Kent secured their place in the First Division next season with a clinical victory over Hampshire here yesterday. They did need to enter the extra half hour on the third day and bat again because Hampshire had crept three runs in front before capitulating, but they managed to wrap it up quickly. The opener Joe Denly needed three balls to apply the coup de grâce, driving the winning four back over Michael Carberry's head. It was Kent's first Championship win since the beginning of June.
That Hampshire had managed to drag the match to the end of the third day was some feat, and much credit could go to Michael Lumb, who made his highest score since last September as he tried to take the match into the fourth day.
He had shared in a stand of 81 for the fourth wicket with Chris Benham and that partnership was followed by a more spirited affair for the eighth wicket with David Balcombe.
There were other solid contributions from Michael Brown and Carberry who put on 70-odd for the second time in the match, but Kent's discipline proved far too high a hurdle for Hampshire to clear and Shane Warne's captaincy record looks as if it might take a bit of a dive. Since first taking charge of the county in 2004 he has led Hampshire to second place twice and third last season. With one match to go this summer, they are down in fifth.