Lancashire, champions in Division Two of the County Championship, lost their first match of the season against Kent at Canterbury in extraordinary fashion.
Darren Stevens hit a sumptuous unbeaten 205 to edge Kent over the line for a two-wicket win.
Chasing an improbable 418 for victory, Kent eased home with 14.2 overs to spare to record their maiden win on Kentish soil this summer and their second-best fourth-innings total in club history for a championship triumph.
Stevens, who faces an ICC hearing in the New Year for failing to report an illegal approach during this year’s Bangladesh Premier League campaign, proved unstoppable to a Lancashire attack without their three leading wicket-takers.
Stevens’ 218-ball innings included 21 fours and three sixes and was his fourth three-figure score in the championship season this year - and it helped Kent avoid an unwanted record of not securing a championship win at home.
Resuming on their troubled overnight total of 32 for one - which was effectively for two wickets down after Rob Key fractured his left thumb whilst in the field on day three - their position soon worsened when they lost Brendan Nash (six) to the ninth ball of the day, caught behind after an attempted push-drive against Kyle Jarvis to make it 39 for two.
Five overs later Kent’s second top-scorer of the first innings Steve Harmison (7) went back only to offer no shot to a Tom Smith off-cutter that trapped him leg before.
With little to lose, Sam Northeast went for his shots to post an attractive 54-ball 50 full of rasping drives and with eight fours.
Stevens, Kent’s player of the season, marched in to follow Northeast’s lead as the fourth-wicket partners added an eye-catching 82 in 17.1 overs before Northeast (70) was trapped leg before on the back-foot by a Luke Procter inswinger.
Stevens reached a 60-ball 50 before lunch and moved through the gears after the break to add 71 in 17.1 overs with Sam Billings (24) before the understudy keeper edged a back foot drive against Tom Smith to be caught behind.
Adam Ball, playing only his second game of the season, joined forces with Stevens and notched a career-best 69 as the pair posted 148 in 34.2 overs for the sixth wicket.
Having reached a 55-ball 50, his first in championship cricket, Ball perished to the second new ball, leg before when playing back in defence to Smith.
Home skipper James Tredwell (11) perished soon after when nudging one to second slip off Oliver Newby and the alarm bells rang for Kent supporters when Mark Davies followed without scoring when Newby trapped him lbw on the back foot.
The injured Key then sidled in to add a vital three runs from 11 balls, allowing Stevens to hit the winning boundary off Newby.