Frustrated Kent miss out on fifth batting point
Kent 478 for 8 (Northeast 189, Latham 90, Stevens 54) lead Gloucestershire 337 by 141 runs
Kent's batsmen were left cursing the weather and missing out on a fifth batting bonus point as Gloucestershire rallied on a rain-protracted third day in Canterbury where the hosts closed on 478 for 8.
Only 46 overs were bowled after heavy showers struck at either end of the day, but there was time enough for the visitors to bag five wickets and for the hosts to mess up their pursuit of 400 before the 110-over cut off point.
Resuming on their second day score 304 for 3, Kent immediately faced the challenge of the second new ball in the hands of left-arm seamer David Payne.
Payne almost forced an immediate breakthrough, causing Sam Northeast to edge short of slip, then Payne's concerted appeal for lbw against Northeast was also turned down by umpire Russell Evans.
As it was, Kent suffered their first loss in the fourth over of the day when Alex Blake went without adding to his overnight score of 45. Prodding forward to one from Craig Miles, the left-hander nicked low to slip where Chris Dent snaffled a low chance that ended a fourth-wicket stand worth 104 in 28.4 overs with Northeast.
Northeast ploughed on to move past his previous championship best of 165, scored against Derbyshire at St Lawrence in 2012. Then Northeast set a new career best in all first-class cricket. By reaching 178 with a steer to third man against Josh Shaw, the Kent captain bettered the 176 he scored against Loughborough MCCU at Canterbury in 2011.
At the other end, Darren Stevens started his innings with positive intent, but received a stroke of luck on 14 when he was caught at mid-on by Jack Taylor only for the delivery from Miles to be called a no-ball.
Stevens enjoyed another let off with his score on 31 when Kieran Noema-Barnett dropped an overhead catch at slip after the Kent beneficiary had edged a cut shot off the bowling of Shaw.
Northeast's vigil ended after 392 minutes for 189 when he played round a leg-cutter from Shaw that held its line against the slope to clip off stump. He had scored 21 fours and a six and departed with his side 39 runs ahead.
Kent were seven short of a fifth batting bonus point when Adam Rouse (8) edged to the keeper when attempting to open the face and run the ball down to third man against Miles. Then, with only a handful of runs needed for their 400, Kent were guilty of depriving Stevens of the strike and, with five required from the 110th over from Miles, Calum Haggett could only muster two, sending the hosts in disappointed at tea.
Stevens went soon after the resumption and only two deliveries after posting a 77-ball half-century with three fours and a brace of sixes. Shaw looked too embarrassed to celebrate the dismissal, however, after the Kent batsman uppercut his rank long-hop into the hands of Ian Cockbain at deep backward point.
Five runs later, Mitch Claydon slogged and missed against offspinner Taylor to become the first victim of the match to fall to spin and, with their lead on 89, the players fled the field to another downpour and the loss of a further 17 overs.
Play resumed at 6.20pm when, in fading light, Kent elected to bat on and, through some lusty hitting from Matt Hunn and Haggett, took their side's lead into three figures with a belligerent stand of 54 from 41 balls. An overnight declaration now seems the likeliest tactic, however, if they are to force a fourth day win.