Kent skittle Notts to win
Kent skittle Notts to win

Kent skittled Nottinghamshire inside two sessions to land an impressive 285-run win on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match in Tunbridge Wells.

Having set the East Midlands’ county an improbable victory target of 406, Kent set about rolling over the first division’s basement side inside 60 overs to land their second win of the summer. The hosts banked 22 points, while Nottinghamshire travelled north with only five.

Kent had Harry Podmore, the former Middlesex seamer, to thank for the win after his five for 41 return, but Ollie Rayner, the off-spinner making his Kent debut after agreeing a three-month loan from the same county, also played a key role with a mid-afternoon stint of 16-12-13-2.

At the day’s start, Kent batted on for nine overs to add a further 86 to their overnight total of 277 for three.

Joe Denly pressed the run-rate accelerator from the off, clattering another 56 off only 30 balls with five sixes and three fours to finish unbeaten on 167 from his 273 minutes at the crease overall.

He lost Heino Kuhn for 42, bowled by off-spinner Matt Carter, and Ollie Robinson, well caught at backward point for just a single as Kent’s dash for runs stumbled, albeit briefly.

Kent’s declaration left them 90 minutes and two full sessions to dismiss the visitors, but they duly wrapped up the win by tea with Podmore to the fore.

Ben Duckett, the former England left-hander, lauded for his aggressive batting, received a life with his score on 15 when Zak Crawley spilled a low chance at third slip off Podmore. Yet, the opportunity cost only 10 runs as Duckett chased another full one outside off stump to be caught behind.

Four overs later, Podmore removed the experienced Chris Nash to a fine low catch by keeper Robinson, diving to his right then, five balls later, the bowler snared Joe Clarke leg before for a duck after a late and ill-judged decision to shoulder arms.

Grant Stewart took over at the Railway End and struck with his 14th delivery by having Samit Patel caught at square cover off a leaden-footed and imprudent back-foot force that left Nottinghamshire in trouble on 56 for four at lunch.

Kent’s dominance continued in the mid-session as Ollie Rayner, the Middlesex loanee, held court from the Railway End with a tenacious spell, the last five overs of which were maidens.

Rayner took his maiden wicket for Kent by turning one away from Ben Slater and feathering the edge for a catch behind. The off-spinner also had James Pattinson caught in the gulley from an over-ambitious drive.

Wiaan Mulder chipped in with the wicket of visiting skipper Steven Mullaney, leg before to a yorker, then Podmore and Grant Stewart, with two for 13, returned to polish the job off.

With his side adrift at the bottom of the table and already facing the threat of relegation, Notts captain Mullaney pulled no punches. He said: “There’s no arguing with that result and it feels like an interview on repeat, but once again we’ve not been good enough with the bat and were hit and miss with the ball.

“We hade them 120 for six in their first innings and let them score 300, we fought well on day two through Samit and ‘Nashy’, but today was just embarrassing. We’ve got to the point now where we have to looks at ourselves.

“On paper, we have a good team, but we’re not preforming. The odds are against us but we’re going to have to win a few of our last seven games to give ourselves a chance.

“It’s not quite a car crash yet, but our decision making has been poor. We’ve been the worst team in this division by a long stretch in the opening seven games. At the end of the day you get what you deserve in this game, and we deserve to be bottom.”

In praise of Podmore, Matt Walker, the Kent coach, said: “When Harry joined us from Middlesex last year he wanted a new home, he wanted to be loved if you like, and we gave him the responsibility to lead our attack. He lived up to that challenge today.

“He’s thrived on the challenge. In many way’s Harry’s a bit old school, in that he doesn’t move like an athlete and he gets frustrated when he doesn’t take wickets, but he grew up very quickly last summer playing a support role to Matt Henry.

“He now sticks to his guns, bowls top of off all day long, challenging people’s defences with good skills. He’s become our glue bowler.”


 
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