Kent secured enough batting points to ensure survival in Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship yesterday, reaching 405 for seven in reply to Somerset’s 202 all out, a lead of 203.

The hosts have already taken all eight available bonus points and Warwickshire’s declaration against Hampshire at Edgbaston means their relegation rivals can now only overhaul Yorkshire.

The hosts honoured Darren Stevens’ 18-season contribution by announcing they were retiring his number three shirt and his teammates rose to the occasion, with Nathan Gilchrist taking career best figures of six for 61.

Lewis Goldsworthy was Somerset’s top scorer with 94, but he added just a single to his overnight score. Tawanda Muyeye and Zak Crawley then responded with an opening stand of 176, the former making 85, the latter 79, while in his last match before joining Durham, Ollie Robinson made 52.

Gilchrist had taken two wickets from the final two deliveries before bad light stopped play on day one, leaving Jack Brooks to face the hat-trick ball at the star of the morning session. He survived a hopeful appeal, but the visitors had added just seven to their overnight score of 195 for nine when Goldsworthy was caught behind off Gilchrist, six runs short of his hundred.

Kent’s openers belied the freezing conditions and heavy cloud cover, slashing Somerset’s lead to 53 by lunch. Crawley reached 50 with a smartly flicked single off Kasey Aldridge, while Muyeye reached the same landmark with a scampered single off the same bowler.

Stevens was introduced to a sizable St Lawrence crowd of 1,042 during the interval and shown a montage of his greatest moments, before walking around the boundary for an understated but moving lap of honour, shaking hands with members and posing for selfies.

However, the partnership was broken with the next ball when Ben Green hit Crawley’s middle stump. Muyeye was caught behind off Aldridge soon afterwards, four short of his highest First Class score.

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly put on 61 for the next wicket before the former’s middle stump was sent cartwheeling by Aldridge for 36.

Aldridge claimed his next victim after rain caused an early tea interval, when he had Denly caught on the square leg boundary by Sajid Khan, but another stand between Olli Robinson and Jack Leaning took the lead past 150.

Sajid Khan removed both men, getting Leaning caught by Abell for 41 and bowling Robinson in his next over. He then caught Joey Evison off Aldridge for 21, but Hamid Qadri was unbeaten on 27 when bad light stopped play at 5.37pm, having cracked a four to take the score past 400 and earn an eighth bonus point.

With rain falling news came through that their main relegation rivals Warwickshire had declared on 274 for four at Edgbaston, meaning they can get a maximum of 22 points. Even if Kent lose from this position and the sides finish level on points, Kent would stay up having won more games.

At the close of play, Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: “Craig Overton was unfortunate, there’s no doubt about that.

"He went past the bat a lot, but at no point did we sustain any pressure. We got hit both sides of the wicket and it was a very poor day for us.

"We were sloppy in the field. If I was rating the day out of ten it was five or five-and-a-half. We did some really good stuff at times but for nowhere near long enough.

“It’s incredibly frustrating because it’s not how this side represents Somerset. I haven’t seen a day like that for a long time.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they batted on. They’re safe now and they’ll go for the win, but I think they’ll make it so there’s only one team that can win the game.

“We’ve just had an honest conversation in the dressing room. The new ball’s going to do something, but the wicket’s certainly got a little bit easier as the day’s gone on.

"Conditions are set fair for two days and I think it’s personal pride now. Some guys have had brilliant seasons in there and some are fighting for opportunities, so there’s no better way of finishing the season than doing well as an individual.”