Kent 459 and 157 for 5 beat Leicestershire 251 and 362 by five wickets
A late four-wicket burst from Leicestershire's veteran left-arm spinner Claude Henderson could not prevent Kent from posting their second County Championship win of the second division campaign at Tunbridge Wells. Having enforced the follow-on with a 208-run lead, Kent eventually dismissed the visitors for 362 second time around to leave themselves with a seemingly comfortable last afternoon run-chase of 155 from a minimum of 74 overs.
Though captain Rob Key fell for one to the seventh ball of the pursuit, his flailing drive at a lifting delivery from Nadeem Malik went off the edge through to the wicketkeeper, Kent assured their maiden win against county opposition with a second-wicket stand worth 135 between Sam Northeast and first innings top-scorer Joe Denly.
The pair ran impishly between the wickets to help rotate the strike and dispatched anything loose to the ropes in a bright partnership that lasted almost 38 overs. Denly reached 50 from 86 balls while Northeast, who was out for 49 in the first innings, ensured he reached the milestone second time around in two hours and with six fours and a six into the marquee that doubled as the temporary club shop.
The stand ended in spectacular fashion when substitute fielder Josh Cobb caught a stunning, over-the-shoulder catch running toward the boundary at deep cover that accounted for Northeast. Without addition to the total Denly followed a turning delivery from Henderson to edge to the wicketkeeper Tom New and with only 18 needed for victory Kent started to get the jitters.
It did not help matters that No. 5 Darren Stevens was almost timed out having taken an age to emerge from the pavilion. Then, with only four to his name, the right-hander proffered a bat-pad catch to silly mid-off to give Henderson a third scalp. Without addition Geraint Jones aimed an expansive drive that might have won the match only to edge to Will Jefferson at slip and give Leicestershire their fourth success in 21 balls.
It was left to Martin van Jaarsveld to complete Kent's win on the stroke of the scheduled tea interval with a driven four through mid-on. Having banked a maximum 24 points for the first time this season, as opposed to Leicestershire's three, Kent move off the foot of the second division table to leapfrog the visitors and Derbyshire in the process.