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May 19, 2012
Kent 280 for 6 dec. and 110 for 1 drew with Northamptonshire 418 (Sales 140) and 123 for 0 dec.
Despite a brace of declarations that raised hopes for an enthralling last day run chase, Kent's encounter with Division Two rivals Northamptonshire petered out into a dull draw.
The floodlights were on in gloomy Canterbury when the skippers shook hands at 5pm with Kent on 112 for 1 following an uninspiring pursuit of their victory target of 262 from a minimum of 60 overs. Kent captain Rob Key, having posted an unadventurous half-century from 114 balls, was unbeaten with 55 while Ben Harmison kept him company for two hours, limping to 27 not out.
Northamptonshire's sole success, and the only wicket to fall on the fourth and final day, came 16 overs into the chase when on loan left-hander Scott Newman missed out on an attempted sweep against James Middlebrook to go leg before for 16. There was little to applaud thereafter.
In declaring his side's first innings on their overnight score of 280 for 6, to concede a 138-run deficit, Kent skipper Key challenged his Northamptonshire counterpart Andrew Hall to make a game of it by setting the hosts a target. The visitors eventually did so, but only after Key, in tandem with the very occasional seam-bowling of Newman, had served up some buffet bowling that allowed Northamptonshire openers Middlebrook and Stephen Peters to help themselves to unbeaten half-centuries.
Middlebrook pulled one big six off Harmison in his 95-ball 50, while Peters took a further 17 deliveries to reach the landmark, with six fours. The declaration finally came at the lunch interval with Northamptonshire on 191 without loss, leaving Kent the remaining 60 overs to chase their target.
Sadly for the modest last-day crowd, their quest never made it out of first gear as Kent settled for a draw, a fifth stalemate preserving their unbeaten record from six championship starts. Northamptonshire, meanwhile, have now gone four games unbeaten after losing their opening two matches of the season, the second of those in the reverse fixture with Kent at Wantage Road back in April.
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