Cricket / County Championship: Fleming flings the bat: Plucky Kent enter the spirit of Sussex's declaration

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Sussex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319 and 237-8 dec

Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .336-6 dec and 152-5

Match drawn

THE OFFER was there, but in the end Kent could not take it up in the final sunny session of bat-throwing and wicket tumbling here yesterday. With a washout on day three, there was at least something to applaud, not least the decision of Alan Wells to declare the Sussex second innings and see what the opposition could do about making 221 in 25 overs.

Quite a bit was the answer, Mark Benson sending out Trevor Ward and Matthew Fleming, the two heavy-hitters. When Ward - on 25 and 37 taken already from the first three overs - broke his bat, Min Patel, sporting a T-shirt bearing the legend 'no sweat', brought out the replacement.

By the fifth over of the chase, there was a ring of fielders on the boundary and it took them a while to arrive for the congratulations after Ward chased Ed Giddins and was caught behind. His 33 came from 19 balls and it was up to Fleming and Carl Hooper to maintain the momentum.

While Hooper departed to Franklyn Stephenson at 84 for 2, Fleming reached his half- century of 36 deliveries with five fours and a six. He and Benson next plundered 58 in eight overs, but there was a dramatic twist to the tale when Stephenson struck again.

In the 18th over of the innings, the Barbadian had Benson snapped up by Peter Moores and his direct hit ran out Fleming, who slipped when backing up. When Stephenson took a catch at long leg to get rid of David Fulton, Kent had lost three wickets for four runs and were 69 short of their objective with five overs remaining. A mutual halt was then called.

It had been fun while it lasted and the earlier events, too, had their moments. David Smith, suffering from a leg muscle injury, made 50 with a runner, and Moores also chipped in with a half- century. As for Patel, he took 6 for 91, the Kent slow left- armer's fouth five-wicket haul of a season in which he has collected 38 wickets.

The opener, Desmond Haynes, scored his first first- class century for almost a year yesterday as Middlesex scraped a draw against Worcestershire at Lord's.