Thorp boosts Durham's title hopes
Kent 225 and 159 for 5 (Thorp 5-61) trail Durham 500 for 8 (Breese 121, Di Venuto 90, Mustard 83, Smith 81) by 253 runs
He and Gareth Breese excelled in particular yesterday. Thorp, who took the five Kent wickets to fall, including their three best batsmen, bowled almost as quickly as Steve Harmison, no less. Earlier in the day, Breese, whose selection and success this season have come mainly in the one day game as opposed to first-class cricket, and whose character and aptitude are regarded highly in the north east, struck his first century of the summer.
He and Phil Mustard added 148 in 42 overs, the highest partnership for Durham's seventh wicket against Kent. Breese finished unbeaten with 121 including 13 fours and a six, batting highly competently against seam and spin alike. Mustard made 83 with 12 fours and a six. This, in addition to Thorp's spell of 15 overs, was too much for a Kent side who looked with bat and ball as if their fate - relegation - was settled.
Thorp, bowling from the Pavilion End on a pitch more conducive to batting than at any previous time in the match, had Rob Key caught for a duck at mid-off as he aimed to drive his the first ball he faced through midwicket. The highly regarded but out of form Joe Denly was held in Thorp's follow through and Martin van Jaarsveld was caught at short cover from a checked drive. That was 17 for 3 and two further wickets were to fall before Justin Kemp and Ryan McLaren came together.
The two South Africans resisted with considerably more gumption than their upper-order colleagues, although by then Thorp, whose figures were 5 for 61, was nearing the end of his spell and Harmison, too, was tiring. The change bowlers provided a more straightforward line of attack. McLaren drove soundly in striking nine fours in his 68-ball innings of 45.
To compound matters, Key was fined £1250 by the ECB for his outburst at the Riverside over "muppets" earlier this season. He was a dejected captain by the close, head in hands on the pavilion balcony following his dismissal.