County Championship: Kent end Hampshire’s title hopes with win inside three days

James Vince
The departure of James Vince for 73 meant the game was up for Hampshire’s title hopes
LV= County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl (day three)
Kent 165 & 269: Leaning 112; Abbas 4-68, Fuller 3-44
Hampshire 57 & 300: Fuller 78*, Vince 73; Gilchrist 4-60
Kent (19 pts) beat Hampshire (3 pts) by 77 runs
Match scorecard

Hampshire’s County Championship title hopes were ended as Kent ran-out winners by 77 runs inside three days at the Ageas Bowl.

Victory also boosted Kent’s Division One survival hopes and condemned Gloucestershire to relegation.

James Fuller hit 78 not out and James Vince 73 for Hampshire but they were bowled out for 300.

Hampshire had won five of their previous six home matches, the other a rain-hit draw against Lancashire in April.

By contrast it took Kent six games to register their first win in the Championship, though they have lost three of the five since then.

Kent began the day needing six wickets while Hampshire, resuming on 105-4, still required 273 runs to claim a victory which looked unthinkable when they were skittled for just 57 on the afternoon of day one.

Joe Weatherley had added only two runs to his overnight 54 when he was trapped leg before by Nathan Gilchrist, who also tempted Ben Brown to chip to Joey Evison for no score 13 balls later.

On-loan Surrey paceman Conor McKerr claimed his first Kent wicket, and gave his parent club’s title hopes a boost, when he had Aneurin Donald lbw for 14 to make it 146-7.

With Hampshire skipper Vince in the middle Kent could never relax, but the game was up when he top-edged a pull shot off occasional spinner Jack Leaning to Tawanda Muyeye on the boundary for a typically classy 73, featuring nine fours.

Vince’s departure ended a 90-run partnership with Fuller who plugged away for his second half-century of the season and ended with an unbeaten 78 from 92 balls.

Kent captain Leaning also accounted for Kyle Abbott (14) and though he dropped last-man Mohammad Abbas, Gilchrist demolished his stumps soon after to secure victory by 77 runs, while Matt Quinn finished with match figures of 8-92.

Kent have announced the second day of next week’s final match at home to Somerset will be ‘Stevo Day’ at Canterbury, in honour of veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens who is set to leave the club after 18 seasons after not being offered a new contract.

Hampshire conclude their season against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Both matches start on Monday.

Defeat ‘massive disappointment’ for Hampshire – reaction

Hampshire captain James Vince told BBC Radio Solent:

“Obviously there is massive disappointment in the dressing room at the minute.

“That session at the end of day one where we were bowled out in 18 overs or so was the difference in the end. There was still a lot of belief in the group that we could fight our way back into the game but fair play to Kent, they managed to keep us away from them despite a spirited effort today.

“It was always going to be hard work but we always believed coming into today that we had a chance and that we could do something special.

“Throughout the season, when we’ve been tested the group has always had answers – unfortunately we couldn’t quite get over the line. I’m proud of the effort the boys have put in, not just in this game but over the course of the season.”

Kent coach Matt Walker told BBC Radio Kent: “I’m extremely proud, that’s the feeling emanating around the dressing room. They are the best feelings when you win a game of cricket like that.

“It was a proper team performance. I said in the dressing room afterwards that we have had some moments this season, some good individual performances but I think everybody played a part. In a game like that you need everyone to come to the party. Everybody played their part. That’s what it takes to win four-day game of cricket.

“From the situation we were in early on in this match (35-5 on the first morning) to getting over the line on day three is a fantastic effort. Initially that innings from Ben Compton (63 from 161 balls) was enormous in the context of the game. It could have been pretty messy scoreboard but it was a huge innings, not taking anything away from the hundreds he’s scored but that was so good to see.

“The response from the guys with the ball was superb. We found the edge a lot, we had a bit of luck go our way and we just kept going. The performance from Jack Leaning (112 in the second innings) was a truly special one and ultimately we held our nerve and got over the line in the end.”

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