Cricket: Athey takes full advantage of lapses: Kent woe continues

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Sussex. . . . . . . .305-7 v Kent

AS THERE is no keeping Yorkshiremen out of the news since Raymond Illingworth became chairman of the England selectors, Bill Athey's first century of the season could almost be regarded as a foregone conclusion. In terms of a nudge for a Test recall, though, there is no need to get too excited.

Kent appear in such poor shape at the moment that Athey would have been kicking himself if he had missed out against this attack and on this wicket - which he very nearly did when offering up a slip catch on 10 to the usually safe Carl Hooper.

But Hooper's lapse typified the woes of Kent: three Championship defeats in four matches. The heads were down again, too, against their neighbours on the Nevill Ground, where a really big hit in the right direction could deposit the ball on Sussex soil.

While Athey is not the sort of batsman to pull off such a stroke, he did give it his best shot - and one of his worst - after lunch. Duncan Spencer was the bowler, Athey depositing him over fine leg and then top-edging him for another six that cleared the third-man boundary.

Athey never looked back. Thanks to two more dropped catches, on 116 and 134, he went on to make his highest score for Sussex and was 166 by the close.

Considering there was a century partnership for openers following a couple of brief rain breaks, Sussex never used the platform for excessive plundering. Indeed, the 300 did not arrive until the 100th over and by then Kent had prised out seven wickets.