Northamptonshire complete Kent double
Northamptonshire 493 and 108 for 5 beat Kent 280 and 320 by five wickets
Northamptonshire wrapped up a comfortable five-wicket win over Kent to give them a double over their visitors inside a month in the County Championship Division Two.
Andrew Hall's side followed their innings and 159-run triumph at Wantage Road on April 16 with success in Canterbury where the home side made them work just that little bit harder for their maximum 24 points. After recording 320 in their second innings - their highest score of the summer to date - Kent took five Northamptonshire wickets in the pursuit of their victory target of 108.
Opener Stephen Peters clipped a firm catch low to square leg off England Under-19 left-arm seamer Adam Ball then, just before lunch Rob White had middle stump pegged back by a ball from off-spinner James Tredwell that turned out of the rough and through the gate.
Soon after the resumption Mal Loye snicked a Tredwell arm-ball to slip to make it 73 for 3, then Alex Wakely shouldered arms to go leg before to the same bowler. Visiting skipper Hall then hit Tredwell for six past the new St Lawrence lime tree to take Northamptonshire into three figures, but soon after Adam Riley pinned David Sales leg before with a quicker ball that took pad, then bat.
With ex-Kent players Hall and Niall O'Brien in tandem, Northamptonshire finally reached their target half an hour into the mid-session to win with 54 overs to spare when Hall steered a two to third man.
Resuming on their overnight score of 255 and with only a slender lead of 42, Kent lost teenager Ball to only the 12th ball of the final day. Having batted for 87 minutes in helping to add 98 for the eighth wicket, the right-hander's push drive at Chaminda Vaas flew to slip where Hall took a sharp diving chance.
Neil Saker looked sound against the Northamptonshire seamers in scoring 18 on his county debut but less secure against the spin of James Middlebrook, who might have had the ex-Surrey man for 13 had Hall clung on to another tough slip chance.
As it was, Saker fell in the following over after nicking a back-foot defensive prod against Lee Daggett into the gloves of O'Brien to make it 292 for nine. With last man Riley at the crease, Stevens opened up to club a six off Middlebrook and then scamper two to take Kent past 300 for the first time this season.
The right-hander should have gone for 128 when Rob White dropped a sitter at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Middlebrook, who then conceded another Stevens' six, this time over long-on and to give Kent a three-figure lead.
After 212 minutes Stevens' luck finally ran out when, with his score on 143 from 137 balls, he missed an attempted drive against Jack Brooks to lose his middle stump and leave Northamptonshire a minimum 79 overs in order to reach their victory target.