Records tumble as Kent dominate
Records tumble as Kent dominate

Sean Dickson (210*) was without doubt Kent’s man of the day scoring his maiden first class century of the season, exceeding his previous personal best, batting throughout day one as the as the hosts in winning the toss and electing to bat took full advantage in batting-friendly conditions against a lacklustre Northants.

Dickson in passing 156* also became the highest individual scorer for Kent at Beckenham, surpassing Andrew Symonds (v Warwickshire, 2004) whilst Kent in surpassing three hundred registered their highest innings score at the ground.

Dickson (191*) and Denly (129*) also surpassed Kent’s record second wicket partnership versus Northants previously held by Arthur Fagg & Frank Woolley dating back to Northampton in 1934, taking it on past three-hundred and unbeaten overnight.

In a repeat of the same fixture last season as The County Ground, Beckenham welcomed the visit of Northants, Kent were both forced into one change and made two more – The concussed Darren Stevens was replaced by James Tredwell whilst Adam Milne, whose fifty saved the game at Trent Bridge only the week before, made way for Yasir Shah – giving Kent two main spin options.

The other change was a surprise as Will Gidman, who was named in the starting eleven the night before, was replaced by Matt Hunn.

After two tough fixtures on the road against fellow promotion-hopefuls Worcs and Notts, although they had the comfort of home, it wasn’t any easier hosting a Northants side coming into the game with three wins on the bounce.

Kent were also hoping for a better outcome than last season where local Farnborough-born Ben Duckett‘s double-century (208) led the visitors to a victory with a day to spare and it was a day to savour as the record books were rewritten for the hosts.

It was a successful opening phase to the game for the hosts reeling from previous outings and deemed failings with the bat putting them under pressure of the remainder of games and as the hour-mark arrived Kent’s opening pair Bell-Drummond (22*) and Sean Dickson (20*) brought up Kent’s fifty (50/0) with a leg-bye.

Having not only negotiated the opening spell in turn settling themselves in well the first moment of concern arose for the hosts as Dickson (35*) survived a shout/plea for leg-before but the umpire was unmoved, Kent 70/0 (Bell-Drummond 29*).

And with the lunch break imminent Sean Dickson (50*) brought about his half-century (90b, 6×4) and just prior to that Bell-Drummond (42*) cracked a four through the off-side for the hosts hundred and the pairs’ hundred partnership (102/0).

The pair safely returned to the pavilion for lunch to confirm an excellent morning for the hosts. Winning the toss and electing to bat Kent had reached 106/0 (Bell-Drummond 43*, Dickson 53*).

Resuming after lunch Dickson (70*) was finding the opportunities for runs a little easier than his team-mate Bell-Drummond (44*) sending a Graeme White ball over long on for six, the first maximum of the innings.

Bell-Drummond certainly looked out of sorts post-lunch and with the dark clouds ominously looming overhead the Kent man went searching for a Ben Sanderson delivery outside the off-stump, edging it behind to Adam Rossington – Bell-Drummond (49) falling agonisingly short of another half-century to follow his previous weeks effort at Trent Bridge (129/1, Dickson 70*).

Kent were looking fairly untroubled and in good form and passed one-fifty with relative ease (Dickson 82*, Denly 9*) and continued to move on in the same vane as the pair shared a fifty partnership (179/1; Dickson 95*, Denly 19*).

With Dickson now in the nineties the visitors were applying pressure in the field to limit run-scoring opportunities and the Kent batsman, just short of his century, found luck for the second time in the day.

In came Nathan Buck and in tempting Dickson (97*) to drive, a noise was clearly heard as the ball sailed through into Rossington’s gloves, but the umpire remain unmoved. Upon reviewing video footage and certainly from his reaction in looking at his bat, Dickson was extremely fortunate.

Unphased however, Dickson wasn’t to be denied his maiden century this season with a quick single (165b, 10×4, 1×6). Kent just also just shy of earning batting bonus points, 195/1.

In what was proving a fruitful afternoon session the pair then shared in a century partnership (229/1; Dickson 119*, Denly 43*) with Denly reaching another half-century of a rewarding campaign (75b, 3×4, 1×6), managing to reach it just before the tea interval, ending the session 242/1 (Dickson 123*, Denly 50*).

Resuming the evening session Dickson (126*) and Denly (58*) made short work of accumulating another batting bonus point (253/1) and on a hot day the Northants bowlers and fielders were being put to the sword as the pair put on and passed a one-fifty partnership.

The hosts were certainly not showing any indication of a recent dip in batting form as Dickson pushed on from registering his first century of the season turning it into one-fifty (225b, 12×4, 3×6) whilst Denly (77*) struck a glorious six as Kent now bagged three batting bonus points with over an hour of play still scheduled.

This Kent score was now the highest innings score for the hosts at The County Ground, Beckenham – The first time passing three-hundred.

Denly arrived into the nineties (90*) in good fashion striking Graeme White for four, six and a single in successive deliveries (323/1, Dickson 161*) whilst he (94*) and Dickson (163*) followed it up in sharing a two-hundred partnership (329/1).

On 99* Denly received a scare as a Steven Crook delivery is caught by ‘keeper Rossington with a clear noise on its’ way through – Not out – and on review the ball brushed the pad – A good decision by the umpire.

And Denly wasn’t to be denied taking a single a ball later (132b, 6×4, 3×6) for his third century of the season.

Neither batsman was being troubled by a lacklustre bowling attack and a leg-bye brought about a two-fifty partnership, Kent 379/1, Dickson 190*, Denly 116*, as the pair were closing in on a record second wicket partnership for Kent between the two sides (260) as Denly (125*) equalled the record with a sublimely timed boundary in front of the pavilion (389/1, Dickson 191*).

Denly immediately created history with a four through the off-side and he (129*) and Dickson (191*) surpassed the record previously held by Arthur Fagg & Frank Woolley dating back to Northampton in 1934 and the pair saw it through past four-hundred for their side.

Dickson, with the day closing, was keen to avoid a restless evening and be not out overnight just shy of a double-hundred and in running two and then a single off the last ball of an over hit successive boundaries in front of the main stand and that was his two-hundred (280b, 20×4, 3×6). His personal best was now edging ever closer.

Denly (143*) pulls a short-ball for four and with it the pair now shared a three-hundred run partnership (429/1; Dickson 204/1*) and with the first ball of the final over Dickson (209*) struck a four and with it he surpassed his previous personal best first class score (207* v Derbyshire).

Kent ended the day 434/1 (Dickson 210*, Denly 143*) – A quite brilliant display with the bat from the Kent men with records tumbling throughout the final session.

Kent hero Sean Dickson, who needs a further 66 runs on day two to better Matt Walker’s all-time individual record total for the county, said:

“I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it all at the moment if I’m quite honest and feel shattered. The last nine overs were a massive challenge for me out there and I just tried to remember what one old, wise man said to me the once , that ‘double hundreds don’t come your way every day’. So when I’d got to 190 I just kept reminding myself of Darren’s words. I said to Joe I needed a little energy spurt, a mind switch to get myself across the line to 200 and thankfully I found it from somewhere.

“There’s a massive amount of emotion after this for me. I have made four ducks this season at at times it’s been a massive mental struggle, but I’ve been hitting balls superbly well of late with no result. So it was really nice to work for that big score today.

“It’s obviously a good wicket but I think there’s enough in it for us to take 20 wickets, so we’ll just do our best to bat big here and have a look after that.”

Kent: 434 (Dickson 210*, Denly 143*)