Gloucestershire 44 for 4 trail Kent 582 for 9 dec (Denly 107, Stevens 89, Rouse 55, Podmore 53*, Miles 4-122) by 538 runs
Darren Stevens once again demonstrated that age is no barrier as Kent took charge on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground. Still campaigning successfully in Division Two at 42, the veteran allrounder scored an enterprising half-century and shared in a stand of 161 with centurion Joe Denly as the visitors ran up a record-breaking total of 582 for 9 declared in their first innings.
Stevens then took 2 for 11 in eight overs with the new ball as Gloucestershire's top order imploded, the home side reaching the close on 44 for 4. Jack Taylor was unbeaten on 24 and Graeme van Buuren 5 not out, but Gloucestershire still trailed by 538 runs with six wickets left and need a further 388 to avoid following on.
Five sessions in the field clearly took their toll, Stevens bowling Benny Howell without scoring via an inside edge and then knocking back Chris Dent's middle stump as Gloucestershire's captain shouldered arms.
Generating genuine pace at the other end, New Zealander Matt Henry had Gareth Roderick caught at gully and Dean Bracey edged a Harry Podmore length ball to the slips as the home side collapsed under scoreboard pressure.
Their attack denuded by the injury-enforced absence of Dan Worrall, Liam Norwell and David Payne, the hosts were made to toil in the heat as bat dominated ball on a characteristically low-and-slow Bristol pitch during the first two sessions. Denly and Stevens ensured there was no let-up after Kent resumed on 297 for 4, the fifth-wicket pair holding sway for 37 overs to lay the foundations for Kent's highest-ever total on the ground.
Leading by example, Denly posted a 93-ball fifty before moving up through the gears to register his first hundred of the season from 174 deliveries with 13 fours. Stevens matched his captain blow for blow in a forthright innings of 89 from 112 balls, opening his shoulders to plunder 13 fours and a six.
Although Kieran Noema-Barnett snared Stevens and Craig Miles, again the pick of the home bowlers, had Denly caught at the wicket shortly after lunch, there was no respite for a Gloucestershire side that visibly wilted under fire from Adam Rouse and Podmore. Kent's seventh-wicket pair added 96 in 24.5 overs, both batsmen contributing half centuries to hasten a declaration that came shortly after the tea interval.
Miles' persistence was rewarded with figures of 4 for 122 and slow left-armer van Buuren weighed in with 3 for 74 but, for the rest of Gloucestershire's bowlers, it was a day to forget.