Kent clung on for a draw in their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Sussex, after an engrossing final day at Canterbury.
Jack Carson took three for 87 and Sean Hunt two for 48 but, despite a cluster of wickets in the final hour, Sussex were unable to polish off Kent’s tail.
Hastings-born Harry Finch made 115 from 212 balls against his home county as Kent closed on 257 for seven after Sussex had declared on 332 for four, 40 minutes into the morning session.
The visitors began day four on 277 for three, and Matt Quinn, who finished with three for 118, took the only wicket to fall when he had Oliver Carter caught by Marcus O’Riordan for 18.
Travis Head had reached 49 not out when the visitors declared, setting Kent a target of 349 to win.
The hosts’ reply got off to a desperate start when Ollie Robinson had Joe Gordon caught behind for a duck in the first over. But O’Riordan and Finch batted through to lunch, with Kent on 52 for one.
O’Riordan was dropped three times before he was finally run out in bizarre circumstances for 47. Chasing a single, he nearly ran into his batting partner Finch. As he veered sideways to avoid a collision, the ball was gathered by Tom Haines, who ran him out with a direct hit.
Henio Kuhn faced 27 balls before he was bowled by Carson for four, leaving Kent on 139 for three at tea.
Finch reached three figures with a glance off Carson that just eluded leg slip before nestling against the rope but Kent’s outside hopes of a win dimmed when Dan Lincoln was out for 41, caught by Robinson off Carson.
Conversely, Sussex’s hopes surged when Carson then had Harry Houillon caught by Danial Ibrahim for nine.
Hunt had Finch caught behind and when he subsequently trapped Hamid Qadri lbw for 4 there were still five overs remaining. But Harry Podmore and debutant Bailey Whiteman survived a taut final spell to finish not out on 36 and nought respectively.
The result means Sussex finish bottom of Group C while Kent are fifth, leaving both sides in the third tier when the championship resumes in late August.
Ollie Robinson said after the match: “I thought it was a good four days for us really. We put out a side, I think the average age was 20, so to do that and almost get the win I thought was a really good effort from everyone involved.”
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