Denly proud of younger brother
Denly proud of younger brother

When Kent’s Joe Denly takes his place in the England side for the First Ashes Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham, his big brother Sam will be one of the proudest men in the Country.

Denly Senior, also manager of Hythe Town, has spoken with KSN on the eve of the start of the biggest event in the cricketing diary, about the trials and tribulations that his little brother has been through to position himself in the place he finds himself on the verge of the 2019 Ashes.

Sam told us, “To be fair, I thought he did OK in the West Indies on some very green decks; he had a few good knocks out there but since he’s been back he hasn’t played a lot of cricket and didn’t get a lot of cricket with England to be fair and for a spell there was no guarantee he was going to get in!”

“In hindsight (missing out on the World Cup), coming back to Kent during the World Cup and getting a couple of really substantial knocks can’t have done him any harm at all and of course I’m, really pleased for him.”

“He really did need the big score he got at Hampshire and bearing in mind that he hasn’t played a lot after he struggled in his first few innings, we were a little worried, but then he got a 160, and 80 and followed that with the Southampton knock, with the number three “shirt” already his after the last Test – where he got a 69 in the winter – I think those scores got him over the line and his place in the Ashes.”

Footballers often admit that they are poor watchers, so how is Sam watching his little brother playing a sport that Sam himself could have played for a living?

“Although, it’s brilliant” he admitted, “if honest I’m a nightmare watching him! When I was watching him in the West Indies at work, I was a nervous wreck; I was horrible. moody, swearing, and not enjoying it one bit!”

“My Mum and Dad were probably better than me – they’re so proud as I am what Joe has achieved, but it’s hard work, it’s really hard and I don’t know how he’s so calm and collected if I’m honest!”

“When you watch him on TV, he looks so calm and collected – I’m very proud watching him, but it’s not enjoyable, the family will be at Edgbaston tomorrow (Thursday) and it will be a very proud moment seeing him walking out for an Ashes Test match.”

“Dad (Nick) was a cricket man and I was in younger days. I was at Kent and had a trip to Australia, but my passion has always been football, but Dad was both. I’m not sure which answer you’d get from him as he managed football as I do, but he loved his cricket too and had some great times at Whitstable, but I do know that he’ll be at all the Tests that Joe’s involved in!”

“It’s weird as I received texts at work saying Joe’s on Sky Sports News as almost the main headline, and that’s weird – seeing him delivering the news where he’s going to bat and the other things; I really have to pinch myself that that’s my little brother!”

“You get used to it, but it’s still so strange, it really is! My Dad’s really proud and that’s the main emotion he’s got! Joe has had a fantastic career already and I just hope that he can now take this opportunity and go and get some runs!”

“A lot of people forget that when he went to Middlesex, he did go missing – he admits that himself! His form dipped for whatever reason, he put too much pressure on himself, and got dropped and became kind of the forgotten man!”

“He came back to Kent and what a great move for him as he’s reinvented himself as a “new” cricketer. He got married, he’s got a family and all that changes your outlook on life and has helped him.”

“But to turn his form round at Canterbury is excellent and then to get England recognition is a fabulous story for anyone, especially as tomorrow he’ll be walking out in an Ashes Test match.”

Changing sports, we then checked in at Reachfields and checked on the build-up for the side the Denly senior runs – Hythe Town.

“Our pre-season has gone well. We’ve signed quite a few players this year, so it’s been all about bedding them in and getting everyone working together but I’m pleased with the way it’s gone – we’ve even been able to have a good look at some of the youngsters too.”

“We’ve got a strong squad this year which is just as well as I think it will be a tough league if I’m honest, but I’m happy where we are at this moment in time!”

Luckily the Cannons new season is still two weeks away meaning that for Sam, Nick and the rest of the Denly family, along with many others from the county, all sporting roads for this week at least lead to B5 7QU!