Snow forces early end as Kent draw
Snow forces early end as Kent draw

Rob Keogh’s resolute century saw hosts Northants through to maximum batting points as their LV=Insurance County Championship clash with Kent petered out into a draw on the final day at Wantage Road with snow bringing proceedings to an early close.

The middle-order stalwart batted a shade over six hours to make 124, including 12 fours and record his 10th first-class hundred for the county, one more than both current coach David Ripley and former skipper Alex Wakely.

Keogh’s effort ensured Northants raised their fifth batting point off the final ball of the 110th over before they were finally dismissed for 434, 21 in arrears of Kent’s first innings total of 455. Harry Podmore proved the pick of the visitors’ attack with four for 77.

England man Zak Crawley was left unbeaten on 19 as Kent reached 42-1 in their second innings before the weather closed in.

The combination of a slow pitch and 50-odd overs lost to the weather meant the final day was always likely to be about accumulating bonus points and so it proved.

Kent signalled they had settled for a draw by leaving veteran Darren Stevens out of the bowling attack despite the new ball being just two overs old, protecting his 44-year-old’s limbs for more promising match situations.

Adam Rossington showed early intent with two fours in an over off Matthew Milnes, this despite appearing troubled by a finger injury sustained when keeping wicket at the back end of the Kent innings.

The partnership reached 85 before Grant Stewart bowled Rossington for 35 with a beauty which beat the outside of the bat.

Keogh moved sedately to his hundred in 302 minutes, meaning Northants still needed 28 from four overs to make maximum batting points.

A game within a game ensued during which both Keogh and Tom Taylor broke their bats, but a crashed a four through the covers by the former and a scrambled bye off the last ball of the 110th got the job done.

Podmore ended Keogh’s vigil caught at midwicket, before claiming the scalps of Gareth Berg and Ben Sanderson with successive balls.

Bell-Drummond’s hope for time in the middle didn’t materialise when Sanderson pinned him in front for the second time in the match.

Snow sent the players to an early tea and returned soon afterwards before a draw was agreed.

Rob Keogh, Northants’ centurion said; “It was probably the toughest start to an innings I’ve had. ‘They bowled really well at me. I got a boundary away off maybe my 70th ball and it was just relief.”

“You want to score boundaries and be free flowing but they kept it tight and made it hard for me.’The only time I’ve ever come off for snow before was during pre-season games in March.”

“It wasn’t the nicest conditions out there. Zak Crawley was hitting them quite hard to me at mid-on, so I was quite happy when Rob Bailey said I think it is time to come off.”

Kent seamer Harry Podmore said; “It was a good batting track, a wicket we certainly didn’t expect to have so early on but it was a good test for our bowlers.”

“My first three overs weren’t great but I dragged it back well. I think Grant (Stewart) bowled really well, with very little reward. I know he picked up two but I feel like he definitely deserved more and the same goes for Milney, but I’m sure those will come.”

“Everyone has got some overs under their belts and I feel that will stand us in good stead. If you can bowl on that you can bowl on pretty much most wickets and I think the bowlers have definitely had a good enough sighter for the first game to hit the ground running next week (against Yorkshire).”