Robinson ton as Kent battle
Robinson ton as Kent battle

Ollie Robinson hit a century and claimed the 100th catch of his career as Kent fought back on day three of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Northants at Canterbury. 

The wicketkeeper hit 120 from 119 balls, including 16 fours and three sixes as Kent reached 330 for five in reply to Northants 392 all out, a deficit of 62. Jordan Cox was Kent’s next highest scorer with 90 and Joe Denly made 63.  

Simon Kerrigan took two for 80 as Northants took a cluster of late wickets, but barring a sporting declaration tomorrow the match is almost certain to end as a draw. 

Earlier Darren Stevens took five for 77, the 31st five-wicket haul of his career, and Matt Quinn claimed four for 86 as Northants added just 30 runs to their overnight score of 362 for five, following a delayed start. 

Saif Zaib fell to the fifth ball of the day, edging Stevens behind for 21 and becoming Robinson’s 100th victim after a brilliant one-handed dive. Tom Taylor was lbw for 25 in Stevens’ next over and Quinn then took two wickets from three balls, getting Nathan Buck caught behind for four and removing Gareth Berg, caught by Jack Leaning at first slip for 10.   

Northants missed out on a fourth bonus point when Stevens had Ben Sanderson caught behind for four and Kent’s openers responded with their first century stand of the season.  

Robinson, dropped on 48 by Berg, reached his century when he steered Berg through point for four. 

He then hooked Berg for a third six over long leg and finally fell lbw to Buck, a split-second after a car alarm went off, although he didn’t appear to be distracted. Cox reached his third half-century with a glanced four to third man and subsequently smashed Kerrigan for a six into the top tier of the Frank Woolley stand. 

Denly was dropped on 38 when he edged Taylor to second slip, only for the ball to crash into Berg’s ribs. He passed 50 by smashing Kerrigan over the Woolley stand, before Kerrigan finally tasted success when he trapped Cox lbw. Rob Keogh had Denly caught at deep square leg by Zaib and Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Kerrigan for 19. Zaib then had Leaning caught behind in the penultimate over for 24. 

Kent’s Ollie Robinson said: “I feel like it’s been a bit of a long time coming.  I feel like I’ve been pretty good this year and haven’t quite got the score I wanted, but I’ve got it today so I’m pretty pleased. The celebration was a bit of everything really and my Dad was here as well so it was nice for him to see it. There was a bit of relief and a bit of excitement in it.  

(On his attacking approach.) “That’s the way I play, if it’s there to hit I’m going to hit it!” 

(On a difficult week after getting confused with his Sussex namesake) “It’s something that I don’t want to get caught up in, it’s something I’ve been dragged into and it’s not my fault, but hopefully today I’ve made my own headlines and kind of put that to bed.” 

Northamptonshire coach David Ripley said: “There was a lot of talk this morning about our strategy to get that batting point under our belt, which seemed straightforward given where we were this morning but then got a bit harder. Robinson played very, very well and before you know it we’ve come second best today. 

“With the eight points for the draw I think the idea of us setting up some kind of false run chase will not really happen. There’s too much work to do to get to that so it’ll just be can somebody win (by thinking) a little bit outside the box.”