Symonds steers Kent through

Northamptonshire 200 Kent 204-4 Kent win by six wickets
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In the end the loss through injury of Daryll Cullinan as their overseas player, before the end of June, was not quite the disaster that Kent might have imagined. Their swift re-signing of Andrew Symonds two years after he left the county is bringing immediate dividends.

The Birmingham-born, Queensland-raised all-rounder, who had formed part of the Australians' one-day squad although he missed out on a final appearance against Pakistan, ensured that Kent cantered into the quarter-finals with room and personnel to spare.

Indeed after Symonds' initial burst of three wickets in 10 balls it looked as if this fourth-round Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy tie would be all over by mid-afternoon.

Thankfully Paul Taylor chose this, his 200th one-day match, in which to score his maiden half-century in the competition, and help to make a game of it. The left-handed Taylor, who is 36, and his captain, David Ripley, were the only two Northamptonshire batsmen to come to terms with the nagging accuracy of the Kent attack.

The pair of them compiled 93 runs in 20 overs, Taylor falling first having hit half a dozen boundaries in a 71-ball innings, and Ripley, last out, contributing a useful 35 after more than an hour and a half at the crease.

But Kent are in bristlingly good nick right now, they lie in second place in the National League First Division and are among the chasing bunch in the top flight of the County Championship. With Symonds doing his stuff with bat and ball they are looking hot stuff.

Symonds took 5 for 21 in his 10 overs and re-emerged to perform his heroics with the bat after David Fulton had matched Taylor's feat by scoring his maiden fifty in this competition on his 10th Trophy appearance.

Fulton has been in blistering form and once he had got over his nerves ­ he presented Taylor with a sharp return catch in the second over of the Kent innings before he had got off the mark ­ the tall opener applied himself and provided a solid platform to the Kent reply.

His dismissal, leg before wicket to Taylor, brought Symonds to the crease and he proceeded to hammer the Northamptonshire bowlers to all parts. Symonds and the acting captain, Mark Ealham ­ standing in for the injured Matthew Fleming ­ then saw Kent home with two overs to spare.