Gloucestershire bat out final day to secure draw with Kent

Gloucestershire bat out final day to secure draw with Kent

Joe Denly Photo courtesy of Kent Cricket

 

Graeme van Buuren and Kieran Noema-Barnett frustrated Kent for the second day in a row to help Gloucestershire secure a draw on an intriguing final day in Bristol.

The pair came together just as their side had lost four wickets for 37 runs and with the second new ball just five overs old.

However they batted with determination for 37 overs before van Buuren eventually fell for 59 shortly before the close.

Their resistance came a day after the 104-run partnership they had shared on day three in the first innings, the two all-rounders’ contribution over the course of the match saving their team from certain defeat.

Kent will have been disappointed not to win a game they had dominated for long periods, but should take heart from the fact they still sit second in Division Two and are in with a great chance of promotion.

Earlier in the day, the Gloucestershire top order, led well by captain Chris Dent, who scored 76, looked in complete control as the Kent bowlers toiled for most of the morning.

Danger man Matt Henry’s first spell of six overs leaked 26 runs and the opening pair of Dent and partner Benny Howell went along their business nicely with their hundred partnership coming up in the 34th over of the innings.

Howell had passed fifty in that time, looking particularly threatening on the back foot, a pull shot to the boundary off Henry a highlight of his 67 until he was trapped lbw to Harry Podmore, ending the opening stand on 114.

The sense of comfort amongst the Gloucestershire supporters that had existed for much of the first hour had now gone, with Podmore and Ivan Thomas plugging away at a relentless line and length with very little scoring opportunities, something which Gareth Roderick couldn’t handle.

A pair for the wicket-keeper, lbw to Thomas playing down the wrong line.

Dent was still at the wicket, finally reaching a 141-ball fifty, and helping his team to 155-2 at lunch. Youngster James Bracey, who already has two Championship centuries this season, assisting him along the way.

The two continued to look at ease following the interval, Dent being more attacking, taking a particular liking to Joe Denly who he cut away to good effect.

However, he would become Podmore’s second wicket of the day, top-edging through to Rouse who excellently took a sharp catch. Dent’s innings had lasted over four hours but his dismissal initiated a collapse that almost saw his team fall to their second consecutive home Championship defeat in 2018.

Bracey was next man out for 27, Rouse again the catcher but this time spinner Denly the bowler, the Kent captain’s part-time spin starting to cause problems.

Four overs later he had another victim trapping Jack Taylor lbw for 15. Gloucestershire had fallen from 182-2 to 207-5 with crucially the new ball just around the corner.

Stevens made good use of it when it was eventually taken, Ryan Higgins edging to Zak Crawley at first slip for three with Gloucestershire now 219-6. It was a disappointing end for Higgins who had started the day being called up to a ECB XI to take on India A on Sunday.

That would bring van Buuren and Noema-Barnett together once more who, in all honesty despite the precarious situation they were in, rarely looked troubled.

It would have been easy to crumble after the collapse that had gone before them, but neither wilted under the pressure in a partnership of exactly 100.

Both thwarted everything Kent could throw at them, solid in defence but importantly moving the scoring rate along, not wanting to be bogged down.

By the time van Buuren had been caught at silly point by Kuhn off Bell-Drummond, he and Noema-Barnett’s work had already been done. The New Zealander, who finished on 42, and Craig Miles negotiating the remaining overs.

Gloucestershire ended on 322-7, taking seven points from the match. Kent remain second in the table, their efforts being rewarded with twelve points.

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