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Kent battle to Yorkshire draw
Kent battle to Yorkshire draw

Yorkshire were denied the opportunity to chase 114 in the final 21 overs of a pulsating final day by bad light as Kent secured an LV= Insurance County Championship draw at Headingley. 

Umpires Graham Lloyd and Steve O’Shaughnessy took the players off the field before a ball had been bowled in the Yorkshire chase following impressive innings from Kent trio Ben Compton (93), Grant Stewart (91) and Ollie Robinson (85 not out).

Kent looked to be in safe waters at 384 for six in their second innings, a lead of 104 and time running out.

But Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson was at the heart of a loss of four wickets for nine runs in 24 balls. He claimed three of them to finish with five for 54 in 29.3 overs, only for the 38-year-old’s return to go unrewarded. 

Credit should go to Kent, though. They avoided a third defeat in four games and denied their hosts a second win in three to start 2022. 

Opener Compton and wicketkeeper Robinson played similarly doughty innings, while injured all-rounder Stewart (hamstring) was far more aggressive as he struggled for mobility and required a runner. 

Kent started the day on 118 for two, trailing by 162. 

Compton is now the top division’s leading run-scorer with 560 and fell before lunch to leave the score at 182 for five.

Stewart and Robinson then shared 166 for the seventh wicket, a Kent record in matches versus Yorkshire, either side of tea having come together at 218 for six, a deficit of 62 with 56 overs still to bowl.

At that stage, Yorkshire were on top. The pair dug in initially before Stewart opened his shoulders. 

His 58-ball fifty was almost twice as quick as his partner’s. 

Kent reached tea at 312 for six, leading by 32 with 35 overs remaining in the game. 

And they all but doubled the lead in the first two overs of the evening, including Stewart hitting two sixes to take the lion’s share of 20 off a Jordan Thompson over.

More runs were to follow, with Stewart’s 91-ball innings featuring four sixes, all either slog swept or pulled.

But he was run out clipping to mid on before Patterson trapped Matt Milnes lbw and had Nathan Gilchrist and Matt Quinn caught at mid off to raise home hopes of a first 24-point haul since the final game of 2018.

Instead, they had to settle for 16 points to Kent’s 11.

Last week, Yorkshire were thwarted for the first time in as many weeks when they were unable to take 10 wickets on day four against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. 

Stewart suffered a hamstring problem whilst bowling on day three and required Jordan Cox as a runner when he arrived at the crease.

Yorkshire’s bid for victory, meanwhile, was hampered by the loss of Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf, who was unable to bowl in the second innings with a side issue.

Play was watched by new Yorkshire chair Lord Kamlesh Patel and dignitaries of one of the club’s new principal partners, Clean Slate Studioz, including owner Karnesh Ssharma – the brother-in-law of Virat Kohli.

An overcast sky hung above Headingley for the majority of the day, with the floodlights turned on as early as the second over of the day. So it was no real surprise that bad light played its part. 

Yorkshire’s first breakthrough came via Patterson, who removed opposing captain Jack Leaning – his former team-mate and close friend – for 36.

When Leaning under-edged behind attempting to leave alone in the  day’s sixth over, the 56th of the innings, Kent were 126 for three with a deficit of 154.

George Hill then struck twice with his canny medium pacers before Patterson’s late intervention. The match was deemed a draw just before 5.45pm, half an hour after bad light initially intervened.

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson said: 

“Especially with the way things panned out for us last week, to get ourselves in a position and then not to be able to get across the line, it was very frustrating. 

“We were a man down with Haris not able to bowl in the second innings. But, again, the approach of the guys, they worked very hard. I’m very proud of the way they fought to the end.

“We said at tea, ‘If we get an opening, we can get through them’. That’s what we did.

“Unfortunately, one great big cloud came over and put a stop to everything.“We would have had a go in 10 overs. We knew what we had to do. Twenty one would have been ideal, but if it had come down to 10 we’d have still backed ourselves to have a right good go.”

Kent wicketkeeper batter Ollie Robinson said: 

“It was a bit of frustration that, having wrestled the game back into our hands, we gave it away a little bit. 

“It’s kind of been the story of our season so far and has put a bit of a sour note on it. But I guess you can’t be too disappointed to come away with 11 points after them scoring the best part of 600.

“It was just a case of digging deep (during the partnership with Grant Stewart). I haven’t had a great start to the year, so for me it was just about batting time and finding a way.

“I really benefitted from that and have come away with some confidence. 

“It’s always fun to bat with someone like that, and Grant just did what Grant does. “A soon as Grant starts to get a bit defendy and pokey at balls, he starts to get into a bit of trouble. The ways he plays is looking to be positive – almost fighting fire with fire.”