Cricket: Kent all-rounder Stevens joins exclusive company

PUBLISHED: 15:01 19 September 2019

Darren Stevens of Kent appeals for a wicket (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Darren Stevens of Kent appeals for a wicket (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Darren Stevens became the second oldest player in history to score a double century and take five wickets in a first-class match when helping Kent to victory at Yorkshire.

Dr W.G. Grace playing cricket for Eltham Cricket Club at Gravesend, 1913.Dr W.G. Grace playing cricket for Eltham Cricket Club at Gravesend, 1913.

Stevens, aged 43 years and 142 days, claimed a career-best on the first day at Headingley, then followed up with 5-20 as the hosts were dismissed in their second innings for 117 in pursuit of a world record 551.

And that effort leaves him behind only the great WG Grace, who did it for Gloucestershire aged 46 years and 303 days, way back in 1895!

Stevens said: "I've just seen that (stat on WG Grace), only because Mitch (Claydon) was taking the mickey saying we look pretty similar!

"I was very tired this morning, and I was praying for that early wicket. Luckily it came. To be fair, I was pretty done in after that spell last night, 13 overs. But the early wicket got me going."

Darren Stevens of Kent (pic Nick Wood/TGS Photo)Darren Stevens of Kent (pic Nick Wood/TGS Photo)

Kent captain Sam Billings had declared on 337-7 after hitting his second century of the match - having put on 346 with Stevens in the first innings - and saw the hosts slumped to 44-6 before the close, with Stevens taking four wickets.

And the end came shortly before lunch on the final day, with Stevens adding: "We needed a bit of patience in the end. It was a flat pitch, and there were a lot of theories flying around about how we'd get wickets.

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"Really, it was just same old, same old. Do what we do.

"All through the game, the wickets have fallen with the newer ball. We wanted to get out there earlier with the ball last night, but Sam (Billings) was more about trying to keep the ball harder for this morning with his declaration.

"Getting the wickets we did last night, we couldn't have written it."

Kent's 433-run win is their biggest ever in terms of runs in first-class matches, Yorkshire's heaviest runs defeat and the fourth heaviest in the history of the County Championship.

Stevens, having taken 10 wickets in the match against Nottinghamshire last week, has now also passed 50 Championship wickets this season, along with Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore.

He said: "I can't really put it into words. If you'd have asked me at the start of the season, I would have said that I'll have a decent year, but not like this.

"It was a bit frustrating early season with a few catches going down, and it didn't really happen with the bat.

"Then, the last part of the summer has been pretty special. A lot of hard work's gone in, and it's starting to pay off now."

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