Kent relegated despite Tredwell heroics
Kent 302 and 90 for 6 v Yorkshire 261 and 130
A stunned Yorkshire saw their County Championship title hopes dashed in 44 crazy minutes against Kent at Headingley on Thursday, when their last nine wickets crashed for 37 runs in the space of 55 balls. They were routed for 130 which left Kent with 90 to make for victory - and they suffered a few scares on the way before winning by four wickets.
Yorkshire's only consolation was that they ended a splendid first season under Andrew Gale's captaincy in third place in the table to net £100,000 in prize-money for the players and £15,000 for the club.
The chief destroyer for Kent was off-spinner James Tredwell, who included a hat-trick in his 7 for 22 return while paceman Dewald Nel claimed the three remaining wickets. He was the first man to take a hat-trick against Yorkshire since Tony Gray for Surrey at Sheffield in 1985 and the first spinner since Intikhab Alam for Surrey at Headingley in 1972.
Yorkshire embarked on the final day of the season on 51 for 1 with a lead of 10 and things could not have gone better for the first 23 minutes as Adam Lyth and Anthony McGrath quickly added 42 runs through top-quality strokeplay.
Boundaries came thick and fast for both batsmen off Nel and Darren Stevens and when Lyth reached 37 it gave him 1,500 runs for the season. But, with the second-wicket stand worth 53, McGrath was unable to avoid contact with a spitting delivery from Nel and Geraint Jones held the catch.
It was the start of an amazing collapse which continued as Gale was bowled by Nel before Lyth had his stumps hit by Tredwell. The next ball from Tredwell lured Gerard Brophy out of his crease to be neatly stumped by Jones, and with the first ball of his next over Tredwell completed his hat-trick, Jonny Bairstow popping up a catch to midwicket where Nel swooped on the ball.
Ajmal Shahzad responded by driving Tredwell for six in the same over but there was no holding back Kent, Nel having Adil Rashid taken at second slip by Martin van Jaarsveld and Steven Patterson falling to a reflex catch by Sam Northeast off Tredwell at short leg.
Shahzad drove Tredwell for a second six before being stumped next ball and the end came when Moin Ashraf edged Tredwell to Van Jaarsveld. Tredwell's seven wickets had come in the space of 19 balls at a cost of 15 runs from two sixes and a three.
Yorkshire were not quite down and out because Joe Denly and Northeast were pinned lbw by Ashraf and Shahzad respectively with only six scored but Rob Key and Van Jaarsveld prospered either side of lunch before Key clipped Patterson straight to McGrath at mid-wicket.
Patterson dismissed Jones without scoring in his next over and it seemed Kent were home and dry when Van Jaarsveld drove Rashid for consecutive sixes. But he was caught at slip off the leg-spinner's next delivery and two balls later Rashid bowled Alex Blake.
Kent still needed eight runs and after Darren Stevens had straight driven a boundary he gave a difficult return chance to Patterson, who could not hold on with his left hand, leaving Tredwell to crown a great day by hitting the winning boundary.
Yorkshire skipper Gale said: "I am very disappointed with what has happened today. In those 45 minutes of our batting collapse there were signs of the old Yorkshire of the last two or three years.
"I thought we had got rid of those jitters but obviously not. That was not the way we have played our cricket this season and it will take a week or two to get over but it has still been a good year and the lads can be proud of their efforts.
"I think we that we took the game for granted and felt that it would be easy but you have to respect the game and Kent are a quality side and they have some quality performers. If you take your eye off the ball it will bite you on the backside and it did and we threw the game away.
"To say that our defeat was through lack of experience would be an easy get-out. Hopefully, the lads will learn something from it but it is still a bitter pill to swallow. Division One of the Championship is a tough division and I think that to win six games is a great effort."