Test Match Sofa
Cook signs off Kent career with silverware
By Mark Pennell
Kent are hoping that silverware for their second team will be a good omen for Rob Key's senior side this week as they chase County Championship second division promotion in their final match of the season agaisnt Glamorgan at Cardiff.
Seam-bowling veteran Simon Cook drew the curtain on his Kent career by captaining the county’s 2nd XI to a thrilling one-wicket win over Leicestershire in the Second XI Championship final at Grace Road.
Only five runs separated the sides after both first innings, meaning the four-day finale was distilled into a one-innings game with Kent mounting a nervy, yet successful last day pursuit of their 225-run victory target.
Kent’s high performance director Simon Willis said: "Obviously this is a very pleasing way to finish the season for these young players and is an outstanding achievement.
"We know we are not solely in a results environment at this level of the game, but the way they have built and maintained a level of consistent performance in this competition has been a major factor in their success. It is a special feeling for any group of players when you win a trophy and they must enjoy this moment."
The visitors had looked out of it when James Sykes left-arm spinner mopped up the first four wickets to fall on his way to figures of five for 55, bringing together former Middlesex seamer Cook – who joined Kent in 2005 - and Calum Haggett together with their side in trouble at 119 for seven.
The eighth wicket pair added a vital 95 with Cook contributing 35 to a partnership that took Kent to the cusp of victory before Sykes returned to claim Cook as his fifth victim.
With 10 runs required Leicestershire’s Ben Collins trapped rookie Kent seamer Ivan Thomas leg before, but Haggett, an England Under-19 team-mate of Adam Ball and playing for Kent on a three-month trial from Somerset, hit an unbeaten 62 from 139 balls.
The 21-year-old left-hander hit six fours to see Kent home to their one-wicket triumph and their first 2nd XI Championship title since 2006 in tandem with 16-year-old Jack Laraman, who hung on with five not out and also struck a vital boundary in his short but tense stay at the crease.
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