sport

Northeast guides Kent to win

Sam Northeast hit his first century of the season as Kent cruised to a six-wicket win against Leicestershire in their LV= County Championship Division Two game at Grace Road.

With Northeast making an unbeaten 112 off 143 balls Kent reached their victory target of 304 half-an-hour before tea on the final day.

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Brendan Nash also made half-centuries as Kent eased their way to 306 for four.

Starting the day at 66 for one the visitors scored 240 runs in 51.5 overs to make light work of what had looked a challenging target, striking 50 fours and a six in their innings as the Leicestershire bowlers once again struggled with their line and length.

The only time Kent looked in any trouble was when they lost two wickets in four overs before lunch.

Ben Harmison edged a catch to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien after hitting eight fours in his knock of 40. Then Bell-Drummond was also caught behind flashing at a delivery from Charlie Shreck that was well wide of the off-stump shortly after reaching his half-century off 54 balls with 10 fours.

That left Kent at 110 for three, but Northeast and Nash shared a stand of 116 in 25 overs which took the game away from Leicestershire.

Northeast, who had made only 184 runs this season before this game, rode his luck at times and was dropped on 56 by Rob Taylor at point off Nathan Buck. But he gradually grew in confidence as he played his way back into form, reaching his century with two successive fours clipped to the mid-wicket boundary off Taylor.

Nash gave him good support with seven fours and a six in his 75-ball half century, before popping up an easy catch to mid-off as he tried to work a ball from Buck through the leg side.

But Darren Stevens joined Northeast in a quick-fire fifth-wicket stand of 80 in 17 overs, the veteran all-rounder contributing an unbeaten 21.

Northeast wrapped up victory with three consecutive fours off Jigar Naik to bring his boundary count to 19.

It was Kent's third win of the season earning them 22 points, while Leicestershire's winless run in the Championship was extended to 26 games. The last time they won was September 2012.

A delighted Stevens said:" It was a good win for us. I think the key session was the 17 overs we faced on the third evening. If we had lost three or four wickets then it could have been hard work for us."

Leicestershire coach Ben Smith said: "Obviously it is disappointing to lose but we showed a lot of character and spirit in the way we fought back in our second innings."