Cricket: Harden at the helm

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kent. . . . . . . .144 and 201

Somerset . . . . .211 and 135-3

Somerset win by seven wickets

UNTIL mid-afternoon here yesterday the only games being played were cards and guessing who the next Somerset captain would be after Chris Tavare retires at the end of the season. But then the fate of this match had already been decided in two days, Kent in no doubt that while miracles sometimes do happen in cricket the chances of claiming 9 for 78 for a spectacular victory, when play resumed, was beyond them.

And so it proved once the real game got underway at 3pm following heavy rain, albeit Somerset taking an hour and a half over the necessary and losing two further wickets in the process before achieving their fifth Championship win of the season. Kent had been on the wrong end of the toss, a 10 for 95 return in the match from the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and a Richard Harden century.

'We needed to set them something like 250 to have had a chance,' Kent's Graham Cowdrey said. Instead, while Trevor Ward had let fly with a crash, bang, wallop of a 95 on Friday, too many of his Kent colleagues had attempted to follow suit and died on the sword.

As for the wicket - upon which Lancashire, seeking nothing more than 88, had been bowled out for 72 in May by Andy Caddick - Harden's grand total of 162 showed what could be achieved by sensible batting. And it was Harden, backed up by a stylish half-century from Nick Folland that included six boundaries, who steered Somerset to their sixth successive Championship victory on this ground yesterday with an unbeaten 41.

Harden, meanwhile, is one of the names being mentioned as Tavare's successor. Somerset, though, are to take their time over finding a replacement, which suggests that the new man will be brought in from elsewhere.