Northants suffer defeat against Kent as Compton delivers crucial century at Canterbury

Ben ComptonBen Compton
Ben Compton
Northamptonshire were beaten in their LV= Insurance County Championship opener at Canterbury as Ben Compton’s unbeaten 114 helped Kent to a seven-wicket victory.

Compton produced a crucial stand of 167 with Jack Leaning, who made 67 not out, as Kent recovered from 60 for three to successfully chase down a target of 227, the hosts closing on 227 for three.

Earlier, Rob Keogh had scored 116 not out and Gareth Berg 56 as Northamptonshire posted 331 in their second innings, the duo sharing a stand of exactly 100 that set up an initially taut run chase.

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Joey Evison had Kent’s best bowling figures with four for 62.

The visitors had looked heavy underdogs at the end of day two, when they were still 58 behind with eight second innings wicket remaining, but after batting through Saturday, they began the final morning on 300 for seven, 195 in the lead.

Although Kent polished off the tail relatively quickly, the additional 31 runs Northamptonshire stockpiled ensured a jittery couple of hours for the home fans, until Compton and Leaning bedded in.

Berg reached 50 from the second ball of the morning, with a single off Michael Hogan, but the bowler took revenge in his next over, sending Berg’s middle stump flying.

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Evision wrapped up the innings with two quick LBWs, removing Jack White for seven, then getting Chris Tremain for a duck.

It was a target that looked some way off when Zak Crawley had his stumps splayed by Tremain, having made just three.

Daniel Bell-Drummond responded with a rapid 32 from 31 balls but Berg then ripped out his off stump and when Tremain then bowled Joe Denly for five, Kent still needed 167.

Compton’s initial caution faded after he reached 50 by pushing White through the covers for four. He was nearly out on 53 when he edged Keogh just past Ricardo Vasconcelos at thirst slip and he responded with a reverse-swept four.

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Leaning’s diligence meant Kent were on a far healthier-looking 158 for three at tea, and he subsequently nudged a single off White to bring up his half-century.

On Easter Sunday last year, Compton had scored 115 in a heroic but doomed rearguard action against Lancashire. This time round he swept Keogh to fine leg for four to reach three figures, and the victory was confirmed shortly afterwards when Leaning scrambled a single off the same bowler.

Kent take 19 points, Northamptonshire three.