Copeland ten sets up third victory
Northamptonshire 303 (Peters 106, Shreck 4-80) and 105 for 3 beat Kent 271 (Bell-Drummond 68, Copeland 5-71) and 135 (Copeland 5-42) by seven wickets
Should Australia need Ashes cover for this summer's Ashes series they might do a lot worse than put Northamptonshire's overseas strike bowler Trent Copeland on standby.
Copeland, a 6ft 5ins right-armer, took five wickets in each innings for the first time in his first-class career and bagged match figures of 10 for 113 to inspire Northamptonshire's seven wicket win at Canterbury that keeps them on top of Division Two of the County Championship.
Bowling down the Nackington Road slope, Copeland ripped the heart out of a hapless Kent top-order and tuned a hitherto evenly fought contest into a one-sided miss-match.
With the match ball safely tucked away in his kit bag Copeland, who is playing on despite concerns over a slight back problem, said: "I enjoyed this game and felt I earned my wickets through putting it all in and working hard. It's a little like the old adage 'you can't take wickets if you're not bowling', that's just the way I see it.
"I'm only over here for nine weeks or so and would have liked to have contributed more wicket-wise in the first couple of games, but although I felt I bowled well I wasn't quite getting the edges or winning the appeals.
"We spoke about how strong this Kent side is on paper and I'm stoked for the boys that I've come good here and we're going home with a great result. I've never taken two five-fors in a game so I'm delighted with that. We've played three games previously on sporting pitches but this one here just did enough to keep you interested."
Having resumed on day three on 6 for 0 to trailing by a mere 26 runs, the Northamptonshire attack, inspired by Copeland, set about routing the hosts for 135 in a shade over three hours.
Copeland sent back both openers leg before with near identical full-length off-cutters and had former-West Indies international-turned-Kent Kolpak signing Brendan Nash caught behind as the hosts lost six wickets in the opening session.
Daniel Bell-Drummond was run out by a direct hit from Steven Crook after a slow response to a call for a sharp single, then James Tredwell, on his home bow as championship skipper, pushed outside the line of a Crook in-ducker to go leg before without scoring. And Kent supporters were choking on their carvery lunches in the Colin Cowdrey stand when, on the cusp of the interval, Matt Coles waltzed across his stumps flailing to leg and was bowled by Crook for 6.
Geraint Jones showed some heart for the fight with a brisk 72-ball 50 with seven fours after lunch but once he went leg before to David Willey for 57 Copeland returned to mop up the tail and finish with 5 for 42.
Northamptonshire lost three wickets in the pursuit of the 104 required for victory but Alex Wakeley teamed up with Andrew Hall to see them to the winning line by 5pm. Ironically for Kent fans, it was Hall, their overseas allrounder from 2005-2007 who smeared the winning boundary off the listless bowling of Tredwell, who has yet to claim a wicket in his three championship starts this season.