Cricket: Hooper's spin-off for Kent

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Kent 603-8 dec

Warwickshire 289 and 120-5

TODAY Kent will ascertain second place, their best since the same position in 1988, and pounds 23,000: pounds 2,000 a man, though, is hardly adequate reward for the advance they have made into a well-balanced team.

Carl Hooper's presence makes a lot of difference for his off spin. When Warwickshire followed on yesterday, 314 runs behind, Kent's seamers were tired and going nowhere while Andy Moles and Roger Twose began with 82 for the first wicket. When Kent's spinners came on, Warwickshire were quickly 102 for 5.

Twose had it in mind to sweep every ball, an act of generosity which short-leg soon appreciated. Then Hooper had Moles caught behind or rather in front of the wicket when the ball lobbed up off a sweep, and had Trevor Penney groping for his quicker second ball. Having made 151 in his last game, and named Warwickshire's player of the month for August/September at the lunch interval yesterday, the Zimbabwean lasted three balls in this match.

And in Hooper's next over Dominic Ostler hesitated over a second run before going for it. This was fine by him, but the captain-elect, Dermot Reeve, was stranded by Taylor's throw from deep square to the bowler. Hooper's 33 wickets have nicely supplemented Richard Davis's tally, which rose to 71 when Matthew Fleming telescoped his right hand at mid-wicket.

Warwickshire had been more dogged in their first innings, where they picked up at 121 for 5. Tim Munton scored a career best of 47 in 136 minutes, so they will have someone tall, resolute and angular to stiffen their batting next season even if Chris Broad, whose decision is expected tomorrow, does not join them.

Andy Lloyd, in his last game as captain, hit 76 off 103 balls: as it is his farewell, let us be charitable in saying his footwork was restricted by a groin strain. He was back in the evening sunshine, trying successfully - if only just - to take the game into its fourth day.

Staffordshire retained the Minor Counties Championship with a convincing 79-run victory over Devon at Worcester. A sixth- wicket stand of 81 between Nick Archer and Paul Newman helped Staffordshire reach 201 for 8 off 55 overs, and despite captain Nick Folland's defiant 73, Devon were bowled out for 122.