Stevens counterattacks as Kent escape
Kent 321 for 7 dec. (Harmison 63) and 296 for 8 (Stevens 96) drew with Hampshire 455 (McKenzie 146, Riley 7-150) and 207 for 3 dec. (Dawson 87*)
Darren Stevens led Kent's second innings as they secured an honourable draw with Hampshire. Eighth wicket pair Calum Haggett and Adam Riley held out for 22 overs as Kent, set 342 to break a six-match winless sequence, fell 46 short at 296 for 8.
Hampshire seemed to be on their way to only their second win of the season when Kent were reduced to 41 for 4 before lunch but a stirring innings of 96 from Darren Stevens removed the initiative from the home side which they never regained.
The scene was set for an intriguing last day when Hampshire were fed 108 in 9.4 overs by Sam Northeast, who had never previously taken a wicket, and Robert Key who had managed only three. Liam Dawson and James Vince gorged themselves on a rich diet of full tosses and half-volleys before Hampshire declared at 207 for 3.
Kent made a dreadful start in their search for a first victory, losing Key for 1 and Northeast for 13, both to David Balcombe, along with Brendan Nash and Ben Harmison all in the first 13 overs. But on a blameless wicket, Stevens and Daniel Bell-Drummond launched a powerful counterattack with a dynamic stand of 144 in 34 overs for the fifth wicket.
The aggressive Stevens struck two sixes and 15 fours from 105 balls and appeared certain to reach three figures before he misjudged a short delivery from Sean Ervine and wicketkeeper Adam Wheater held the catch.
At tea Kent were still not out of the reckoning at 194 for 5 and Hampshire had a whole session to get the five wickets they needed.
Bell-Drummond's useful contribution of 66 ended with the score on 219 when he turned spinner Danny Briggs to Vince at short leg and Geraint Jones fell to the same combination three runs later. Kent were 222 for 7 with 32 overs remaining but they were in no mood to gift Hampshire some extra points.
Haggett and Matt Coles began the resistance with a stand of 28 in 10 overs before a mix-up over a run saw Coles beaten by a direct throw from Jimmy Adams.
But that was the closest Hampshire got to a badly-needed win, Haggett and Riley digging in with an unbroken stand of 46, surviving numerous appeals and bowling changes to deny their desperate opponents.
Young spinner Riley, who took seven wickets in Hampshire's first innings, had the unusual experience of recording best bowling and best batting performances in the same match.