Positive declaration fails to work out for brave Klinger
NOBODY could accuse Gloucestershire of accepting mediocrity in LV= County Championship Division Two this summer, with a raft of positive declarations testament to their burning promotion ambitions.
But their latest attempt to avoid a bore draw looked set to end in a Canterbury tale of woe, despite a maiden four-day ton by Gareth Roderick.
Gloucestershire had begun the third day with all ten first-innings wickets in hands but with a daunting 394-run deficit to overhaul.
Their first act of the morning was to declare, after which Kent openers Robert Key and Sam Northeast mustered two apiece in giving the visitors a mammoth victory target of 399.
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County skipper Michael Klinger had required only 45 more runs to reach 2,000 in all competitions this summer, an extraordinary return for the Australian considering the twin burden of captaincy and opening the batting.
Sadly for him – and his heavily dependent side – he had mustered only seven when he was caught by James Tredwell at first slip off Charlie Shreck in the fifth over.
Benny Howell departed for a nine-ball duck, succumbing to a superb tumbling catch by Northeast at cover to reward the metronomic Shreck again.
And Gloucestershire were 13 for three when Chris Dent (4) nicked behind to Geraint Jones after failing to get the measure of Calum Haggett from around the wicket.
A partial restorative act between Alex Gidman and Hamish Marshall ended when the latter was strangled down the leg side by Mitchell Claydon, the New Zealander snared behind by Jones for 15.
Gidman's response to the carnage around him was to fight fire with fire, and he clattered England one-day spinner Tredwell through the covers for four before launching the next delivery back over his head for six.
Former captain Gidman had struck 47 from 78 balls when the lunch interval gave Klinger's men the chance to take stock of their predicament, with Roderick unbeaten on 11.
Gloucestershire began the second session on 84 for four, still 315 in arrears and in desperate need of a nerve-settling partnership or three.
Gidman and Roderick stretched their combined contribution to 55, but Kent could celebrate another massive wicket within four overs of the resumption.
Haggett was the architect, luring Gidman (47) into a waft outside off-stump to give Tredwell another catch in the cordon and reduce the County to 96 for five.
Roderick's new partner was Will Gidman, who was content to play a watchful role in the hope of dampening the enthusiasm of the home attack.
But he was gone for 13 in the 48th over, all-rounder Darren Stevens inducing another nick down the leg side that was gleefully clutched by keeper Jones.
Former Cheltenham batsman Roderick had surpassed his previous first-class best of 79 before tea, and he deservedly reached three figures for the first time in a final session that kept Kent waiting.
That was until Shreck seized the new ball and removed Tom Smith (32) via Jones' catch, ending a stand of 109.