Despite an engrossing final day at Canterbury, Northamptonshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship fixture ended in a draw with players bumping fists shortly before 5pm.
An obdurate Adam Rossington eventually steered the visitors to safety with an unbeaten 59, but only after a brave declaration by the home side on their overnight score of 335 for five, when they were still 62 runs behind.
Nathan Gilchrist took three for 57 and Darren Stevens two for 42 but the game began to drift away in the final session, Northamptonshire finishing on 184 for eight declared.
With the visitors reluctant to risk the eight points for the draw by contriving a finish, Kent gambled on declaring early in the hope of recording their first win of the season and they were rewarded with four wickets in the morning session.
Darren Stevens struck in the second over, removing Emilio Gay lbw for eight and he then had Ricardo Vasconcelos given caught behind for nine. After three matches without a wicket, Miguel Cummins, on the last day of his spell with Kent, finally looked like the bowler they thought they were getting when they signed him, and a spell of serious menace saw him get Rob Keogh caught behind for 12.
Jordan Cox then took a sharp catch at first slip off Gilchrist to remove Gareth Berg for 21, leaving Northamptonshire on 70 for four at lunch.
The afternoon session was fascinatingly balanced: every time Northamptonshire seemed to be heading for safety, Kent took a wicket. Gilchrist struck again in his first over, getting Saif Zaib caught behind for six, but Cummings was denied a second wicket when Luke Procter, batting despite an injury, edged him to third slip, where he was put down by Marcus O’Riordan.
After putting on 50 with Rossington, Procter was brilliantly run out for 17 by Daniel Bell-Drummond, after being sent back by his captain while attempting a single.
Cox took another excellent slip catch off Gilchrist to dismiss Tom Taylor for 12 and when Nathan Buck was adjudged lbw for six to Joe Denly the lead was a gettable 212, with 45 overs remaining.
However, the visitors had pushed on to 156 for eight at tea and the only chance of a tepid evening session came when Simon Kerrigan was dropped at short leg by Tawanda Muyeye off Denly. The captains bumped fists on the draw at 4.50pm, Kent taking 14 points and Northamptonshire 13.
Northamptonshire 392 (Gay 101, Procter 88) & 184/8 (Rossington 59*, Berg 21)
Kent 330/5 (Kerrigan 2/80, Zaib 1/7)