Kent 350-8dec & 14-1 Sussex 300-8dec: Kemp ends drought but rain is real winner

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The Independent Online

There was a winner in this game – the weather. But with 169 overs lost neither side had a prayer of salvaging something more significant than the collection of bonus points from this dead game.

The fact that Kent declared their second innings when they were only 64 runs in front, and Sussex theoretically still had 19 overs to knock off the necessary suggests that in rain-affected matches perhaps there should be a rethink on bonus points and perhaps even the concept of "first-innings victories".

There were positives to be drawn for each side. For Kent, there was Justin Kemp's first hundred for 18 months and the much-improved pace bowling of Robbie Joseph. Sussex too look to have a more than useful bowler in Ragheb Aga, who is not out-and-out quick but can swing the ball and will pose problems throughout the summer.

Then there was Carl Hopkinson, who had opened the Sussex innings in their first seven fixtures, but was moved down the order to No 6 for this match from where he compiled only his second half-century of the season.

On the way he shared in a valuable century stand with Murray Goodwin for the sixth wicket, which hauled Sussex out of some trouble after they had lost three wickets before lunch in the space of just five overs.

Goodwin also reached fifty, and Luke Wright then came in to bludgeon 33 more runs out of the Kent attack, but when he clobbered Robbie Joseph for a six over mid-wicket to take Sussex to 300 and a third batting point captain Chris Adams called them in with eight wickets down, echoing the Kent declaration, which had also denied the bowling side a final bonus point.

Kent then proceeded to add 14 runs to that first innings lead for the loss of opener Joe Denly who was caught behind off Robin Martin-Jenkins in the second over.

l Hampshire scrambled to their first County Championship win of the season in dramatic fashion when they beat Durham by four runs in the First Division at Chester-le-Street. It came despite Steve Harmison equalling his best score for the club with 36 not out, putting on 57 for the last wicket with Mark Davies. It was Durham's first Championship home defeat since losing to the same opponents in September 2006.

* Crisis county Middlesex beat Essex as expected at Lord's by an innings and 38 runs – but it took them a session and a half to take the remaining six wickets needed to complete their first victory over Essex at Lord's since 1988.