Jones hundred lays platform for Kent
Kent 232 for 5 (Jones 107*, Blake 30*) v Derbyshire
If England's selectors are still wondering who should understudy wicketkeeper Matt Prior during this winter's Test and ODI programme in South Africa, then Kent's Geraint Jones can do little more to promote his own claims this summer than he has so far this summer.
Jones has let his bat and gloves do the talking for him this year and the impressive results led to a fifth century for the summer on the opening day of Kent's promotion dogfight with Derbyshire. When rain arrived at tea, Kent had reached 232 for 5 after 64 overs with Jones unbeaten on 107, with Alex Blake, the rookie allrounder, chipping in with an unbeaten 30.
Jones, who is clearly enjoying his new batting role at No. 3, saw three of his team mates go before lunch under leaden skies at the Old Racecourse Ground after Kent had been invited to bat. Ironically, it was 'Jones the ball' - Derbyshire's on-loan seamer Steffan - who did much of the damage in two spells either side of the lunch break, picking up figures of 3 for 29.
After teenage opener Sam Northeast (seven) spliced an attempted hook to square-leg from a Tom Lungley bouncer, Jones duly bamboozled Rob Key (30) with an off-cutter that nipped back sharply to trap him leg-before as he worked around his front pad. With his score on 4, Martin van Jaarsveld fell right into Jones's trap by pulling a slow bouncer straight into the hands of deep square-leg to make it 68 for 3.
While his team-mates looked hell-bent on self destruction, Geraint Jones set out his stall for a longer stay in his second hundred of the summer against Derbyshire and his fifth of the Championship campaign in all. Driving fluently and pulling with great power, Jones reached an 87-ball 50 with a straight six, after Graham Wagg had decided to switch mid-over from left-arm seamers to bowling spin.
Kent's slump continued after lunch when Darren Stevens, having already been dropped behind by a tumbling James Pipe when on 14, flat-batted a Lungley long-hop to John Sadler on the ropes at deep cover to go for 16. Then, after a cameo of 19 including a six over midwicket, Justin Kemp followed a leg-cutter from Steffan Jones to Pipe, who this time took the regulation catch to make it 158 for 5.
In tandem with left-handed Blake, Jones moved up a gear as the pair went for their shots in an attractive and unbroken sixth-wicket stand worth 74 in 28 overs through to tea. In the process Jones also posted his 1000th Championship run of the season - the first time he has reached the milestone in his career.
Wagg was again the bowler when Jones glanced to the fine-leg boundary to reach his 167-ball century with 12 fours and the six. At the other end Blake, playing only his second Championship match, batted calmly and with poise in driving five fours in an eye-catching 72-ball stay that was only curtailed by tea and then rain, which arrived during the interval to wipe out the final session of the day.