Cricket: Hooper happy but the rift remains: Tempers frayed at Edgbaston

Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .417

Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226-4

CARL HOOPER'S dashing hundred from 131 balls, with 72 in boundaries, helped to obscure the deepening impression that these counties are not the best of friends after their washed-out Benson and Hedges Cup quarter-final three weeks ago.

Kent's defeat in the indoor bowling competition has since been coupled with Warwickshire's progress to the final, which has not lowered the blood pressure in Canterbury.

Word has it that few, if any, Kent committee men have been sighted on the ground, or are likely to be in the next three days, but Gladstone Small did apparently have a few words for Trevor Ward after he was caught at the wicket.

As Ward trooped to the pavilion, glancing backwards darkly, David Shepherd, with Chris Balderstone, the other umpire, at his elbow, gave Small a finger-wagging. It was the aftermath of a match between the sides at Tunbridge Wells three years ago when Small had been on the verbal receiving end from Kent.

Curiously, this latest match coincided with Warwickshire being advised yesterday by the Test and County Cricket Board to use their Brumbrella cover for all major games here, the follow up to Kent's complaint after the cup match.

This four-day meeting has proved a turgid postscript, enlivened only by Hooper maintaining his record of scoring a half-century or more in each of his seven Championship matches this summer.

Ward completed the day's first individual 50 at 5.22pm. Hooper followed eight minutes later, Kent having been kept in the field by Warwickshire's decision to bat on beyond lunch, even with nine wickets down, gathering every run as if it would be worth double with hints that the ball would turn. Richard Davis, the former Kent left-arm spinner, fervently hopes it will - to expunge the memory of being hit twice for six by Hooper.

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