walk away from this season not only promoted but with a trophy is only right for this group of players who have worked incredibly hard. I am very proud of them.

 

Kent batsman Joe Denly said:

“We came into the game very up for it and wanting to end the season on a high but we were completely outplayed. We were always playing catch-up after the first day, being bowled out so cheaply, and Warwickshire never let us back in. They batted very well and how fitting it is to see Jonathan Trott go out with a win.

“Warwickshire finish as Division Two champions and that’s thoroughly deserved but we have had a great season and I think a lot us are probably surprised how well it’s gone. Reaching the final of the one-day cup, getting close to getting to T20 Finals Day and getting back into the championship top flight – it’s been a fantastic season with certainly a lot to build on.”


 
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