County Championship: Kent and Essex play out tame draw at Canterbury

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Canterbury
Sam Northeast
Sam Northeast ended the season with 1,337 County Championship runs
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, day four
Kent 441 & 288-5 dec: Northeast 178*
Essex 292: Lawrence 88; Viljoen 3-69
Kent (13 pts) drew with Essex (9 pts)

Sam Northeast made 178 not out as his Kent side batted out a tame draw against County Championship Division Two champions Essex on the final day of the season at Canterbury.

Kent closed on 288-5, a lead of 437, opting not to set Essex a target.

Essex earlier were bowled out for 292, avoiding the follow-on by one run.

Kent were reduced to 40-4 but Northeast shared an unbroken 185 with Will Gidman (63 not out) as runners-up Kent batted through the remainder of the day.

The hosts had already secured the six points that guaranteed second place, a promotion spot in any other season.

In reality, the prospects of a result were slim as soon as David Masters and Matt Dixon scored the three runs Essex needed to avoid the follow-on, with Dixon then out from the very next ball.

Even when Kent slipped to 40-4 and 103-5, it never seemed likely that Essex would be able to force victory without the aid of a declaration.

Northeast, an immovable figure, ensured as much, the only excitement coming when he took 30 off one Kishen Velani over - three fours and three sixes.

The final over was bowled by retiring Essex seamer David Masters, the 38-year-old ending his first-class career with 672 wickets from 202 matches.

He was given a guard of honour that included England Test captain Alastair Cook as he left the field.

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