Champions Essex end with draw at Kent

PUBLISHED: 17:08 23 September 2016

Essex's David Masters ended his career with a couple of wickets against Kent (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex's David Masters ended his career with a couple of wickets against Kent (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Masters finishes with a maiden

Essex ended the 2016 County Championship season with a draw against Kent at Canterbury.

And David Masters bowed out in typical fashion, bowling a maiden in the last over of the amtch as he called time on his career.

Masters was at the crease at the start of play, alongside last man Matt Dixon, with the Division Two champions needing three more runs to avoid having to follow-on.

Kent took the new ball and Dixon played out a maiden to Darren Stevens, before Masters took a single off Matt Coles.

Dixon then scored the two runs needed to take Essex to 292, in reply to Kent’s first innings 441, but was caught at mid-off by Mitchell Claydon from the very next ball.

That gave the home side a 149-run lead, with the first day having been completely washed out due to a wet outfield, and the mercurial Masters struck with only the fifth ball of their second innings to trap Daniel Bell-Drummond leg before.

Dixon struck at the other end soon after, as Joe Denly picked out Nick Browne at cover to leave Kent 13-2.

And Will Rhodes got in on the act as he had Sean Dickson pushing forward and caught at first slip by Varun Chopra with the total on 36.

Then Sam Billings edged Rhodes behind to Adam Wheater to leave Kent 40-4 and Essex sniffing half a chance of setting up a run chase.

The home side recovered to reach lunch on 71-4, as first innings centurion Stevens joined Sam Northeast, but Masters struck again to have Stevens taken by Wheater for his sixth catch of the match.

The lead was still 252 at this point and Kent saw Northeast reach his half-century from 65 balls with his eighth four, as Will Gidman gave support.

The sixth-wicket pair pushed on to a half-century stand spanning 22 overs, to take the lead beyond 300, and Northeast reached his hundred with a pull for four off Ravi Bopara, as Kent reached tea on 211-5.

Gidman got his half-century from 72 balls, with seven fours, as the match meandered towards a draw, with Wanstead youngster Kishen Velani coming on to bowl and conceding 36 runs from his two overs.

Northeast moved to 178 not out, with Gidman unbeaten on 63 at the other end, as Masters came on to bowl what turned out to be the final over, managing six dot balls as Kent declared on 288-5 and the two captains shook hands on a draw.

The 38-year-old Masters finished with figures of 17-9-32-2 as the curtain came down on a first-class career that had seen him play a total of 201 matches and take 668 wickets at an average of 25.14, including 31 five-wicket hauls.

His career-best figures were the 8-10 he took to skittle former club Leicestershire for just 34 at Southend in 2011.

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