Kent prevail in thriller to deepen Gloucestershire's relegation worry

Skipper Matthew Fleming had a day to remember as Kent pipped Gloucestershire by one run at Bristol to keep alive their hopes of winning the Norwich Union League.

First Fleming won the toss and top scored with 58, off 75 balls, with six fours, as his side posted 200 all out in glorious sunshine.

Then he returned a competition-best 5-40 to help restrict last season's champions to 199-9 in reply, with Martyn Ball run-out off the final delivery attempting a second run that would have meant a tie.

Min Patel was another Kent hero, bowling his nine overs for just 19 runs and taking the crucial wicket of Ian Harvey when Gloucestershire looked to be cruising towards victory.

Harvey's 45 off just 25 balls had his side 97-1 in brisk time at one stage. But Patel and Andrew Symonds applied the brake and some poor shots in the closing stages saw the home side slump from 170-4 with five overs remaining.

James Averis had earlier taken 5-40 as Gloucestershire fought back hard to restrict Kent to what looked a modest total.

The visitors got away to a bright start as, after the early loss of David Fulton, James Hockley (39) helped Fleming take the score to 110 at nearly five an over.

But the introduction of off-spinner Ball, bowling in tandem with captain Mark Alleyne, foiled efforts to accelerate.

Alleyne and Mark Hardinges were economical in conceding 36 runs each from their nine overs, Alleyne picking up the wicket of Hockley and Hardinges sending back Matthew Walker, both clean bowled.

It was Averis who profited from the tight bowling of mid-innings as he returned to add four late order wickets to the early scalp of Fulton. Robert Key, Martin McCague, Min Patel and Martin Saggers managed just 23 runs between them as Kent plunged from 187-5 to be dismissed in 43.5 overs, their last five wickets adding only 13.