Experience comes good for Kent
Kent 310 for 4 (Stevens 120*, Nash 110*, Harris 4-80) v Glamorgan
You cannot beat experience. Well, not always at any rate. And although 22-year-old James Harris tried with all his might to stand alone on centre stage, it was two thirty-somethings, Brendan Nash and Darren Stevens, who ended up sharing the honours by scoring unbeaten centuries to mastermind a spectacular Kent fightback.
Harris still deserved plenty of praise for an encouraging performance that, at its peak, saw the young fast bowler boasting figures of 4 for 33 from 12 overs - a burst that gave Glamorgan real hope of following Tuesday's win against Northants with a commanding start to this game.
But, by close of play, even he looked battle-worn as century-makers Nash and Stevens took their well deserved applause for innings of contrasting style but equal worth. Their unbroken stand of exactly 200, in 46 overs, left Kent in command and ready to push for a victory that would underpin their promotion challenge. For both batsmen, this was a second championship hundred of the season. And by joining forces so effectively they not only lifted the hosts away from the early difficulty of 110 for 4 but also quashed at least some of Glamorgan's enthusiasm.
Harris, who missed the first half of the campaign while recovering from a groin operation, produced a beauty with the new ball to remove Rob Key and then needed something a little less menacing to find the edge of Ben Harmison's bat.
But it was two wickets in two balls from Harris soon after an hour's stoppage for rain that really threatened Kent- and left Glamorgan believing they could quickly follow Tuesday's first win of the season with a second four-day success. Sam Northeast's attractive half-century ended when he played across the line while Mike Powell - up against the county who bade him farewell after last summer - snicked fatally to fall for a painful golden duck.
Enter 36-year-old Stevens to face the hat-trick delivery. He blunted that threat with a forward defensive but, within minutes, boundaries were flying off his bat. Three came off Huw Waters, three more flowed in quick succession when John Glover took up the attack and for a time it looked as though Stevens would reach three figures before Nash - even though Nash had a 30-run start.
Nash is not the sort of batsman to be easily ruffled by a friend or foe, however. The 34-year-old former West Indies Test batsman carried on in his unhurried way, punishing the bad ball when it came and happy to admire Stevens' stand and deliver style at the other end.
In fact, having rushed to 50 from 42 balls, Stevens slowed a touch while Nash accelerated - duly completing his century from 158 deliveries with 14 fours and celebrating the landmark with a rocking-the-cradle salute to his new-born son. As for Stevens, there was a rare scare on 92 when he almost ran himself out. But the hundred arrived, safely enough, from 125 balls with 18 fours and, like Nash, he looked hungry for more at the close.
During the course of his innings, Stevens passed 10,000 first-class runs. On top of that, the power of his hitting damaged Marcus North - who needed ice treatment on his left ankle after stopping a shell of a drive at short extra cover - and almost removed umpire David Millns, who was struck, but not harmed, by a fierce pull while standing at square leg.
For Glamorgan - who also had Waters off the field at one stage with a stomach upset - some good news was needed. It came at tea with the announcement that head coach Matthew Mott is staying with the county, despite having been interviewed for the head coach job at New Zealand.