Tom Smith, who starred with a devastating three-wicket burst this morning, has hailed Lancashire's timely 121-run LV= County Championship win against Kent at Canterbury.
The all-rounder snared the wickets of Sam Northeast, Geraint Jones and Alex Blake with his fast-medium pace as the hosts were bowled out for 217 just after lunch in their pursuit of 339.
This was Lancashire’s fourth win of the season and only their second at Canterbury since 1936.
Now with 145 points, the Red Rose county have moved up to fourth place in the Division One table, 31 points behind leaders Nottinghamshire with four matches left.
The visitors took the eight Kent wickets they needed on day four for the addition of 133 runs in just 28.3 overs. Gary Keedy finished with 4-53 from 10.3 overs, Glen Chapple 3-39 from 17 and Smith 3-44 from 12.
Smith said: “We did well to bowl them out for 217, it was great to get a win, and we are really chuffed with it.”
Chapple struck in the sixth over of the day when he forced Martin van Jaarsveld to edge to Paul Horton at first slip for 30, leaving the score at 97-3.
Smith trapped Northeast, the other not out batsman overnight, lbw in the next over for 18, and Kent were four down and still three runs away from reaching triple figures.
Smith then had Jones caught behind by Luke Sutton, edging behind a ball which got big on the former England wicketkeeper, for a duck.
And the wickets continued to tumble. Darren Stevens edged Chapple behind to Sutton for three, the England Lions man undone fencing outside off stump.
That left the hosts at 100-6, and they had lost four wickets for just three runs in 27 balls to hamstring their chances and send the Red Rose cock-a-hoop.
There was brief respite for the hosts because they had added 18 runs in two and a half overs by the time they lost their seventh scalp when Blake was bowled by Smith for ten to leave the score at 118-7.
“It was good to get in a rhythm at one end,” continued Smith, who took his wickets coming down the hill from the Nackington Road End. “Chappie told me ‘start at that end and see how you go’. Chappie also bowled really well, and we were backed up well by Saj and Keeds at the end.”
James Tredwell and Matt Coles then shared an eighth wicket partnership of 72 inside eleven overs to at least bring the home supporters some cheer, also ensuring that the match crept into its penultimate session.
Left hander Coles was the dominant partner, lofting Keedy over extra cover for six and reverse sweeping the left arm spinner for a boundary to bring up a well made 41-ball half century.
He fell, however, sweeping Keedy to Sajid Mahmood at deep mid wicket for 51 off 43 balls, leaving the scoreboard reading 190-8.
Tredwell then hit Keedy for three successive boundaries, bringing up his side’s 200 in the process, but he fell just before lunch trying to clatter Keedy down the Nackington Road, stumped by Sutton for 36.
Keedy took the last wicket in the second over of the afternoon session, Simon Cook sweeping straight to Gareth Cross at deep mid wicket.
Despite the presence of some very light rain, the Lancashire camp would have been absolutely thrilled to have woken up and seen grey skies up above this morning.
“The weather’s been great all week, so it was quite good to get a bit of a swingy day,” commented Smith. “The ball swung this morning, and we put it in the right areas.
“We’ve deserved a bit of luck in this game, and they played and missed a lot in that first innings. But today was one of those days where they nicked everything.”
Peter Moores said that his side “know we have got to keep winning”, and Smith added: “With the teams above us winning this week, it was definitely important that we won here. We will go into that match at Notts full of confidence.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd